In a favorite movie of mine, the main character instructed a young trainee that how we face death is at least as important as how we face life.
Though I missed out on John Paul II's early years, I am still glad to be able to say that I was there for his last years. If I had to pick a public figure who represented all that was most courageous and heroic, I would have to pick John Paul. Some men would have broken under the strain. Others would have been simply content to hide behind the curtains of the papal window and spare himself the agony.
All his life, all his tales of survival were merely a prelude to those final years. John Paul through his faith showed us all that the way to our father's house, though often painful and humiliating, only brings us closer to the Christ.