What I was struggling to say in my last post is that the end illuminates the beginning; the end tells us how to read everything that came before it; the end defines the rest of the story.
I just got off the phone with someone who talked about a project that an elderly friend of his hopes to start before he dies. "It would validate his entire life," he said, meaning that it would be a kind of capstone that would hold the archway together, that would put everything that came before it into a solid framework and perspective.
Relationships are like this too. How a friendship ends shows you the nature of that friendship since the beginning. Same for jobs and careers. An ugly-selfish end reveals an ugly-selfish trend or current that had been at work all along.
And the same for life. This is why Heaven or Hell are not simply a form of reward or punishment, but a culmination and punctuation mark that reveals how well we've lived up to that point - up to the end.
Sometimes the only way to understand a story is to read it backwards.