Chapters 41 to 44: Sal Visits her Mother's Grave and Gram Dies and, the Return to Bybanks
41. The Overlook
They take Gram to the hospital, where they say she has had a stroke. Gramps stays with her, while they do tests. A man comes to the hospital, accompanied by his beagle. Sal offers to look after the beagle, outside. She thinks about whether the snakebite could have led to Gram’s stroke and whether her being carried by her mother led to the miscarriage and concludes that you have to take risks in life. She remembers how her own dog, Moody Blue weaned her pups by ignoring them and wonders if her mother leaving was a bit like that. That night, she is allowed to see Gram. She is unconscious. Gramps gives Sal his car keys and some money, tacitly allowing her to drive off to be at Lewiston, in time for her mother’s birthday. She drives along the precipitous road to Lewiston. She gets out of the car and looks over the side, a man stops also and asks if she knew that a bus crashed there a year ago, leaving one survivor. She did know.
42. The Bus and the Willow
Sal climbs down the hill, to where the bus is still lying on its side. She can’t get inside it. When she comes back to the car, the Sheriff is there. She tells him everything and he takes her to her mother’s grave. Sitting there, Sal finally realizes that her mother is not coming back.
43. Our Gooseberry
The Sheriff drives her back to the hospital and she asks him about the crash. They talk about the only survivor, Margaret Cadaver. She had been sitting next to Sal’s mother for six hours on the bus and they had talked. She had told Margaret all about her family and her farm. Sal’s father had gone to see Margaret in hospital, as the only survivor of the crash that killed his wife and that’s how they met. At the hospital, Sal is given a note from her grandfather, directing her to the motel, where he is staying and telling her that her grandmother died at three that morning.
Sal, her father and Gramps moved back to Bybanks, where Gram is buried in the aspen grove. She is much missed. Sal speculates that there is a whole other story that might be told about her grandparents and Gloria, who came to visit Gramps but left with a headache and did not return, after Gramps spent the whole time talking about Gram. Sal and Gramps drive around the farm and they talk together about what it is like to walk in other people’s moccasins. Sal reflects on what she has learned and looks forward to being visited by her friends in Euclid. She is happy being back at Bybanks.