"Important thing is not the me that's lying here, but the me that's sitting on the edge of the bed looking back at me, and the me that's downstairs cooking supper, or out in the garage under the car, or in the library reading. All the new parts, they count. I'm not really dying today. No person ever died that had a family. "

Great-grandma Spaulding explains to Douglas why he should not be sad for her and why she is not upset to be leaving. She has many family members surrounding her, and she will live on in their memories and actions. Great- grandma can tell that Douglas is troubled by death, and so she gives him an answer to it, even though there is no real answer. She says that she is no longer the person she once was but that parts of her have been passed on to others. By passing some of yourself on to your family you gain immortality. Douglas understands the message, but he is too young to have passed on any of himself, and soon afterward in the climax of the book he comes very near to meeting death himself. But at the end of the book Douglas knows that the cycle will continue and that even if an individual life is extinguished, another one takes its place.