"You have to let go," Gram said harshly, in Dicey's ear. But she didn't loosen her arms. "You have to and I have to." Dicey understood. It was Momma they had to let go of. "I don't want to," she answered softly. Gram pulled her head back so she looked into Dicey's face. "Neither do I," she said. "But I will, and so will you. Because if you don't—let go—it can make you crazy."
Gram and Dicey exchange these words in Chapter 11, just after Dicey has seen that Momma is dead. At this point in the narrative, the two are hugging each other—literally holding on to each other—for the first time. Here Gram offers the counterpoint to her first two pieces of advice, to hold on and to reach out, because there are times when one can no longer reach out and hold on, but must let go. This piece of advice gives Dicey the chance to forgive herself, to let go of her failures, to let go of her past understanding of herself, to let go of the people whom she could not help. Gram gives Dicey this maxim shortly before she herself fully lets go of her anger at herself for failing her children, and shares the family albums and the family history with her grandchildren.