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Oskar’s grandma offers an alternative to Thomas’s devastating grief by focusing on the future. She describes wanting a child not as a desire but as an obligation to the next generation, keeping her eyes fixed on the future. After Thomas’s departure, she devotes herself to Thomas Jr. (Oskar’s dad) and then Oskar. In addition, she changes her last name from “Schell,” which sounds like a hollow “shell,” to her maiden name, symbolizing her unwillingness to accept an empty life. Grandma is able to move forward because she recognizes that changing the past would also change the future. She acknowledges this when she watches Oskar’s play and decides that the present moment came to be only because of all the moments to the past. Without past pain, she could not have arrived at her present happiness. However, in her attempt to build a life with Thomas, she tries to meet him halfway in his desire to stop living, as evidenced by her use of the word “compromise” to describe their marriage. At the novel’s end, she follows Thomas to the airport to try and make him face the uncertainty of the future. Airports are liminal spaces between coming and going, and so by staying there with him, Grandma forces Thomas to face ambiguity as a reality of life.