Oskar’s grandpa, Thomas, showcases how unprocessed grief can destroy a person’s ability to connect with the world around them. After losing Anna ruins his ability to speak, Thomas uses brief, vague sentences that keep him from communicating his true feelings. In his unsent letters, he communicates his feelings clearly, but in person, he relies on gestures and recycled phrases that are easily misinterpreted and vague in order to avoid confrontation. Instead of getting to know Grandma as a person, he tries to make her look like Anna through his sculpture, reinventing the past instead of building a future. In light of this, his return to Dresden becomes an escape into the past, where he doesn’t feel pressure to process his grief or connect with the world. Although Thomas tries to move back to America and develop a relationship with Oskar, when confronted with his son’s empty coffin, his unwillingness to accept the truth causes him to flee again from the possibility of actually forming meaningful relationships with others.