At the cemetery, they search for Oskar’s dad’s grave. Oskar and Thomas begin to dig. The batteries to their flashlights run out, and they dig in the dark. Gerald brings them more batteries and helps with the digging. Finally, they reach the coffin. Oskar knows that the coffin is empty, but he still feels surprised.
Oskar wants to dig up the grave because his dad loved the truth, and he wants to acknowledge the truth that his dad’s dead. He wants to put something in the coffin to bury. He considers putting things he’s ashamed of in the coffin, like the phone and his calling card. Thomas reminds him that burying something doesn’t mean that it’s gone. Thomas suggests burying the letters he never sent to his son.
Oskar as narrator notes that he should have pieced together that Thomas was his grandfather and that he must have known on some level.
Oskar’s mom is waiting for him when he gets home. He asks if she’s mad, and she assures him she isn’t. She says she trusts Oskar.
Oskar can’t sleep. He finds his mom on the couch. He begs her not to institutionalize him. She promises she won’t and tells him there’s nothing wrong with him and dad would be proud.
She confesses that on 9/11, dad called her from the building. He told her he had gotten out. She knew he was lying. She hugs Oskar tight.