Course Hero. "Walk Two Moons Study Guide." Course Hero. 23 Aug. 2017. Web. 17 July 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/>.
Course Hero. (2017, August 23). Walk Two Moons Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 17, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "Walk Two Moons Study Guide." August 23, 2017. Accessed July 17, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.
Course Hero, "Walk Two Moons Study Guide," August 23, 2017, accessed July 17, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Walk-Two-Moons/.
At the hospital in Coeur d'Alene, Gramps and Sal learn that Gram, who is unconscious, has had a stroke. Sal considers whether Gram's stroke is Gramp's fault since he took her to the river where she was bitten, but she decides "a person couldn't stay all locked up in the house like Phoebe and her mother."
Sal recalls the beagle her family used to have, Moody Blue. Sal was upset to see that Moody Blue started ignoring her puppies when they were six weeks old. Her mother explained, "It's normal....They have to become independent." Sal thinks perhaps her "mother's trip to Idaho was like Moody Blue's behavior."
Gramps gives Sal the car keys and some money so she can go to Lewiston while he waits by his wife's side. Sal drives four hours in the dark along a dangerous, curving mountain road. When she gets out of the car at an overlook in Lewiston, a man smoking a cigarette points out the wreckage of the bus below and tells Sal something she already knows: the wreck had one survivor.
Sal climbs down the mountainside and reaches the wrecked bus. She had hoped to go inside it and find "something—anything—that might be familiar," but it is impossible. She returns to Gramps' truck to find the sheriff waiting. Sal explains her reasons for driving without a license and exploring the wrecked bus, and the sheriff drives her to the graveyard where her mother is buried. Seeing her mother's gravestone, Sal finally realizes "that she was not coming back." Sal hears a birdsong coming from a nearby willow, and she kisses the tree and says, "Happy Birthday." She tells the sheriff that her mother "isn't actually gone at all. She's singing in the trees."
In these chapters, Sal finally achieves the closure that she has been seeking for her entire journey from Ohio to Idaho. While waiting at the hospital, she experiences a revelation about the nature of guilt and responsibility. She isn't responsible for her mother's stillbirth, nor her mother's subsequent trip and death—just as Gramps isn't responsible for Gram being sick, and Moody Blue wasn't doing anything unnatural by rejecting her puppies. Sal is connected to these events, but not responsible for them, because life is unpredictably complex. It is impossible to anticipate the effects of one's actions, but this doesn't mean that life should be avoided, living in fear, inside a house with the doors and windows locked—like Phoebe and Mrs. Winterbottom tried to do. Life is meant for living—and living includes both joy and tragedy.
Visiting her mother's grave brings Sal the closure she needed. Until she saw the grave, some part of her could not accept that her mother had really died. The grave symbolizes the finality of death. Sugar may not be returning, but she continues to live in Sal's heart, as well as in nature, "singing in the trees." Sal's kissing the singing tree in the graveyard symbolizes this new understanding: death is a change in form that involves a return to nature. Her mother is now inseparable from the natural world that she loved so much when she was alive. This thought brings Sal peace.