Chapter 7-8 Summary
A week later Granny begins talking wild and sees angels in the room. She gets worse just before she dies. After Grandpa’s elopement, people in Cold Sassy decide that it was Love who had designs on Grandpa, but Will remembers it was Love who selflessly came to help out when Granny died. She was there working in Grandpa’s kitchen cleaning up after the visitors. Love explained she was helping because Miss Mattie Lou was kind to her and nursed her through an illness.
Mattie Lou was known for her garden and for nursing the sick. Will feels closer to Granny in her garden where she had medicinal herbs. She died in June when her roses were in bloom. Grandpa has Will secretly help him cut rosebuds and weave rose stems into burlap bags for the funeral. Grandpa does not like funerals and insists he will have a party when he dies, but Granny had told him that a nice funeral was a sort of thank-you, so Grandpa plans a surprise. Granny once said she wouldn’t mind dying if she could die in a bed of roses. Grandpa puts a rose pillow under her head in the casket and then he and Will nail rose blankets to the walls of the grave, so that her casket is let down into a fragrant garden. Will is afraid of death, but Grandpa tells him it isn’t so frightening when you get older. Death is “what you git for livin’” (p. 47).
Chapters 7-8 Commentary
Though it is plain Grandpa is consumed by grief, he consoles Will about death. Death is just the exchange for living a full life. Will does not like putting Granny in the grave but feels better when he sees the roses. He can understand an older person passing, but his question is what about his best friend Bluford Jackson, fourteen years old, who died six months ago?
Will is able to ask his Grandpa anything, and Grandpa comforts him with his earthy and unconventional wisdom. Grandpa says he hates funerals because of all the hypocrisy. People go mainly because they are glad it isn’t them. They try to pretend they aren’t having a good time visiting and eating the food.