Mia’s grandmother, Gran, believes that deceased family members become angels and are reincarnated in the form of birds, which then “visit” in order to watch over the family. For example, on the day of the car accident, Gran says that she saw a crossbill, a bird that is not common in their part of Oregon. She believes that the bird is a reincarnation of her sister Glo, visiting to watch over Mia and support the family through the tragedy of the accident. Mia recalls that all her life, whenever she heard an anecdote from the past, she had an overwhelming feeling of déjà vu, as if she had been physically present at the event. Neither of these ideas of angels or reincarnation are given any specific religious framework in the book, but they do contribute to the novel’s theme of the spectrum of life and death, as Mia, in a kind of state of purgatory, is deciding whether she will remain alive or follow her family into death.
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The timeline below shows where the symbol Angels appears in If I Stay. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...of her anxiety, while her grandfather, Gramps, expresses his grief in silence. Gran believes in angels, and often says that birds she sees are deceased relatives who have come for a... (full context)