Still crying Mrs. Ramsay’s name in anguish, Lily thinks how silly she must look and is glad Mr. Carmichael hasn’t noticed her outburst. The painful intensity of her grief for Mrs. Ramsay begins to recede and Lily feels that in fact Mrs. Ramsay is beside her wearing a wreath of white flowers. Painting, Lily thinks how, for long after hearing of Mrs. Ramsay’s death, she had had this recurring vision of her. Lily notices a boat in the middle of the bay and thinks it must be Mr. Ramsay’s boat and wonders where he and the children are.
The pain of the lost past is replaced, for Lily, by the comfort of memory’s enduring presence in the present. Even though she is dead, Mrs. Ramsay is “with” Lily. In a way, it is not so different from the image one holds in mind of a living person who is in a distant location, as Mr. Ramsay, Cam, and James can still be part of Lily’s interior life even though they are out at sea.