In the poem “Epilogue,” the poet Robert Lowell asks, “Yet why not say what happened?” Finch isn’t sure how to answer that question. He’s just wondering which of his feelings are real, and which “me” is actually him. He’s only ever liked one version of himself, and that Finch was awake as long as possible. Finch couldn’t stop the cardinal’s death, so he feels responsible for it. In a way, Finch’s entire family was responsible—their house was built where the cardinal’s tree once was.
Finch makes it clear here that he’s still struggling to figure out his identity. It’s deeply unsettling to not know who he is—or if anything he feels is real. Bringing up the cardinal, meanwhile, suggests that Finch is still thinking about death. Insisting that his whole family is responsible for the cardinal’s death shows again that Finch doesn’t believe his family can help him—or would even be willing to try.
Finch flashes again on the final line of Virginia Woolf’s suicide note, in which she tells her husband, “If anybody could have saved me it would have been you.” Cesare Pavese wrote “We do not remember days, we remember moments.” Finch remembers running to buy flowers. He remembers Violet’s smile, and how she looked at Finch like he was whole. Violet’s hand in his made it seem like someone belonged to him.
Pairing Virginia Woolf’s suicide note with the moments he remembers of his relationship with Violet suggests that Finch thinks Violet is the only person who could’ve saved him. This is another indicator that he’s still thinking about suicide. And the finality in the note’s tone suggests that Finch is considering suicide more seriously than he has in the past.