On January 5th, Jonas holds Elena throughout the morning, while Mrs. Rimas tries to feed her. She cannot eat or speak. Lina describes scenes of warmth and happiness to try and soothe her. Elena’s breathing becomes more labored. Suddenly, Elena looks up at Jonas and opens her mouth, but no sounds come out. Her trembling body relaxes, and her eyes fade into a hollow stare. Jonas and Lina cry over their mother’s dead body, while Mrs. Rimas recites a prayer. The other deportees comfort the family, saying everything they loved about Elena. They all promise to bury her body. For once, the bald man is silent.
When Elena dies, their small group of deportees is in total shock. Since they first were thrown into the truck following their arrests, Elena was a source of grace, comfort, and strength. She always had a kind word or even food to share with the deportees, and was willing to fight for their right to live. When she dies, it feels as if their collective will to survive has died as well. Even the bald man, the most pessimistic of the group, mourns the loss of Elena.
In a flashback, Lina recalls her Grandmother’s funeral. Jonas acknowledges how pretty she looks in her coffin, and Kostas say she is watching them all from above. He explains death using an anecdote of when the children were playing with a kite, and they lost grip and it disappeared into the sky. Spirits, he says, fly up into the sky like a kite. Jonas wonders if Grandmother found the kite. Back in the hut, the bald man reveals that he almost worked for the Soviets, confirming people’s occupations. However, he changed his mind at the last minute. Lina calls him a traitor, and the bald man says he has wished for death since the first day he was arrested. He wonders why it is so hard to die.
Elena’s undignified and untimely death makes Lina recall her Grandmother, who died after a long life surrounded by the people she loved, and was buried in her best clothing and honored by others. Lina wishes she could give Elena the proper funeral she deserves, and the other deportees want this for her as well. While Lina and the others continue to struggle desperately for life, there is also an allure to the bald man’s words—an easy death feels like a relief compared to the horror of their present situation.