If I Stay

If I Stay 5:42 AM Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Adam leaves Mia’s hospital room abruptly, telling Nurse Ramirez that he has forgotten something and will return shortly. Willow has taken charge of Mia’s care, and convinces the head nurse to allow visits by all of Mia’s family members. Kim sits next to Mia and tells her about the craziness that has been occurring in the hospital, which Mia has actually been witness to due to her out-of-body experience. Kim’s chatty demeanor calms Mia, just like Gran’s talking had soothed her the day before.
Kim’s strength throughout the whole ordeal has continually surprised and comforted Mia. Like Gran, Kim is one of the people Mia would most miss if she died. On the other hand, Mia knows that besides her grandfather, Kim is one of the people who would most understand her decision if she chose to leave. Mia has faith in Kim’s resilience to move on after her death.
Themes
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Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Mia wonders what death would feel like—whether it will be a whole lot of nothingness, or whether she would be able to remember things that happened to her when she was alive. She recalls moments in her life when she had an overpowering sense of déjà vu, such as when her Mom or Dad told her a story from their childhoods and she felt as if she had lived the event that they were talking about. Mia wonders if perhaps she was present at these events, like the angels that Gran believes in. She knows that if she decides to go, she will want to retain all the loving memories she has of her family and Kim. Remembering Adam, however, would be too painful.
Mia’s grandmother’s belief in angels and Mia’s lifelong sense of déjà vu show that she has grown up with a strong sense of the supernatural. Her mature sense of responsibility and old soul, then, may be the product of the fact that she has “lived” before, like the angel reincarnation that Gran believes in. The thought of this comforts Mia, as it means that if she chooses to leave, she is not “gone forever,” and if she chooses to stay, it means her family isn’t either.
Themes
Sacrifice and Choice Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Kim ends her story to Mia about Brooke Vega’s distraction and the security guard by noting, “going to jail would be easy compared to losing you.” Though Mia knows Kim’s comment is meant to urge her to stay alive, in a way, Mia construes it as a sign that Kim will eventually get over the grief of losing her best friend. Mia knows that while it will hurt in the short term, Kim will go on to live a full life, and will become a stronger person for surviving the loss of Mia. Mia knows that this thought makes her hypocritical, however—if she expects Kim to survive the loss of Mia, she wonders if she should stay alive and soldier on in the face of her own personal tragedy. But she’s not sure she’s tough enough to cope with the loss of her whole family.
Kim’s strength adds to both the pros and cons of Mia’s decision about staying: she knows Kim will help shoulder the burden of Mia losing her whole family, but also that Kim will go on to live a vibrant life even without Mia’s presence. Should she decide to go, Mia hopes to live vicariously through Kim and her future successes. While she admires the resilience and strength that Kim shows in the face of tragedy, Mia is not sure she has the same ability to move on, even with the promise of having Kim by her side to help see her through.
Themes
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Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
As Kim describes being saved from jail by Willow, Mia imagines Kim and Willow becoming close friends, and meeting every so often to remember Mia and her family. Kim lists all the family members and friends who have come to keep vigil at the hospital, and notes that even more are on the way. She takes care to note that even though Mia has lost her immediate family, the twenty-plus people that have come to see her still count as Mia’s family, regardless of whether or not they are actually related to her. “You still have a family,” she whispers to Mia.
The lengths that Mia and Adam, as well as the other twenty-odd relatives, will go to support Mia through this difficult time is a testament to the support system she will have should she decide to stay. While they will never truly replace her parents and brother, Mia is comforted by this network of friends and family, and also by the fact that they can all support each other as they mourn Mom, Dad, and Teddy.
Themes
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Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon
Get the entire If I Stay LitChart as a printable PDF.
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In a flashback, Mia recalls an impromptu Labor Day party hosted by her family, attended by about twenty of the family’s friends. They enjoy food on the grill, cold watermelon, and wild blackberry pies. Mia feels especially happy when Dad, Henry, and Adam jam on their guitars and sing. They invite her to join on her cello. She protests at first, saying the musical styles of the instruments don’t go together, but eventually gives in to the pleading. After a few moments of playing along with the guitars, she realizes that the cello actually sounds “pretty amazing” alongside the other stringed instruments.
Jamming on the cello with her father and Adam on the guitars teaches Mia about the harmony that can exist even in seemingly disparate things. Classical cello and rock guitar don’t seem to go together at first, but a little effort and patience can prove that together they are better (or at least no worse) than they were alone. Should Mia stay, she and Adam may be able to make their relationship work, no matter the distance between them. Again Mia sees things through a musical lens, applying this instance of musical harmony to her personal relationships.
Themes
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Music and Harmony Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Relationships Theme Icon
Life and Death Theme Icon