In the hall of the nursing home, William asks to hear his mother’s story. The two go to a café, where Julia tells the story and then translates Sarah’s diary, which is written in French. In it, Sarah writes that she has kept the key with her every day since the day of the roundup. She writes that coming to America “was a terrible mistake” as she is unable to leave her past behind her. In her dreams, she writes, Michel takes her by the hand and leads her away.
The excerpt from Sarah’s journal drives home the devastating depth of her guilt over Michel’s death. Sarah’s writing makes it clear that she has never forgiven herself, and that the burden of her loss is a pain she has never been able to escape, despite having found a loving surrogate family in the Dufaures. Sarah’s journal entry also emphasizes the impossibility of wholly abandoning one’s past, by showing that Sarah viewed her immigration to America as a mistaken attempt at creating a new life and identity for herself.