After Marguerite’s accident, she is hospitalized and then bed-ridden for six months. Because of the medical expenses and Marguerite’s condition, the couple is unable to go through with the adoption. Marguerite and Eddie are disconnected for a while, because of Eddie’s guilt and Marguerite’s resentment. Eddie’s friendship with Noel gradually ends, and he never returns to the racetrack. Over a few years, the couple’s pain heals, and they begin talking and doing routine things together again. One day, they are sitting on the beach, when Eddie comments about how stunning Marguerite would look in a bikini. They are now in their mid-forties, and this comment means a lot to Marguerite, who again feels in love with her husband.
Romantic love is portrayed as a deeply resilient connection between humans. The love between Eddie and Marguerite is so strong that it can survive even the most traumatic tests. Love can go through bitter times, however, as Marguerite’s offer of bittersweet almonds foreshadowed. For once, the sense of stasis in Eddie and Marguerite’s lives affords them the opportunity to rebuild their love. Routines, rather than representing only the humdrum of life, allow Eddie and Marguerite a structure in which to find each other again.
A few years later, Marguerite is cooking in the kitchen when suddenly her hand freezes, she feels dizzy, and falls to the floor. It turns out she has a brain tumor. She goes through painful chemotherapy and radiation, but the cancer is too strong. Though she is only 47 years old, she goes home to spend her last days. Eddie makes a big dinner, and invites over all their friends and relatives. He pours extra wine for Marguerite, trying to make everything pleasant for her. Everyone acts as if it weren’t a “farewell” celebration. A few days later, Marguerite wakes screaming, and Eddie drives her to the hospital. All the way, his senses are heightened, and all he can think of is trying to keep Marguerite. Looking up to the sky, Marguerite tells Eddie that she sees “home.”
It isn’t long after Eddie and Marguerite have reconciled when sickness takes her. Even when life is going well, death is always present as an inevitable, unpredictable threat. The dinner Eddie holds for Marguerite, while a “farewell party,” is also a celebration of her life. Throughout the novel, Marguerite and Eddie’s lives are marked by colorful celebrations of life: birthdays, his send-off party before the war, their wedding, and now her death. While Eddie is fixated on keeping Marguerite with him, she sees something more waiting for her after death—“home.”
In heaven, all Eddie wants is time with Marguerite. They spend countless nights and days, talking and walking through Marguerite’s world of weddings. Eddie tells her about his brother Joe’s death, about his life working at the park, and about how the park has changed since they were young. He tells her about everyone he has met in heaven so far. He apologizes to Marguerite that he never built the life he imagined for them both outside of Ruby Pier. Marguerite asks Eddie what happened to him in the war, but Eddie still can’t bring himself to talk about it. They lay together, not sleeping, and Eddie asks Marguerite if God knows he is there. She tells him he does, and Eddie realizes how much of his life he has spent thinking God wasn’t paying attention to him.
This is the first time in the novel when God’s role in Eddie’s life is mentioned directly, though his existence and role in orchestrating events on earth and in heaven is implied throughout. Eddie has always wanted endless time with Marguerite. Romantic love, unlike other human connections, seems to be in the greatest conflict with the passage of time. Eddie’s inability to talk to Marguerite about the war shows that he still has to process that experience before he can fully come to peace with his life.