To open this chapter, Landon tells us that Jamie has leukemia and she has known about it since the previous summer. As soon as she tells him, everything becomes absolutely clear: why she had wanted Landon to do the play; why Hegbert had called her his angel; why her father had fretted about him coming to the house; why she wanted the special Christmas for the orphans; why she didn't think she'd go to college; and why she had given him her Bible. All he can do is whisper, No, no, there has to be some mistake. She tells him again and Landon looks around them and sees people doing everyday normal things, things he wouldn't even have noticed before. He sees it all now, because his sweet Jamie is dying. They cry together on the street for a long time and they cry again when Hegbert opens the door and knows that Jamie has told the truth. They cry once more when they tell Landon's mother later that afternoon and the tears flow - no, the wails begin - throughout the town when Hegbert tells the congregation the following Sunday morning.
Jamie and her father patiently answer all of Landon's questions about how treatment (available at that time) had failed, but that she hasn't shown any real sign of the disease until the last few weeks. He agonizes that maybe she shouldn't have done the play because of the stress and rigor of the practices. But Jamie assures him, Maybe doing the play was the thing that kept me healthy for so long. She had been given a year, maybe less, to live and that seven months had passed since the doctor had told her that. Now, only a miracle can save her.
On January 10, 1959, Landon asks Jamie why she hadn't told him, the one question he hadn't asked her when she first revealed the truth, and the one question he's about thinking about the most. She tells him that she had made a decision that it would be better not to tell anyone, because no one would even be able to look her in the eye. Knowing she has such a short time to live, she decides she doesn't want to see that every time people look at her.
Landon is also living in fear now, not just for Jamie, but also for
himself. He's afraid that he will do something wrong, that he might...........
This very long chapter is a series of vignettes showing how Landon,
his family, and the town come to deal with Jamie's illness. They all go
through those stages of grief: shock, denial, sadness, anger, and back
again. But Landon seems to be suffering the most. He is obsessed with
finding a way to respond to her dying that is appropriate and right. But
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