Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?
In the last chapter of Dicey’s Song, Gram holds a makeshift funeral for Momma in the front yard. She’s there to comfort the children as they say goodbye to their mother, even though her heart is undoubtedly breaking at saying goodbye to her daughter. After the ashes are in the ground, Dicey gets her philosophy on. She looks up at the big, ancient tree and ponders the fact that there’s a wire holding the broken branches together:
If the wire weren’t there, Gram had told Dicey, the tree would spread out and split, broken apart by the weight of its own growth […] "That tree is like families," Gram had said, and Dicey, looking up now at its branches, wondered what, in that case, the wire was like. (12.3)
Well, in this case, the wire is Momma. She came from Gram and created Dicey, and now Gram and Dicey (and, of course, the rest of the Tillerman kids) are putting her to rest in the yard of her childhood home. So even though Momma broke up a family when she left her kids in the parking lot, she also created one when Gram took the kids in.
Because she is awesome and always knows what to do, Gram brings the grandkids inside and does two things: gives them permission to go up into the attic, and asks them to bring down the family photos. Voigt closes Dicey’s Song with a major family bonding moment, with the kids looking at snapshots while Gram tells them stories of their mother and uncles. Et voilà—Voigt introduces two characters, Gram’s sons John and Bullet, the latter of whom will get his own entry in the Tillerman Cycle (The Runner, or book four). Way to set up the next episode.