This question relates explicitly to the final meeting that T. Ray has with Lily before he leaves her forever in the care of August and her sisters. What is so interesting about this meeting is that Lily suddenly realises that T. Ray too was affected by the loss of her mother. This is triggered when he sees the whale pin that Lily wears that used to belong to his mother, and in fact was a gift that he gave to Deborah on her twenty-second birthday. Seeing T. Ray grieve about Deborah makes Lily realise something:
Before coming here, my whole life had been nothing but a hole where my mother should have been, and this hole had made me different, left me always aching for something, but never once did I think what he'd lost or how it might've changed him.
Lily is suddenly able to see T. Ray as a human being who is struggling with his grief at losing his wife, just as surely as she struggled with her grief at losing her mother. This realisation has the impact of humanising T. Ray for her, and also making him less a figure of fear.