How exactly does Gilead end?
It is important to remember that the non-chronological time line of this novel means that it doesn't "end" at the "end," if you get what I mean, as the narrator recalls memories concerning his relatives in the past and we are also told about his present. This is a key aspect of this novel that it is important to realise. However, in the end section of this novel, the following events occur.
The narrator, now 67, becomes romantically attracted to a young woman who starts coming to his church. She is something of a mysterious figure, as she has no family and no past. From the first moment that she walked into church on Pentecost Sunday, she intrigued the narrator. She goes on to be instructed in Christianity from him, and he baptises her. She then comes to work around the parsonage, and then suggests that they get married. As you can imagine, this represents a massive change for him, but it is a profoundly positive one, as the narrator's loneliness is banished. They marry and have a son. Both characters find happiness in this marriage, as Lila has a settled existence and the narrator finds true love and magnetic chemistry. This is a story that is actually refered to at various points in the narrative.