Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 558
A few days later, Hazel attends Augustus’s funeral. Again she marvels to see so many people she never even knew were a part of his life. She speaks briefly with his parents, who hug her and tell her that Augustus’s love for her was real, not just a frivolous teen thing. Hazel wonders why they are bothering to tell her what she already knows. As the conversation ends, she reflects that speaking to them feels “like stabbing and being stabbed.”
There is an open coffin, and Hazel takes off her oxygen tube so she can say good-bye to Augustus without its help. “I love you present tense,” she whispers to him. She tells him that it will be okay, but she cannot bring herself to believe herself. Before going back to her seat, she slips a pack of cigarettes into the coffin with him.
During the funeral service, the minister repeats all the familiar clichés about the cancer patient who fights nobly against disease. His words have little to do with Augustus, and they upset Hazel instead of comforting her. When the minister implies that Augustus was somehow less whole than normal people, she sighs in annoyance. Someone behind her mutters that this eulogy is “horse crap.” She turns around in her seat and, to her complete shock, sees Peter Van Houten, the author of An Imperial Affliction.
As the service continues, both Isaac and Hazel deliver short eulogies. They have both written different speeches than the ones they read to Augustus on his Last Good Day. Isaac tells a story about the day after his eye was removed, when he was feeling like nothing would ever be okay again. Augustus showed up at the hospital and made the following announcement:
You are going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible things that you cannot even imagine yet!
For her part, Hazel fills her eulogy with the silly encouraging phrases that Augustus’s parents hang all over the walls of their house. In her mind, her words are “bullshit,” but she also knows that they are likely to comfort the mourners.
After the graveside service, Van Houten asks to ride back to the funeral parlor in Hazel’s family’s car. During this short trip, he explains that Augustus wrote him a letter demanding answers to Hazel’s questions about the mother in An Imperial Affliction. He spouts some nonsense in Latin, which he translates as, “Life begets life.”
Van Houten clearly wants Hazel to beg him for an explanation, but she says she does not want one. She calls him “pathetic” and says that he is no longer the person who wrote An Imperial Affliction. She tells him she no longer wants to read anything he writes, and she kicks him out of the car.
That evening, Hazel takes a nap and awakes feeling okay—until she remembers that Augustus is gone. Then the grief hits her harder than ever. Just when she is on the point of despair, her dad comes to talk to her. He says angrily that Augustus’s death is “bullshit,” but he adds that “it sure was a privilege to love him.” When Hazel agrees, her dad points out that he feels the same way about her. These words finally give Hazel some comfort.