The Fault in Our Stars

by John Green

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Chapter 24 Summary

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A few days later, Hazel gets a message from Augustus’s dad saying that he found an old Moleskine notebook near Augustus’s hospital bed. It had no writing in it, but there were some pages ripped out. This news gives Hazel renewed hope that Augustus left her a note somewhere. On the day of the next Support Group meeting, she arrives early at “the Literal Heart of Jesus” to search the room in case Augustus hid a note for her there.

Hazel finds nothing. Her only reward for her frantic search is the breathlessness she always gets from walking around. As the meeting starts, she settles into a chair and concentrates so hard on catching her breath that she does not really pay attention to what Patrick is saying.

After a while, Patrick interrupts Hazel’s thoughts to ask her to talk about Augustus. Instead of answering, she says she wants to die. Instead of acting shocked as she expects, he replies that he has felt that way himself. He asks her why she bothers to stay alive, and she does not have an answer.

As the meeting continues around her, Hazel tries to answer Patrick’s question in her head. She used to think she stuck around for her parents, but now she thinks it is more than that. Maybe she owes it to the universe to keep living and paying attention. Maybe she owes it to Augustus and everyone else who has died. To Hazel, this seems too cheesy to say aloud, but the idea gives her comfort.

At the end of the meeting, Patrick reads a list of the dead. Augustus’s name is at the end.

Afterward, at home, Hazel picks a fight with her parents. She refuses to eat dinner, but her mom insists. Hazel says that there is no point in trying to keep up her health because she is dying anyway, “and you won’t be a mother anymore.”

As soon as Hazel says this, everyone falls silent. Her mom cries and apologizes for saying those words once, years ago, when Hazel seemed to be dying. Her mom says that she did not really mean it and that she will always love Hazel, even through death.

Hazel finally admits her fear that her parents will have no reason left to live after she is gone. She is terrified that they will just fall apart like Peter Van Houten, and she hates the idea of causing them that kind of pain.

After a brief hesitation, Hazel’s mom admits that she has been working toward a master’s degree in social work. Her hope is that someday she can become a counselor for families of cancer patients. She obviously thinks that Hazel might be offended by this idea, and she hastily adds, "I don't want you to think I'm imagining a world without you." 

But Hazel is thrilled by the news that her mom is going to “be a Patrick.” She says that her mom will do a better job than the real Patrick, the man who leads her Support Group. She admits that she sighs at all his stupid encouraging remarks, and she jokes that after she dies she will sit up in heaven and sigh at her mom the same way.

After this, Hazel and her family sit down and watch TV. In the middle of the show, Hazel asks her parents if they think they might get divorced after her death. They say that they will not, and they ask why she would even worry about such a thing. She says again that she does not want her death to ruin their life. Her parents assure her that they will not let themselves fall apart. “You of all people know it is possible to live with pain,” her mom says.

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