In the movie If I Stay, Mia got in car accident with her family. Her parents died. Her younger brother died in hospital. Mia was in a coma. We saw her consciousness (maybe, I'm confused) going through stages of her life. She was deciding if she should stay alive or not. At the film's end, we learn she decides to stay.

My problem is determining how she knew that her family was dead. She was in a coma. I'm guessing somehow she heard after the accident that her mom died immediately. But how did she come to know that her father and brother died? There is no indication in the movie that news of her brother's death was shared beside her. So there is no way that she knew about her brother. So was that Mia's ghost that was exploring in the hospital and heard these news? Or is that her soul or her consciousness and that's how she came to know about those deaths?

What did the writer mean? Did I miss something?

  • I have not seen the movie but I read the Novel. According to the novel, Mia's Father (but you're saying only her mother was mentioned as dead, so I'm not 100% sure.) and mother dies instantly. Her brother is taken to the hospital and he also dies after few hours. Mia learns that her brother is dead from the visitors. She understands that her brother is also dead from the visitors while they're talking. A/c to the novel, she doesn't have the ability to know about the deaths by herself. – chaitanya89 Nov 11 '14 at 4:52
  • 1
    @chaitanya89 there are many things in the movie that Mia came to know from other rooms / places. This is odd, how can she heard voices from other rooms / places like rooftop!! And in movie Mia didn't know about her father at first. Later when her consciousness(!) saw whom she was thinking as her father is the other driver, she realized and heard that her father died too. How can she see a person in another bed in another room! Doesn't make sense. – AtanuCSE Nov 12 '14 at 2:50
  • 1
    I think you missed everything, not just something – pt18cher Feb 25 '16 at 16:24
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'm going to use this PDF, which contains the text of If I Stay, for referencing.

  • On the 11th page of the PDF, it says,

"Pieces of [Mia's] father’s brain are on the asphalt."

  • Also on page 11, it says,

"[Mia's mom's] lips are already blue and the whites of her eyes are completely red, like a ghoul from a low-budget monster movie."

  • On page 12, it says,

"Someone has put a sheet over my father"

Dad is confirmed dead


  • Also on page 12, it says,

"And a fireman is zipping Mom up into a plastic bag...The older [firefighter] explains to the rookie that Mom was probably hit first and killed instantly"

Mom is confirmed dead


  • On page 54, we have a whole bunch of paragraphs about

"[Mia's relatives] are avoiding mentioning Mom or Dad or Teddy."

Then she realizes the truth.

"And that’s how I know. Teddy. He’s gone, too."

Teddy is confirmed dead

All events of the film suggest that it is the spirit of Mia walking around the hospital. She's stuck there until decides whether to stay or not. At a certain point, when she almost give up, her heartbeat slows down (the hospital equipment warns). At that moment she was sure she could make the decision.

In the beginning of the car accident her mother dies instantly. When they get to the hospital you see Mia being rushed into surgery, as well as her father being rushed into it too. While Mia walks with her body asfter surgery into her room, she looks and sees a man getting pulled into another room, she thinks that it is her father but then a lady runs in and yells george to see if he is conscious, she then starts asking where her father is and the top desk people start talking to each other dating her mom died instantly and her father died on the surgical table. She later finds out after Adam shows up and tries to get into the ICU that Willow pops out of the elevator and Mia wonders why she isn’t with Teddy and then she goes over to the hospital room he was in and the doctor talking to her grandparents were talking about how he died.

Well it's totally different and more interesting in the movie... She doesn't realize these deaths but gradually. And she moves throughout the hospital. Her running and hurried state is really enthusiastic and well played...

I totally enjoyed the movie and would now like to read the book. It was obvious to ME that it was Mia's spirit that was running around the hospital, thus realizing her mother, father and brother had been killed or died shortly after the car accident. She was in "limbo" during that time, tring to decide if she should stay or just let go. True love prevails and she decides to live. All the flashbacks were her spirit remembering those times. I thought the most touching scene was when Mia's grandfather asked her to stay, but always told her he'd understand if she didn't. I never caught the relationship of Willow. Perhaps she was Mia's aunt? I do wish they would've stretched the story just a little bit instead of it ending as soon as she opened her eyes. Just a short scene, from like a year later. Is Mia attending Juilliard? Is she and Adam living together?

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .