She had to accept the death of her husband and that was the last stage of her recovery after the death and grief that overwhelmed her. In fact, the acceptance was very challengeable because Joan Didion had spent a considerable part of her life with her husband and she could not even think of herself separately from her husband. As she pointed out in her book, she was accustomed to view herself with her husband eyes. However, the death of her husband had changed her life forever and she had to accept it. To accept the death of her husband, Joan Didion attempted to find other reasons to live for and her daughter was her primary concern. She understood that her daughter needed her badly and this was probably why she kept her external coolness, although deep inside she was overwhelmed with grief and loneliness. Nevertheless, she was conscious of the fact that her daughter needed her and her support was essential for her daughter. In fact, the recovery of her daughter became a strong stimulus for her recovery after the death of her husband.
Eventually, Joan Didion had learned how to live without her husband and his support. Her life had changed but her experience was and still is very important, especially for those people, who have suffered a similar loss as Joan Didion did. Her tragedy was great but many other people live through such tragedies too. This is why her book help them to learn how to cope with the grief and how to recover after the death of a close person. The way to recovery is hard and may be long but, after anxiety and denial, acceptance must come.
Didion, J. The Year Magical of Magical Thinking. New York: Knopf, 2005.
Saramago, J. Death with Interruptions. New York: Random House, 2008.