The Year of Magical Thinking Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What were the first words that Joan wrote after her husband's death?

Shortly after her husband's death, Joan wrote a few words to express how she felt. She wrote that life in an instant. That one could sit down to dinner and life as one knew it would end. Then she wrote about the question of self-pity.

2. How did friends and relatives help Joan in the first three weeks after John died?

During the first few weeks after John's death, friends and relatives brought food, made drinks, and laid out food for those around at meal times. Others picked up dirty dishes, froze leftovers, and ran the dishwasher.

3. Why was Quintanna, Joan's and John's daughter in the hospital, when her father died?

At the time of her father's death, Quintana had been unconscious in the intensive care unit for five days. A case of December flu became so severe, that she was taken to the emergency room on Christmas morning. At the hospital, the flu turned into pneumonia and septic shock.

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