Didion begins this chapter with an image that suggests how individuals can be controlled by powerful external forces (a tsunami), but she closes the chapter with an image of working within those natural forces (swimming with the flow of sea swells). Didion indicates that while we are inevitably subject to conditions and forces outside of our control, with patience and effort we can begin to exert some agency even when it seems as though we have none. She has come to understand that no matter what she did or what she might have done before John died, her husband’s death was inevitable. In acknowledging this lack of control, she is better able to understand the effect the grief has had on her, and in doing so learn how to “go with the swell” and move forward.