Normally, when a woman's husband dies, and she becomes a widow, there is a certain time period of expected morning and sadness. This is not the case for Janie. When Joe Starks (Jody) dies, her life begins. She tries to keep a respectful face for the funeral (“the finest thing Orange County had ever seen with Negro eyes."), but she doesn't wear black, no longer wraps her hair, and stops living her life afraid of him. Of course many people in the town notice this and gossip about it, but Janie doesn't care. Her life is hers now.
She continues to work in the store, but since he has all of Joe's money, she finds herself keeping many unwanted suitors at bay.