People have stopped giving Miles and the Colonel cigarettes out of sympathy, so Takumi drives them to Coosa Liquors to buy some more. Miles goes in to buy the cigarettes and the clerk says that she’s heard about the death at Culver Creek, and she’s sorry about it. Miles thinks that it’s when life starts to feel normal that Alaska’s death hits everyone the hardest, because that’s when they miss her the most.
Just as Alaska was able to associate the date with her anniversary with Jake rather than the anniversary of her mother’s death, so Alaska’s friends slowly start to return to their normal lives. But their normal lives involved Alaska, and each time things seem better, they are reminded of her death.