I think I've mused before about the importance of transitions in writing before--I was working hard last night on finding the separation between the penultimate chapter and the final chapter.
The separation point thematically and chronologically.
It can mean all the difference in the world in clarity and emotional force. Early in the book's days, I had pondered the notion of making self-contained chapters. Soon I rejected that in favor of a regular book form.
The average book reader starts at the first chapter and finishes with the last. Momentum builds to a crescendo; then collapses in decrescendo. And so on and so on...
A book of self-contained chapters is a series of short stories I suppose. For a memoir like Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! that works brilliantly.
But let there be no doubt, one must read the preceding chapters to grieve Chiles' funeral in the final one.