Suicide is seen a very coward like act in the eyes of society, back then and today. Especially for one who practices Christian values. It can be said that one of the reasons why a person who would commit such an act of violence against themselves is because that person does not value and love their own self enough to stop feeling sorry and down for themselves and know that they're worth more than anything, pick up the pieces and themselves back up.
The Old Woman did not start off well in life, being the daughter of a Pope did not mean that she had been granted a place in the world or had started off with a sunny predisposition, quite the contrary, instead she was the product of a woman and a man who disobeyed the vows of celibacy. with that said, her parents, her dad more than anything, had bore shame upon themselves. In their eyes, her sole existence was illegitimate. The Old Woman, as wise as she was, was also strong. People with strong mentalities are able to endure and survive obstacles that others would have given up on long ago.
The old woman thought that loving life was a ridiculous weakness that one "that chooses to carry a burden that no one wants to cast on the ground, to hold existence in horror and to cling to it? To fondle the serpent which devours us till it has eaten out our heart? " we as humans, can be weak sometimes and succumb to renounce own lives in order to end pain and suffering of a situation that we feel that we have no control over and will not be able to surpass. The old woman endured many tragedies but still, she rose above them. She was widowed at a young age, raped, sold, enslaved, not to mention had half of her butt eaten!
Any woman's from this day and age wouldn't think twice about committing suicide over losing half of a butt! Being the daughter of a Pope didn't ensure that she was going to be protected in any way against the hardships she had to bear to get to where she was as she related to Candide and Miss Cunegonde. The only reason why she told her story to them was because they both provoked her by talking about their own petty misfortunes compared to what she had been through. Weather a person believes in God or not, life is something that must be cherished while we still have it.
There are extreme episodes of trauma that we can experience and at times feel like we won't survive that particular experience and commit suicide, just drop and terminate with our burdens right then and there. It seems very easy, that's why some people choose that route. Those that persevere don't choose the easy way and are resilient to a world that shows no mercy. Any human being that has walked the face of this earth and has had a traumatic event happen to them at one point in their lives and that didn't choose suicide as their last resort is a hero in their own way.
They are heroes of their own lives and their own fate. In the end, one will still continue to go though the motions of life and new problems will always arise. Life will go on. Those that have become resilient to difficult life experiences only become wiser and stronger and are able to deal with other tough situations. That is the reason why the old woman was able to make it to her old age of course, she didn't get to be who she was, a strong willed woman who was determined to live by giving up.