Research on the the post trauma lives of victims of tragedies like the school shooting in Connecticut, reveal that most survivors eventually escape their dark dungeons of grief and despair and that many actually led happier, more fulfilling lives. This evidence validates Nietzsche’s observation, “What does not kill me, makes me stronger,” as well as Shakespeare’s sentiment, “Sweet are the uses of adversity, / Which like the toad, ugly and venomous, / Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”
Unfortunately, the positive predictions of psychologists, philosophers, and poets are not true for everyone. Each victim must face a personal crossroad alone: One road leads to a lifetime of posttraumatic stress and emotional instability, the other to posttraumatic growth resulting in a greater appreciation of life, heightened self-confidence, more rewarding relationships, and new priorities about a purposeful life.
Which road they take will be determined by the moral courage to be optimistic, the wisdom to accept what can’t be changed, and the loving support of family and friends.