My grief counselor recently told me that a positive aspect of grief, if there can be one, is that in surviving it, one becomes transformed. You become a more in-depth person, introspective, kind, understanding, compassionate. She quickly added that she knew I would trade all the inner-growth and wisdom in a heartbeat to have my husband back.
A similar variation on this theme came from the asst. principal at the boys' new school. He said that living through challenging circumstances is what adds the substance and dimension to our character. He was saying that ultimately the boys will benefit from the painful and tragic lessons of their childhood in becoming better, more well-rounded men and citizens of the world.
I certainly get the belief in this but am not sure it really matters or that I care anymore. It doesn't seem that those of us who have had a more difficult path to travel get any special tickets to heaven or have to pay lower taxes. We still have to muddle through life with more on our shoulders beside all of those who have fewer burdens. I am not sure what any of this inner wisdom has gotten me. So I am more compassionate and kind. In the end what does it all really matter anyway?
We walk in a crowd of others and no one can see what is inside us. How we look on the outside provides no clue to all the transformation that has gone on within.