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I am in search of a single word to sum up this:

Everything that happened after a single event early in a life was altered and effected by it, if that event hadn’t happened then each thing after that event probably would have gone in a completely different direction.

Example: a suicide happening in a 12 year olds life. Now that child is and adult and everything in their life would have been different. Every decision they made, every interaction they had. Their who life course.

Maybe a word like “stemmed [from]” or “transpired [because of]"? But not that. A word that defines it even more. An absolute.

Here is the best I can do with an example sentence. I don't need another expression for what I've called a "pivot point"; I am trying use a word for the events that were changed because of it. Not the actual event, but the events in her life after, every one, and how her life changed because of what happened that day. I've used divergent here, but that's the word which needs to be changed.

Her brother's suicide when she was 12 was a pivot point in her life. Everything that transpired after her brother's suicide, every opportunity taken or ignored, every decision made painstakingly or with ease, were divergent from the path her life would have taken had her brother decided to change even one of his actions that day.

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    Give a sentence showing how you would use this word, please.
    – Drew
    Jan 8 '17 at 6:47
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    It's not clear whether you are attempting to describe the single event which did the altering, or ... what? The disparity in answers so far illustrates the potential for confusion. I concur with the close-voters so far.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 8 '17 at 9:48
  • The question seems clear to me. I suggest blighted: "Her brother's suicide when she was 12 blighted her adolescence."
    – Gnawme
    Jan 10 '17 at 5:01
  • @AndrewLeach Sorry. I am trying use a word for the events tht were changed because of the suicide. Not the actual suicide, but the events in her life after, every one, and how it changed because of what happened that day. Jan 10 '17 at 5:19
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    In my mind, it’s probably easier to rewrite your sentence than to find the perfect word here. “The course of her life was forever altered by her brother’s suicide.” “At that pivotal point her life veered sharply toward ... “
    – Jim
    Jan 11 '17 at 17:34
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In the given example sentence, the word perturbed can replace divergent while implying "deviated from their original course".

Everything that transpired after her brother's suicide, every opportunity taken or ignored, every decision made painstakingly or with ease, were perturbed from the path her life would have taken had her brother decided to change even one of his actions that day.

M-W:

perturb transitive verb

3 : to cause to experience a perturbation

perturbation noun

2 : a disturbance of motion, course, arrangement, or state of equilibrium; especially : a disturbance of the regular and usually elliptical course of motion of a celestial body that is produced by some force additional to that which causes its regular motion

a perturbation in the planet's orbit

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  • That works really well. It flows with the sentence, and the meaning fits with what I want to convey. Thank you! Jan 11 '17 at 5:46
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How about conditioned?

OD:

condition: have a significant influence on or determine (the manner or outcome of something)

You example (paraphrased):

My mother's suicide when I was 12 years old conditioned my entire life.

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  • influenced is another good one to fit in the same mold. +1 Jan 8 '17 at 6:00
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You might consider

watershed

Defined in Oxford Dictionaries as:

  1. An event or period marking a turning point in a situation: ‘these works were a watershed in the history of music’
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  • I like that. But how long ago does the event have to have occurred? Can it be fairly recent? For instance can it be within 10 or 20 years? Jan 8 '17 at 7:28
  • @LeahMurdoch - In my opinion there is no specifiied time constraint, but practically, watershed events aren’t usually recognized as such when they occur. Although in some cases one might predict that something will be likely be viewed as a watershed in the future. What you need is enough evidence to support your statement- if that takes 2 years or 100 years to collect depends on the situation.
    – Jim
    Jan 8 '17 at 16:45
  • Can it be used for several events spread out over 20 years? Jan 11 '17 at 5:44
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I'd go with "shaped" – this could be applied to either positive or negative life-changing events. I can't think of a single word for positively-influencing events, but "blighted" would cover negatively-influencing events (as in the example given: "Her brother's suicide when she was 12 blighted her life").

I'd also use "diverged" rather than "were divergent" in the initial example.

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How about "game changing" event?

Definition of game changer (Merriam Webster dictionary)

:  a newly introduced element or factor that changes an existing situation or activity in a significant way

I know this does not necessarily indicate a tragic turn of events, but I'd probably close in meaning to what you asked. I'm sure there will be much better options than this term.

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you can use emergent,

adj. Arising or occurring unexpectedly: money laid aside for emergent contingencies.

or use incipient:

Beginning; commencing; entering on existence or appearance.

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The time after the cataclysm, and by extension the vastly changed circumstances ensuing, are described by the adjective post-apocalyptic:

post-apocalyptic [adjective]

1 Denoting or relating to the time following a nuclear war or other catastrophic event.

...

[Lexico]

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Her brother's suicide when she was 12 was a pivot point in her life.

Her brother's suicide when she was 12 was her road to Damascus.

OED

road to Damascus: the site of an important or life-changing revelation. An allusion to the conversion of Saul of Tarsus described in Acts 9.

1991 Hist. Workshop Spring 251 It was also, as he often afterwards stressed, something of a ‘road to Damascus’ revelation for Norman.

2000 Victorian Mar. 8/2 A relatively recent convert to the glories of the nineteenth century, Valerie's Road to Damascus was, appropriately, the 1997 Victorian Society Summer School.

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Doesn't exactly fit your specs, but consider

Epiphany:

An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphanea, "manifestation, striking appearance") is an experience of a sudden and striking realization. Generally the term is used to describe a scientific breakthrough or a religious or philosophical discovery, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective. Epiphanies are studied by psychologists[1][2] and other scholars, particularly those attempting to study the process of innovation.[3][4][5]

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