There's that cliché about life throwing you a curve ball and that usually means something drastic is about to hit you square in the face or it's already laid you out. Your choices are to survive, adapt, or give up. In a story, the direction that you choose can have a predictable or unpredictable outcome. Choosing which path your character should take takes a little planning. I'll use the example of a zombie attack as that's so popular at the moment. A zombie attacks your house and corners you in your bedroom. You a) give up and become lunch, b) you throw the blanket over its head and make a run for it which leads to two other possibilities: 1) run to the kitchen and grab a knife and bravely run back to either kill it, if it's still stuck under the sheets or become a berserker and annihilate it if you meet it in the hallway. The second option 2) run out of the house and never look back. You've used two strategies, adapt and survive.
What happens next? Your story will depend on your main character and supporting characters. If you choose to give up, your story will have an abrupt ending or it's your plan to become a mindless zombie and join your fellow zombies to take over the world. So, when life throws you a curve ball, whether it's zombies, health, family, or loss, you have a choice. You just need to weigh your options and make the best choice.