Trans Valve Body broke (exploded?)

I posted earlier about my '95 4T60E transmission and what I should do. Well, another is in and the car shifts great. I suspect there was a problem for many thousands of miles, but I just thought it was the cars
character.
Anyway, they found a nice large chunk of metal in the pan apparently from the valve body giving up.
Can this be contributed to normal wear? 144,800 miles almost exactly.
With the old trans, it shifted hard.....like there was less synchronization going on. It would just "pop" into the next gear, particularly on upshifts at low throttle input. (although all upshift were "popped" into gear)
Tony
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