When the Stories are Real

We’ve all read stories or seen movies that deal with great tragedies. Characters who suffer tremendous loss, through no fault of their own, whose lives get turned upside down by an unimaginable horror. We cry for these characters, identify with their pain even if we have never suffered what they have, and we cheer for them as they resolve to push through and emerge victorious in spite of everything.

The pain and empathy that we feel is often increased when we learn that the story is based on a true story, or inspired by real events. And then that pain and empathy is taken to yet another deeper level when it happens to someone you know.

There’s no shortage of pain and tragedy in the world, and everyone can probably point to someone they know (or to themselves) as an example. But just last week, I was stunned and horrified to learn of a great tragedy that hit my friend and fellow blogger Jessica Cangiano of Chronically Vintage. She and her husband lost their home and all of their possessions in a fire – personal belongings, the entire stock for her Etsy business, a lifetime of mementos and treasures, and one of their pets.

I have no doubt that Jessica and her husband will be like the heroes in all the great tales – they will rise up, claim victory in their hearts, push through, and rebuild their lives better and grander than before. Theirs will be a story of joy and triumph that will inspire everyone who hears it. But for right now, they’re still at the beginning of their journey, when every moment is a struggle and it’s hard to see any light in the distance.

I realize this post is a bit different from what I usually write about, but this is a story that I felt needs to be shared. Jessica is one of the kindest, most gracious people I know, and it saddens me deeply to know how she is suffering right now. When the dark side of reality hits, we instinctively want to reach out to others to share the story and ease the pain.

Others have reached out, too, to share their story; some friends of Jessica set up a funding page for donations, to help them through this first stage of their journey. The story of this chapter of their lives is an unpleasant one, but I have faith that eventually, this story will have a happy ending. Happy endings only happen in fairy tales, they say, but who’s to say that we can’t write our own fairy tale in life as we live it day by day?

If you’d like to read the details of Jessica’s story and offer any assistance, you can visit their page here.



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