I’m obsessed with stories that have sad endings. They are heartbreakingly real. We are fed a lot of stories that have their fair share of problems and sadness, but always miraculously end happy. Of course the problems and sadness are necessary in these stories. It’s the triumph over these problems that make the happy ending so satisfying. We want to know that we can overcome all the shit in our life and have our own happy ending. In fact, we depend on these stories. The whole world would sink into hopelessness if we didn’t have them. That’s why this narrative exists and is constantly told and retold in different ways. However, as much as we want to believe that narrative to be true, not all stories end happy. People die tragically young, whether it be from cancer or suicide, “soul mates” break up, people are born into such severe poverty that they can’t even dream of a better life, women are stuck in abusive relationships until they die, the list goes on and on. These people don’t get to overcome their problems, they live with them until they die and that’s their whole life. Even in stories like these, ones that obviously didn’t end happy, people try to change the narrative. We honor the brave person who fought their cancer until it inevitably killed them. We tell ourselves that our friend who committed suicide is in a better place now, that they aren’t in pain anymore. But we forget to talk about how scared that cancer patient was as they lay dying, we forget to talk about how painful that person’s life must have been that they felt forced to end it all, how alone they felt in their last moments, we forget to talk about everything they didn’t get to experience.
I’m not saying that hope is useless. Even on my worst days I hope that one day I will be happy again. I’m just saying some stories don’t have happy endings and those stories are just as important. Because, as much as its my greatest fear, that story may be mine.