Sharing stories is a powerful way to heal both as individuals and as a community. Our live story-sharing events not only give women the opportunity to tell their stories but they also serve as a space to connect and honor each other’s experiences. One of the most powerful examples of this happened during the Bloomington-Normal 2022 show when Cecilia Ruffin shared the stage with her two daughters, Anna and Sarah. Leading up to the show, they prepared their own stories separately, but they knew they were each speaking about their shared experience losing Anthony – Cecilia’s son, and Anna and Sarah’s brother.
They prepared for the stage with the help of our national director, Jenette Jurczyk. Jenette worked with each of them, allowing the story to emerge and guiding the narrative from one perspective to another. In the end, they each told one piece of their family’s collective story about Anthony.
Because this was such a powerful experience, we reached out to Cecilia Ruffin directly to inquire about her experience. Here’s what she had to say:
What did it mean to you to get a chance to share a stage at the She Said show with your daughters?
The opportunity to share the stage with my daughters and share the love and loss of Anthony was tremendously special. It is an experience that we will never forget. We honored his life with words of truth and love.
We watched through your spiritual blog and loved hearing about how “We lift ourselves by lifting others.” Can you expand on that and how you felt that quote applied to the TWSS experience for yourself and fellow speakers?
The support of TWSS speakers during each gathering and practice gave rise to confidence and gave each woman permission to soar on their belief in themselves and their ability. We lifted ourselves by becoming a cheering section for each other. As our voices rose, we intentionally lifted the voices of others until every voice resonated at the same frequency.
What kind of connections and pieces of your story did you find that the show brought about that you either weren’t aware of or weren’t previously as comfortable with?
The show brought our collective story together and allowed us to expose our vulnerability.
What advice would you have for future TWSS speakers?
I would advise them to dig deep in the weeds to discover what has been unreachable. Be vulnerable, be courageous, and be brave. Someone needs your story.
What was your biggest takeaway from the show and do you find that it has had a wider impact on your life?
My biggest takeaway was the power of women supporting women. It had a wider impact on my life because it allowed me to share the stage with my daughters and tell our story of HOPE.
After Cecilia, Anna, and Sarah spoke on stage, they were greeted with compassion and love by their fellow community members. Off stage, Cecilia was hugged by an audience member and told how Anthony had impacted their life. You can watch their full performance here.
If you’d like to experience this type of community bonding and healing for yourself, join us at the next live story-sharing event.