This multiple case study of eight entrepreneurial narratives of failed businesses examines how narratives that express different emotional states (folks) reflect different efforts to make sense of failure experiences (strokes). Our comparisons of the narratives' emotional content (describing emotional states at the time of business failure and presently) revealed some new insights. First, high negative emotions motivate making sense of a loss, while high positive emotions provide cognitive resources to facilitate and motivate making sense of the failure event. Second, emotion-focused coping helped deal with negative emotions. Finally, sensemaking was also facilitated by cognitive strategies that focused attention on the failure event and promoted self-reflection.