I’ve always had, in my opinion, a pretty high emotional level. I know it sounds like a very absurd thing to think about yourself, but seriously I cry everyday. Sometimes it’s about normal things, like grief, heartbreak, or pain, but other times it’s things like the newest Macy’s commercial with the mom who’s an astronaut, or literally every episode of Kathie Lee and Hoda when they do Ambush Makeover. You know that scene in Sleepless in Seattle when Annie and Becky are talking about the commercial where the daughter gives the mom the refrigerator with the big red bow and they’re both crying? That’s me all the time.

I write all of this to say that even though my emotions are usually over the roof, as I’ve walked through the last year of grieving, the emotions have turned a little softer - often into numbness. I forgot what putting words to my emotions felt like, so this post is much overdue.

There are so many words I could say about this past year of my life, and that will definitely come later (once I find the courage to say them). Right now I want to write and show you some of the people that have helped me through it. I have often said, and cross my heart will say for the rest of my life, that finding people who you trust with every bit of your being is one of the most sustaining things in this life. Community. Friends. Allies. These are people that don’t let me forget that I’m grieving, the people that almost a year and a half later are still asking me how I’m doing and not just in a “oh, life is fine” sort of way, but in a deep and genuine, cut straight to the heart, sort of way. Finding people that you can trust with your emotions allows you to be vulnerable and honest with even yourself. I know there are days when I would much rather skip over the heartache and carry on as usual, but those are often the days when I have to speak up the most and remind myself that I’m still trying to figure out what grieving looks like. Those are the days where I just need people that know me to sit next to me. That’s literally it. The presence of someone who knows your heart can comfort you to the point of expression - it pulls you out of the trauma you may be in and calms you down so that you’re able to take that one breath you needed, which turns into another and another, and next thing you know you’re finding the rest you’ve been longing for.

These are people that have spoken those breaths into me. They remind me of my capabilities and encourage my encouragement. It’s usually easier to encourage others over encouraging yourself, isn’t it? But with these people (and these photographs only scrape the surface of life and light-givers that surround me), they see me, they trust me, they fight for me, they provide me with the strength I need, and they never let me forget who I am. I am a lover of people. I am compassionate and empathetic. I am a dreamer who is full of passion and light. I love laughing and am moved by the sound of a saxophone and trumpet. I love red wine and whiskey. I am known and loved by a Creator who has dug me out of a pit to show me the depth of His love. I am a friend, a daughter, a sister. And I am ready to remind myself of all of those things that my people have shown me when I haven’t had the emotion to remember.

Today I vow to not be afraid, to write when I need to express myself, to be more bold, to think more highly of myself and my capabilities, and to never forget how friggin grateful I am for my people.