By Kriste Peoples

I Love You More

In the past I’ve said that it’s impossible to hold two emotional experiences at the same time, and I think I still believe that. Even though I can hold two material things at the same time – say, a fork in one hand and a knife in the other – it’s different.



These pics, for example. At the end of a tough climb, we were told there’d be a surprise at the top. I had no idea it would mean crossing a ravine by way of a string connecting one side to the other.


It was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying, and there wasn’t enough time to be afraid once my feet left the ground.


For most of my trip, I could hardly believe I was having such mind-blowing experiences. The thing is, though, trying to make sense of an experience while you’re in it pulls you out of it.


Add to all of this, I had a dear cousin pass away while I was traveling. She’d been diagnosed with breast cancer not long before I had surgery to remove a ‘suspicious mass’ in my breast. For me, it was benign. For my cousin, cancer was aggressive. When I got the news, it added yet another surreal layer to the experience.


I swung between grief and disbelief, and because there was no way to get home in time for the funeral, I imagined her instead flying and running and trekking along with me now that she was limitless, unbound by the body.


Granted, it was all stuff she never would have enjoyed in life, and she missed no opportunity to tell me so. Whenever I’d invite her out to the mountains, she’d say ‘you’re crazy, Kriste, and you can keep them damn mountains out there!’ We had a lot of good laughs about it and it felt good to imagine her fussing at me for making her run and climb and ‘act a fool’ in nature with me.


Whenever we’d text or talk, we’d end with I love you’s and then she’d say ‘I love you more’ to which I’d reply ‘that’s not possible.’


I know I’ll be processing it all in the days, weeks, months ahead. One thing I’m sure of is that I have no idea what that journey will look like. A lot of it may leave me feeling ungrounded and powerless, full of questions. But I’ve got some experience being up in the air. It just goes with the territory; I know it’s gonna be alright.