I know a lot of people won’t share my sentiments, but I have been counting down the end of 2014 for a while. This has been the year from hell and, quite frankly, I won’t miss it.

I just read a blog post from my of my [much cooler and much more eloquent] friends in which she looked back on her year with music. So, I’m deciding to do the same.

Here’s a few songs that helped me through this year:

1) Ghosts That We Knew // Mumford & Sons

This isn’t a new song (in fact, most of the songs on this list aren’t new songs…), but this song… I literally can’t listen to 10 seconds of it without turning into a puddle of tears. It’s one of those incredibly rare songs that I can feel physically and emotionally. Am I the only one who’s ever felt that before?

A year ago, it had a completely different meaning to me, but I have a feeling it’s one of those songs that I will be able to relate to throughout many chapters of my life.

The words. The chords. They touch a part of my soul and a part of this journey that I’ve kept hidden from a lot of people, including myself. It’s beautifully heart-breaking.

2) Show Me // John Legend

My faith is an incredibly intimate thing to me and I don’t really outwardly talk about it for a lot of reasons that I won’t get into right now, but this song has basically been my almost daily prayer.

There’s really not much more than I can put into words about it. Maybe if you listen to it, you’ll understand. It’s helped me through some hard days.

3) Chandelier // Sia

This was the song of the summer, seemingly. It has a great beat and I love dancing to it, but there’s something a little deeper about this song that pulled me in.

I first heard this song when right after I had lost all my hair and when chemo was kicking my butt. While I loved the whole song, there was one very specific line that summed up exactly how I felt the whole time I was in chemo and it just stabbed me right in the heart every single time, no matter how happy I was.

It went: “Help me, I’m holding on for dear life. Won’t look down, won’t open my eyes.”

Those 15 words represent every fear that I’ve suppressed and kept hidden from myself for most of this year. They represent every way that I’m not at all okay, but have been forcing myself to be because I don’t know how to cope with this.

4) Mess is Mine // Vance Joy

This song reminds me of Ivory. It representative of how often I have felt like a burden on him this year, and how often he has reminded me that we are one and that I’m not alone and that I’m not a burden.

If I ever had any doubts about how much loves me, this year has blown them out of the water. It blows my mind that this man is real and that he’s decided to walk through life by my side… even after all we’ve been through.

He has been the biggest source of light the past year– well, the past five years, really.

5) Hero // Family of the Year

Throughout this process, I’ve been conflicted by a few things. One of those was that I felt like I was becoming ‘the face of breast cancer’ to a lot of people that I knew. I started to feel more like ‘Mandi, this girl who has cancer’ instead of ‘Mandi, the girl who has all of these attributes; oh, and cancer too”.

Re-finding my identity has been one of the hardest parts of this journey. I just want to be able to blend in again. This song seems to understand that.

6) Waking Up // Explosions in the Sky

I have a deep love for movie scores that dates back to Titanic as well as an 11 year long love of Explosions in the Sky, so when the two came together once again for Lone Survivor the first time was for Friday Night Lights, the movie– I was all over it. I was so all over it, in fact, that this song was my most played song on Spotify this year.

It had a way of calming down a lot of my anxieties, while also being quiet enough to allow me to open up and free whatever emotions were burdening me.

I felt hopeful while listening to it. I cried while listening to it. I fell asleep while listening to it. This song kind of did it all for me.

So, that’s it. Those were the six main songs that helped me through this year. Of course, there were a million others (ahem, Taylor Swift), but those above were my gems.

So, here’s to 2015. See you on the other side.

P.S. I have hair now!!

San Diego // December 2014

San Diego // December 2014