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Acceptance.

Well, we did it.  We survived an entire year.  And I think hitting that daunting milestone, and not just alive-but-barely like I figured, but actually doing well, is why yesterday wasn’t devastating like I thought it was going to be.  I was actually in a good mood!  I mean, not dancing around singing “The hills are alive with the sound of MU-SIC” good mood (although come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever done that…), but definitely okay.  No tears were shed.  I didn’t fly off the handle irrationally (at least not any more than a normal day).  It’s now been a year and a day since our lives completely fell apart and we’re still standing.  I have a mouthy 6 year old whom I vacillate between loving to death and wanting to strangle; a 2 year old shithead who loves being put in timeout, even though he’s locked shut in a closet with the light turned off (can you say large therapy bills in his future?); a 2.5 month old puppy that is lucky he’s adorable because his teeth are sharp, he loves chewing on anything that doesn’t belong to him and his favorite pastime is peeing in the house, but has finally shown us why owning two dogs is the best thing in the world; a 4ish year old dog who talks while he knocks Lurch all over the house (who then comes running back for more.  Dumbass.) and spends 90% of his day slobbering on my couch; and a husband who has finally stopped complaining about school (mostly…), bought a Jeep and continues to be an amazing father and husband, managing to piss me off an average of only one day out of the week–quite the accomplishment.

Of course my good day is due to more than just how marvelously, astoundingly, shockingly awesome I am (see, I am returning to my old self!).

It’s the weather.  The sunny 60-75 degree days we’ve had for the last week have been a true godsend.

It’s the visitors–my brother and his fiancee couldn’t have picked a better time to come out and visit for 4 days.

It’s this military lifestyle, this post, this building.  Having such unexpected support after such a short time here with a bunch of like-minded families means I’m where I’m supposed to be.

It’s the girl scout cookies.  Hey, I need to give credit where credit is due.  Even if this baker is not nearly as good as the other one (Peanut Butter Sandwiches are not Do-Si-Does–anyone who tells you they are is a LIAR.)

But mostly, it’s everyone I love.  Your support throughout this last week, your wishes, your thoughts.  Facebook messages, comments and posts.  Texts, phone calls, gifts.  It’s you guys.  It completely blew me away how many people remembered not just Zoe’s birthday but also the anniversary of her death, without me saying a word.  I can barely remember my own children’s birthdays, let alone the children of friends and family!  You guys are the true reason I made it through.  Especially since you continue to be supportive throughout my silence.  I’m still unable to acknowledge anyone’s comments about Zoe.  Even hitting the “like” button FB is too much for me.  And yet, you still keep coming back.  And that’s what keeps me going.  My almost-equally marvelously, astoundingly, shockingly awesome BFF couldn’t have said it better in her latest blog post:  it’s the people who were there and the people who continue to be there.  That’s all it takes.

Last week when Zoe’s birthday hit, I figured I would spend the next week documenting what I remembered every day of her 8 days with us.  My post would be filled with “today one year ago this something awful happen”  “today we thought things were going well, but they weren’t actually”, etc. etc. etc.  But I never had that urge to relive it.  Do you know what I think this feeling is?  The final stage of grief.

Acceptance.

This isn’t to say that I’m “healed”–not by any means.  That Zoe’s second birthday won’t be awful.  That I am suddenly able to look at all the babies of friends that were born within a week of her.  That I believe that any of this was “meant to be” or “right”.  That I wouldn’t give anything in the world to change the outcome.  That this will be my last blog post about Zoe.  That I will never be set off by some seemingly small and random event.  That I suddenly and magically want to talk about my feelings to anyone.  That I am able to acknowledge that you’ve read my inner thoughts.  That I’m still not incredibly selfish and self-absorbed.

But I’ve made a lot of progress in the last 366 days.  I’m a lot further along than I would’ve ever believed that I could be.  I don’t want to say that I’m “at peace” with it–because I’m not, and never will be.  I think this definition of acceptance on some random psychiatric website sums it up much better than I can:  “Acceptance does not mean that you have to forgive, ignore, go into denial, or excuse what has happened. Acceptance means that you are at a place where you can recognize what has happened, process it without denying what has happened, and are at a stronger place than before.”

As the horribly selfish person I am, I can’t remember who sent me the quote featured above back in May.  But the moment I read it it resonated with me and I saved it on my iPad for the last 9 months, hoping that some day the storm would be over–or at least as over as it ever can be.

Love you Zoe bear, forever and always.  I’m glad you came.

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