The year is quickly coming to a close so I thought it was high time I dusted off my keyboard and write what may well be my final post as The Divorce Doula. My blog post well has run dry as of late for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that I feel that the story of my divorce has, like a good book, come to a natural and satisfying end.

If you are a regular reader of Divorce Doula you will know that my ex & I have a very positive co-parenting relationship. That we put our children first and are consistently respectful and compassionate towards one another. I know that I am lucky but I also know that such a relationship would not be possible without a significant amount of self-awareness, forgiveness and kindness, on both parts. Perhaps that’s why I feel like I don’t have anything left to say about my divorce: it happened, it was horrible for a long time and then after a lot of hard work, it got better.

We had our two years of shit, then we worked together to come to a fair divorce settlement and custody arrangement, took ownership for the role each of us played in the demise of our marriage stumbled then found our co-parenting groovesupported one another through single parenting and respectfully began the process of introducing new partners to our children. And through it all we learned to laugh again.

I’ve learned so much about myself, relationships, accountability and forgiveness through this process. I’ve learned from my past mistakes to forge a better, stronger more authentic version of myself and I’m ready to focus on the next phase of my life: The After Wife. I plan to launch a  new business in the new year and obtain my divorce coaching certification to help others transition through divorce with dignity. I hope you’ll join me on my journey but as it’s a time for reflection, here’s a look back at three major events happened in 2015 that made it one of the most challenging but ultimately most rewarding years of my adult life.

1. My best friend got cancer: late last year, following an instinct, my girl Effin’ Jay went to see her doctor. Strange symptoms persisted, tests ensued but because she is fierce and funny and fucking fabulous, I refused to believe that it was anything serious.  But then she called and said those three words that you never want to hear from someone that you love:I have cancer.  I was in denial and angry and all of the feelings rushed over me. After I had a couple of days to cry and rage, I settled on acceptance and could focus on getting her well. While I can not compare my reaction to her reality, it took several days for me to recover from that phone call, to digest the enormity of the news and imagine a life without her in it. But she fought and along with a great support network, she took that bitch, Cancer, to task. I was honoured to be her “Person” throughout her treatment and watch her gain back her strength and sass and be well once again. We know that she is one of the lucky ones who caught the cancer early and dealt it a big dose of NOPE. I have other friends who are  not as fortunate; they are Stage 4 & not Stage 1 but they are living each day to its fullest and doing all of the things.

2. I took care of my financial self: during the course of our marriage, my ex-husband took care of all of our finances and investments. He is a CA, financially savvy and actually likes studying things like interest rates, budgets, stock market indexes…stuff that bores me to tears. Following our divorce I had the opportunity to make an investment in a new condominium development. I went from not making a single investment decision in my life to buying three pre-construction condominiums in Vancouver’s overhyped real estate market. Seemed like a great decision at the time. Late Spring when the condos were nearing completion, I received a letter from the developer informing me that I should have financing for my purchases in place by late summer. That’s when I realized that I had flippantly made a high-risk, uninformed investment decision without fully considering the impact it would have on my family’s savings. I was out of my league so I asked for help. With the support and guidance of my mortgage broker and dear friend  Sabeena Bubber I was approved for the mortgages. Through Sabeena, I also found My Squad; kind of like Taylor Swift’s Squad but instead of Super Models, these Super Women were experts in their fields. I’m proud to call real estate agent Sheri Stensonaccountant Candace Nancke and notary Brenda Petrie  My Squad and I wouldn’t have gotten through this endeavour without their savvy, compassion and patience. Any profits I made I reinvested with my financial planner Simon Tanner. Simon has been teaching me about defining my investment goals, having a healthy relationship with my money and planning for my family’s financial future.  Our story was even featured on the front page of the Investing section of the Globe and Mail, Canada’s National newspaper. The publicist and the parent in me were very proud.

3. I went on the last first date of my life: following a deeply impactful Wellness Week at the renowned Chopra Centre, I came back with a renewed sense of confidence, calm and commitment to my mental and physical health. While I was there, I also met several amazing people that I am proud to call my friends. Together we worked through some of our deepest issues and practiced kindness, gratitude, acceptance and forgiveness; of others and also towards ourselves. One of the most resounding revelations from a week filled with deep reflection, oceans of tears and deep belly laughter was this: I am worthy of love. I spent five years post divorce dating, having fun and finding out what I wanted from a relationship but I had not found lasting love for the simple reason that I didn’t feel deserving. As a strong, confident, independent woman, it was very hard to admit that, but it was even harder to accept that I was indeed worthy and to let someone wonderful into my life. But I did and it was the best thing that I have done in a very long time. My Love saw something in me that I had never seen in myself. He saw my true self and from the night we first met, he has shown me through his words and actions that he is committed to me. He is present in my life and makes an effort every day to prove to me that he is a good man, a kind, funny, emotionally strong and evolved man. He never lets me go to sleep without reminding me that I am beautiful and loved. I’ve watched him grow into an even better version of himself this year and I am so excited for our future together.

So we have taken the first step of blending our families: we moved into a new home together but did not move in together. My boys and I live upstairs and he and his children live in the suite below. Rather than throw everyone together all at once, Brady Bunch styles, we want to give all of the kids time to get to know one another, be comfortable in their new home and understand that although their parents are in love, it will never diminish the love we have for them. While not everyone may agree, I feel that we are doing the best we can and the comfort of our collective brood are a testament to that: they are happy, well adjusted and thriving. They are happy because their parents are happy and dedicated to them and to one another.

And as for me? Well, let’s just say that the After Wife is more amazing, more heavenly than I ever could have imagined.

Happiest of holidays, friends. See you in the After Wife.

 Photo credit: Instagrammer & awesome human @harrietglynn