As some may know, it was my parents’ wedding anniversary on the 12th October – their 25th wedding anniversary – and we held a party the other night. The letter below was written by Simon himself for all of our friends who attended, (intended for all other friends and family everywhere as well), in an envelope titled ‘Not a Bill!’. This is a little of an inside joke between our friends – me father is known for his cooking, and has been told on multiple occasions to open a kitchen, so he can start billing people for his cooking. Of course, this envelope was to just clarify to everyone that the message inside was NOT a bill for those attending!

In any case, I’ve been around for almost 21 years of this marriage, and the only request I have is that they TRY to not kiss around asexual me! However, I can’t complain about the support they have given me regarding my choices over the years, and acceptance of who I am. I am far from the easiest person to handle, but they couldn’t have done it better.

Now, onto the letter!

“Let me make things clear. There is no way that anything I write here will ever express enough of my love, admiration and feelings for my family and friends, pets included.

Oh, my goodness! 25 years of being married and some of them living in sin beforehand. Nowadays, the sin is more acceptable to others of our age group behind locked bedroom doors to keep the dogs or children out whilst still keeping the noise down. Even though the kids are shaking their heads and making disapproving noises.

People who know me, know that expressing feelings are difficult for me. This might be a male thing, although where this myth originated is a bit of a mystery to the male population. I mean, we love to talk about sports, our favourite takeaways, possibly MasterChef and how good our Lasagne would be against a 3-star Michelin chef served at a motorway service station cooked on a Bunsen burner, if said chef was blindfolded and had to stand in a bowl of blancmange with one hand tied behind his back. I’m sorry, but that image just made me smile! And who won!
When we had our church blessing all those years ago, Ruth walked into the ceremony, given away by her brother Ian. Her father Eric was there with the local priest to conduct the ceremony. The music she walked into was from Riverdance, which was actually an Irish lament, but to this day, after all these years, I still get goose bumps listening to it, because I saw something else in the music and I saw something else in myself. The music evokes a certain amount of sadness as there is in any relationship, but I also saw hope and determination to try and make it work and get it right. The last crescendo and dying strains will never be a burden to listen to. It helps to enforce the love I feel for my family, (including the ones with fur, four legs and a tail).

It’s hard to explain if you have not heard that particular piece and it was not exactly “our song” in the normal sense. I’m not even sure or remember that we have one of those. What I do know, is that music is hugely emotive and can stir emotions from our childhood throughout our entire lives in whatever form it takes, and whilst that particular piece is not meant to be joyous, it described a life together the way it turned out to be. Ups and downs, pissed at each other, loving each other, and everything else in between that we as partners go through in relationships and life in general. I still love it because I find joy in my interpretation. So, find love in whatever life throws at you no matter the circumstances and go with the flow of the haunting lyrics and the rhythm and crescendos, and if it gives you goose bumps, join the club.

If you want to listen to this piece of music Google: Bill Whelan – Caoineadh Cú Chulainn (Lament)

I have made so many wrong decisions and so many mistakes. I am who I am. But right here, right now I am because of my wife, my partner, my friend, and my daughter Emily. She is intelligent and brilliant, artistic, vulnerable, loving and accepting and loved by us wherever her life takes her. She will always be supported and loved by us in the decisions she makes. And if she gets frustrated with my parenting skills, then she is not alone, but she needs to accept that I do get her, and I do understand her needs. I also apologise for the traits that are so very much from me. They will get better over the coming years, I promise.

True love. Everlasting love. Love at first sight. I’m sure that, that exists. I know that the first impression that Ruth had of me was nowhere anything like that. Still married to my first wife (and her best friend at the time), I was in a darkened room, streaming eyes and sneezing suffering from hay fever. Not a pleasant site and not a great first impression, but we are still here and thank God for that!

I have spoken about my own failings and insecurities, but this was not meant to be about me. I speak from my heart about this because my family make me strong enough to do so. I can only talk about this stuff because of them. I have my wife and my daughter, our pups, and my steadfast friends who we consider part of the family. Something to always believe in and embrace.

We will always open our doors and hearts to those that respect that ideal. Those that accept us for who we are. There are also those that have gone way beyond the norms to help us out when we needed it most, (you know who you are), but there are also those that do not respect our ideals and who only have their own agenda. Please consider yourselves a foot note and are worthless to us.

Although both of our fathers were priests of different denominations, I guess we both felt that the best faith lay in human nature. The comment in the above paragraph will seem unchristian to some, but for all the hope and admiration we hold dear for friends, family and acquaintances, there is a line that should not be crossed. We want to be forgiving, but in certain circumstances that is not always possible. The trail of destruction they left was too much, and we are not the only ones affected.

But enough of that. We know that we are not perfect, that we are far from it, and we accept it. We are dysfunctional, and yes, we don’t communicate as much as we should as a family (my fault again, because I’m a bloke but at least I recognize my own failings). But we are here for each other, and as long as we have breath in our bodies, we always will be, not just as a family, but for everyone that is happy to be with us to socialise and take some time away from the humdrum.

The past year and a half have pushed all of us to our limits, whether it be a psychedelic 3D jigsaw of butterflies, or working out where the next rent payment is coming from, and we know that we are not alone in this. Things are slowly getting better globally and life as a whole is improving. Maybe not as quickly as we would want, but it is, what it is. We hang in there. I know that we used to send criminals to Australia, but now we can’t get their ancestors out! Yet. I feel a jailbreak coming on!

The Pellow family lynchpin and superglue that holds us together is Ruth. Pure and simple. No argument. I do my best as a house husband, and whilst I have run my own successful business in the past as well as being a great estate agent in the UK many years ago, nothing compares to what Ruth has done generally, but especially over and during the pandemic. There is nothing, I mean nothing that can describe her strength and devotion to us to keep us going emotionally and financially. She wholeheartedly loves her job in trying to get our clients pregnant, whilst advising them as to the latest Covid protocols in the various countries we deal with, as well as all the other facets involved with each individual patient. I know that we will grow stronger as a couple and as a family.

My love and admiration for her devotion to us, is boundless. I just hope that my contribution to our marriage and friendship is enough.

Thank you.

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