Gayle M Irwin

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Celebrating Love: Friends, Family, Partners, and Pets

Feb 09, 2022 by Gayle M Irwin

Valentine’s Day approaches. I used to dread that celebration, not only when I was single, but at times when I was in a relationship. Not always did that supposed day of love and happiness go well.

As a young, engaged woman, I learned my fiancé was being unfaithful – I found that out just a few weeks before Valentine’s Day, and I broke off the engagement. No wedding took place that year for me and would not happen for many years to come.

Then, on February 14, 1999, I met the man who became my husband. We’ve been married more than 21 years. My Valentine’s Day are much better now.


There are other loves in my life, too, including my parents, other family members, and friends. My mother’s birthday happens two days after Valentine’s Day; she has been my best friend for decades. I’ve reconnected with cousins, uncles, and aunts (I have no siblings and no living grandparents), and my in-laws are wonderful.

I’ve also reconnected with many friends, thanks to social media platforms like Facebook. Classmates from high school and college have returned to my circle of friends and the opportunity to see what’s happening in their lives brings me joy. I’m thankful for family and friends, and even though we live states apart, I’m glad they are part of my life.

My pets (currently two dogs and two cats) also bring me joy… and lots of love. Their devotion, their antics, and their companionship bring comfort, smiles, and delight. I’ve been a pet parent for decades, and I always will be. Companion animals are the embodiment of love and faithfulness.


Whether we have a partner in life or not, we should celebrate love this month, for we all have people (and/or animals) in our lives to love and be loved by. Galantine’s Day, celebrated on February 13, celebrates female friendships. It’s also become a time to celebrate all friendships. This year, I intend to let the women in my life now how special they are to me and how much I care for them.

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or Galantine’s Day or both, or neither, may this month bring you joy and love!