To Whom it May Concern

I wrote this a while ago when Jeff was applying for his masters in music at various schools here in Toronto and in England, knowing full well that a reference letter written by a spouse would never be accepted. Came across it today while cleaning up our old computer and it brought fresh tears to my eyes. Jeff and I are moving to England in September where he will be attending Leeds College of Music for his masters.

To Whom It May Concern:

I write this as I settle in for another weekday evening of watching television by myself. My husband, Jeffrey, can be heard playing guitar in another room.

Unlike the average couple, this is our weeknight routine. We commute home together from work, as we have done since he graduated from his bachelor of music in 1998, we eat dinner, talk about our respective workdays, then part ways – me to a relaxing night of reading, TV or cooking, Jeff to his guitar, the only serious competition I have ever had.

He took me out for dinner once, a long time ago, to make sure I knew what I was signing up for in our relationship. He impressed upon me that music was one of the most important parts of his life and that, along with holding down a full time job, would keep him quite busy. I’ve never forgotten that conversation. Here I’d been thinking that once he finished school I’d get my husband back, to go for evening walks and cuddle together on the sofa most nights.

I’m not going to say that adjusting was easy, but it is now so long ago that I can’t think of any other way to live together. His practicing is the last thing I hear as I drift off to sleep and the nights he’s out at a gig the house is too quiet. Sometimes I have to tell him he’s been playing for over 4 hours without a break – he looks up blankly and I know that he has no idea how much time has passed.

He has, throughout our years together, had to pour music into the corners of his life: the aforementioned weekday evenings, usually long into the night and well past a respectable bedtime for most fully employed people, on Saturday and Sunday afternoons between errands and chores, the odd vacation day when he feels he must devote an entire day to a specific project. He never complains (or rarely seriously) about having to work full time in a vocation and environment he does not feel passionate about, but also feels happy about the security it bring us.

Throughout all of this I have felt strongly that someone this devoted to music deserves to have the chance to dive back into it completely and unreservedly. He’s mentioned over the years how much he’d like to go back to school for his masters, but always with the air of someone who doesn’t think he’ll ever get his wish or even how to make it happen. I don’t know if he realizes how much it is also my wish, and has been running in the back of my mind for almost as long as I can remember.

I’m not exactly sure why I’m writing this, and he doesn’t know that I have done so, as I am confident in his previous academic record and ability to do well in the application process, auditions and interviews. I only know I had a strong conviction to write this and that when I think of him, I want him to have the life immersed in music that he’s always dreamed of.

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