Dear Rachel

My dear Rachel,

I want to apologise for arguing with you the other day. I know that I shouldn’t drink because it makes me say and do things which I don’t mean. I haven’t touched a drop since you left and that’s over with now. You have been so very good to me these last months, and I know it’s a strain with a family to look after.

You are, of course, right about Emily. You and I know that she took her life, and that she was deeply unhappy when she did. What makes me saddest is that she was so young and had so much more to see and do.

You are, however, wrong to think I don’t love you. I love you, and Ellen, very much. I am so proud of you and all you have achieved. You’re so strong and independent, and I know you are a wonderful mother. I know I have not been a good father to you, and God knows I was much less a good husband to Ellen, and for that I am truly sorry. When Emily killed herself, I was heartbroken, and also scared of my responsibility for her unhappiness. I thought I might infect the other people I loved with my destructive influence, so I avoided you and your mum at the time you most needed my support. I know now that was wrong and that I could have helped.

I’m so very tired now, and I can’t turn back the clocks to make right what I failed to do. But I wanted you to know how much I love you.

Joe

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