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Letter from Ashton Keyes to His Late Brother

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

Dear Jake,

It's been seven years without you, and there's not a day that goes by that I don't miss you. You were always the better brother and son. I will always feel responsible for what happened that night, but after years of counseling and being with an amazing guy, the guilt has lessened.

I'm sorry, Jake. So sorry that something I did caused you to be no more. The last night we saw each other, you told me to grow up. That I should stop making stupid decisions. It took me a while, but I'd like to think you'd be happy with the person I am today. It didn't happen overnight, and I went to a really dark place before I got better.

I met someone, and I think you would have liked him. I'm so in love with him, Jake. He's sweet and kind. He takes care of me, allows me to be myself and the, yeah that's great. I feel like I have it all, but sometimes it makes me sad because this was the life you would have lived. A life of love and happiness.

Callum is amazing and so patient with me. He puts up with my shit, but also calls me out on it. He's there for me every day, reminding me of how much progress I make especially when there are bad days. And there are still bad days. I won't pretend that it's all easy, but with his support and my therapist, we're doing okay.

We just celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. Can you imagine that? Me as somebody's husband? I'd like to think I don't stink at it. Sometimes I think I do, especially with my studies and all, but Callum gets super involved in that area so we get to spend much time together. He works so hard at the coffee shop but always finds time to read through my papers, listen to my presentations and help me to make everything as close to perfect as possible. Although he's always the first to remind me that everything doesn't have to be perfect.

In two days I will have received my master's degree in mental health and psychiatric nursing. Sounds unbelievable, right? I was never worth shit at school, but Callum helped me to figure out why. I wasn't applying myself, but I was also studying the wrong things. I think mom's just relieved I have been focused that she isn't even mad that I didn't follow in yours and Dad's footsteps. We get along much better these days and despite how rude she was to Callum when they first met, he has a big heart and has swept it all under the rug.

Callum's convinced I can go for a doctorate program and maybe I will, but for now I can't wait to put my degree to good use, you know. I've got some interviews lined up and I'm hoping for the best. I think my volunteering over the years at a nursing home might give me the edge I need.

There's just one more think, Jake. I'm worried about your best friend Luthor. The night club's losing its steam and he doesn't seem to have the heart for it anymore, but he won't sell. After all these years, I think he hangs onto it because it's a link to you. I've always wondered...You were always so close. Jake, I hope you know I would have been okay if there was more between you two. That's all.

Thanks for being a brother and a friend. I'll always cherish the memories I have of you and strive to make you proud.



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