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Learning from Another’s Sorrow

Tommy Raskin lost his battle to suicide at the young age of 25—a great kid. Why?

The Sad Story Recanted

Tommy Bloom Raskin, the son of Jamie Raskin and his wife, Sarah Bloom Raskin, died at the age of 25 on New Year’s Eve 2020, at the family’s Takoma Park home. The couple remembered their son as having a “perfect heart, a perfect soul, a riotously outrageous and relentless sense of humor, and a dazzling, radiant mind.”

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Image by Tom Barrett

Tommy’s Father Talks Memories,

“On the last, hellish, brutal day of that godawful, miserable year of 2020, when hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions of people all over the world died alone in the darkness from an invisible killer ravaging their bodies and minds, we also lost our dear, dear, beloved son, Hannah and Tabitha’s beloved, irreplaceable brother, a radiant light in this broken world.”

Collateral Damage, A Broken Family,

Tommy is survived by his sisters, Hannah and Tabitha, grandparents Arlene Bloom and Lynn Raskin, and dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

Is Tommy a Look-alike of Someone You Know?

 

Tommy was an avid vegan, animal lover, and writer. He was sandwiched between two sisters as the middle child. Tommy was described by his parents as someone whose “irrepressible love of freedom and strong libertarian impulses made him a skeptic of all institutional bureaucracy and a daring outspoken defender of all outcasts and kids in trouble.”

 

Tommy graduated from Montgomery Blair High School, then Amherst College, where he majored in history and helped lead the Amherst Political Union, won the Kellogg Prize for public speaking, created and performed one-act plays with his social dorm mates, and wrote a senior thesis on the intellectual history of the animal rights movement.

 

In 2019, he went to Harvard Law School, where he pushed fellow students to engage with social problems, and he spent last summer working as an associate at Mercy for Animals, where he found a “knack for actual lawyering,” his family said.

 

In the fall of 2020, he started working as a teacher’s assistant and gave away about half his salary to help purchase mosquito nets with global charities to help save people with malaria, his family said, adding that he made individual donations in his students’ names to charities that targeted global hunger.

 

The Aftermath of Suicide: The Wound that Never Heals

Tommy’s parents described their son’s battle with depression and said that despite doctors, a loving family, and numerous friends who adored him, the pain became too “overwhelming and unyielding and unbearable.”

 

“He left us this farewell note on New Year’s Eve day: ‘Please forgive me. My illness won today. Please look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy.’”

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