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Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin and his wife Sarah on Monday published a heart-wrenching tribute to their late son, confirming that the 25-year-old took his own life last week after a long battle with depression.
In a note left for his family on New Year’s Eve, the day he died, Thomas Bloom Raskin wrote “Please forgive me. My illness won today,” his parents said in a Medium post.
“Please look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me,” said the note, signed: “All my love, Tommy.”
Known to loved ones as “Tommy,” the second-year student at Harvard Law School was remembered as an animal lover and passionate vegan devoted to helping others.
“Tommy Raskin had a perfect heart, a perfect soul, a riotously outrageous and relentless sense of humor, and a dazzling radiant mind,” his parents wrote.
The moving post detailed how Thomas began grappling with depression in his 20s, and how the illness was “a kind of relentless torture in the brain for him.”
Despite a large support network of relatives, friends and doctors “the pain became overwhelming and unyielding and unbearable at last for our dear boy.”
“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 bed in the darkness from an invisible killer disease 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.”
The eulogy described Thomas’ youth in Takoma Park, Md. “making mischief, kicking the soccer ball in the goal, acting out scenes from To Kill A Mockingbird with his little sister in his father’s constitutional law class.”
Born Jan. 30, 1995, the middle child was “a daring outspoken defender of all outcasts and kids in trouble” who spent hours in high school tutoring his peers.
“He hated cliques and social snobbery, never had a negative word for anyone but tyrants and despots, and opposed all malicious gossip,” the post said.
“Above all, he began to follow his own piercing moral and intellectual insights looking for answers to problems of injustice, poverty and war.”
He spent last fall as a teaching assistant in a Harvard Law justice course, meeting with his dozen students on Zoom and “finding what was precious in their work and teasing it out.”
“He loved his students and they loved him back,” his parents wrote.
The Raskins described how their son donated half of his teaching salary “to save people with malaria by purchasing mosquito nets with global charities” and spent the rest on donations in each of his students’ names to other groups targeting global hunger.
The family announced last week that they had created the Tommy Raskin Memorial Fund for People and Animals in their son’s name.
A private funeral is planned for next week.
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