Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md. and his wife, Sarah, a former deputy secretary of Treasury, released a heart-wrenching obituary on Monday, confirming that their 25-year-old son Thomas "Tommy" Bloom Raskin died on Dec. 31 by suicide.
The obituary highlights Tommy Raskin's life as an animal lover, committed vegan and moral philosophy devotee. It also speaks to his dedication of serving others during his young life, from his participation in Montgomery Blair High School's tutoring program, where he mentored his peers in English and math, to becoming a teaching assistant at Harvard University.
At the renowned college, he donated half of his teaching salary to save people with malaria by purchasing mosquito nets with global charities and made individual donations in each of his students' names to Oxfam, GiveDirectly and other groups targeting global hunger.
"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 in a Medium post.
The obituary explains that Raskin was "tortured" by a "blindingly painful and merciless ‘disease called depression,’" and that, despite a strong support network of loving family, friends, and doctctors, "the pain became overwhelming and unyielding and unbearable" for the "young man of surpassing promise to our broken world."
"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 statement concluded. "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.’"
The Raskin family will hold a private funeral service on Tuesday morning, followed by virtual public memorial services later this month. In addition, the family announced the launch of the Tommy Raskin Memorial Fund for People and Animals through the Greater Washington Community Foundation.
The fund, which has been launched with an intial contribution of $50,000, will distribute money on a semiannual basis to causes an charities championed and advanced by Tommy Raskin, including Oxfam, Give Directly, the Helen Keller Institute, and Animal Outlook.
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.