Thomas Bloom Raskin, a student at Harvard Law School, “had a perfect heart, a perfect soul, a riotously outrageous and relentless sense of humor, and a dazzling radiant mind,” Rep. Raskin and his wife, Sarah Bloom Raskin, wrote in a joint tribute.
But their son “began to be tortured later in his 20s by a blindingly painful and merciless ‘disease called depression,’ as Tabitha put it on Facebook over the weekend, a kind of relentless torture in the brain for him, and despite very fine doctors and a loving family and friendship network of hundreds who adored him beyond words and whom he adored too, the pain became overwhelming and unyielding and unbearable at last for our dear boy, this 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,” they added.
The family has not specified a cause of death but noted that the college student left a “farewell note,” which stated: “Please forgive me. My illness won today. Please look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy.”
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America and affect 40 million adults every year.
The student was survived by his two sisters and dozens of other relatives.
The family announced over the weekend the creation of a memorial fund for Tommy Raskin, through the Greater Washington Community Foundation.
The fund will distribute money on a semiannual basis to causes and charities championed and advanced by Tommy Raskin, such as Oxfam, Give Directly, the Helen Keller Institute, and Animal Outlook, the family said. It was launched with an initial contribution of $50,000.
The family also said it would hold a private funeral service on Tuesday. They said it would follow COVID-19 public health guidelines.
A virtual public memorial service will be held late this month.