I’ve always thought of Tommy’s legacy as that of fiercely loyal friendships, and a beloved son and brother. Eleven years later it is evident how his precious life cut short by a disease of the brain and suicide has mobilized his family and friends to raise awareness and to fund research that will lead to understanding and improved diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
Each year as November 3 rolls along I am reminded of the many ways in which Tommy has saved lives and how we, collectively, spurred by his loss are saving lives and helping others.
A friend writes:
In the intervening years I have come to understand that no one person, no singular event or twist of fate, can save a life. That is not how mental health works. That is not how life works.
But losing Tommy also taught me that we can at least try to live life with no regrets. That we can be kind. That we can put the people in our lives first.
That people matter most. That we have to take care of each other. That we must be gentle with ourselves and each other. That everyone needs help.
I still don’t know how to save a life. I don’t think anyone ever does. But loving and losing Tommy taught me a lot of other lessons. And those lessons … will prove to be the most important of my life.
Never underestimate the importance of reaching out to someone who is suffering or who is in emotional pain. If someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, take this seriously. Respond with kindness and empathy and most importantly seek help.
– RoseMary B. Fuss
How can you help someone? Here are two quick reads with some ideas:
American Association of Suicidology – Know the Warning Signs of Suicide
PsychCentral – What to Do When You Think Someone is Suicidal
We are Tommy’s family and friends – many of us were blessed with 17 years of his love and friendship, others have come to know Tommy through his legacy of friendship and our recognition of the urgency and importance of taking mental illness seriously. We are working together
- To raise awareness
- To remove the stigmas
- To further the understanding of these diseases
- To prevent the tragic loss of lives cut short by suicide
We work together – with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, colleagues and others in our community to encourage individuals to seek help for themselves or those they love and to keep our young people safe.
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