Remembering Tommy

Remembering_TommyThrough the years we remember Tommy in many ways. We do this individually and collectively. He leaves a legacy of friendship and the recognition of the urgency and importance of taking mental illness seriously. Here are some of the ways we remember our beloved Tommy:

From a school essay written in 2002 we present a page appropriate to the historic amounts of snow Boston has received this winter, as the Tommy Fuss Team prepares for this year’s Overnight in Boston.



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