Content warning: Suicide:
"I'm not going to lose my son at the end of 2020 and lose my country and my republic in 2021," Rep. Jamie Raskin says as he presses forward with impeachment articles while mourning his son. #CNNSOTU https://t.co/ENtoAqOMMk pic.twitter.com/YkDJvMxC8t
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) January 17, 2021
I have been known to become exceptionally sweary while watching Sunday morning news programmes. The inane and out of touch utterances of some politicians drive me mad.
But today I was moved to tears by the proud and loving way in which Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin talked about his son, who died by suicide on New Year’s Eve.
He was very open about what he had been through, and spoke so eloquently about his son Tommy and what he had brought to the world. He sounds like a wonderful, community minded, considerate person who lived his values.
Four days after Tommy died, Rep Raskin and his wife Sarah wrote a tribute to him which was full of love and warmth.
Tommy Raskin had a perfect heart, a perfect soul, a riotously outrageous and relentless sense of humor, and a dazzling radiant mind. He 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.
The Raskins’ openness and courage in speaking of their experiences will bring so much comfort to others who have been through similar. There are many people who worry constantly that they will have to face exactly this situation and they often can’t voice their fears. We need to work hard to make sure that there is always space to share experiences of living with mental ill health or supporting someone through it.
It would be so easy in these circumstances to turn inwards and let bitterness and anger and grief completely consume you. That the Raskins can speak with such love, eloquence and dignity is an enormous credit to them.
Rep Raskin is one of the “impeachment managers” who will prosecute Donald Trump in his second Senate trial. To take on such a commitment in the wake of the worst tragedy you are ever likely to face in your life is quite something. As he says in his interview with Jake Tapper, you don’t say no to Nancy Pelosi, and you have to do your duty when the moment comes.
I am sure that everyone reading this will want to send their heartfelt sympathy to this family and wish them strength in the difficult times ahead.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings