Too good for this world
When Tom was a little boy he was obsessed with Star Wars. He dressed up in costumes reenacting scenes from the movies while slashing his light-saber about. He loved creating characters and developing video horror movies with his friends. The family loved fishing, going to the beach and having EPIC Christmas celebrations together.
Tom was intrigued with Viking culture and folklore. He loved the artwork, the history and mythology and could be found sketching Viking inspired design ideas for tattoos. He could also imitate celebrity voices, like Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Steve Erwin.
Tom was funny, intelligent, well read, creative, and had a big heart. He loved animals and volunteered with a Wolf-dog rescue sanctuary. He had a desire to go to AB Tech for Veterinary Assisting, and eventually train as a wildlife rehabilitator or Veterinarian.
As a young teenager, Tom began having migraine headaches. They were so severe he couldn’t attend school and withdrew at 16, later getting his GED. He became severely depressed and was ultimately put on psychiatric medications as well as opioids, the only medication that gave him relief, but which also led to his becoming addicted. In time, he needed larger quantities than he was prescribed and started abusing other drugs as well.
Tom was a good listener and very supportive of friends, even while dealing with his own anxiety/depression disorder. He had a great deal of empathy for people going through hard times, especially those who were suicidal. Ironically, six months after Tom died, his younger brother, Chris, took his own life. Their mother believes it was Tom’s death that put Chris over the edge.
Much has changed for his parents after losing both their sons. His mother misses talking and laughing with Tom. She also misses his goodnight hugs and hearing him say “I love you.” “It was hard to see the hell he went through. I know Tom carried so much guilt and shame and tried so hard to change. It had a large effect on his self-esteem.
His mother says, “I will never be the same, I will spend the rest of my life learning to heal, and as I do, I will share my story and try my best to help others learn to live after this tragedy happens.” Tom’s parents have started an organization, to honor their sons. They are working to “find solutions to the systemic tragedies caused by poor mental health, drug addiction and the inadequate systems that are presently in place to deal with these problems.”
Thomas’ mother, Susan Ward, provided information for this narrative.
April 3, 1995 – October 3, 2017