Thomas Ward

Thomas Ward

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

Share this story from The INTO LIGHT Project

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

More Into Light Stories

Read more biographies from this exhibit.
Devin Hart Bearden

Devin Hart Bearden

Caring, athletic, bright, witty, attractive At 6’2”, Devin was lanky, handsome, and a natural athlete. Equally at home on a skateboard, snowboard, or when surfing, he was a pleasure to watch; so fluid and graceful. He was a good soccer and baseball player and loved hiking in nature or being at the beach, especially on the annual family beach trips to Hatteras in North Carolina. [...]
Read More »
Vanessa Marie Abbott

Vanessa Marie Abbott

Loving, caring, outgoing, always thinking of others Nessie always made others feel special and loved. At 4’11” she was small in size, but with a huge heart. She truly believed that all people deserved to be treated with dignity and respect and be loved unconditionally. She could not accept the bad things the world throws at people. She loved everyone, and they loved her back.[...]
Read More »
Michael Scott Carter

Michael Scott Carter

Creative, explorer, dreamer, comedian, philosopher Mikie could always make people laugh. If you were sad or mad or just didn’t want to, he would beam his infectious smile and there you were, laughing with him. He was also good at convincing people to do things they may have reservations about. He would turn on the charm and say: “Trust me, it will be fine.” Sometimes it was, sometimes not![...]
Read More »
Dean Ryan Cox

Dean Ryan Cox

Loving, kind, energetic, honest, mischievous Dean was a cool kid with a floppy beach haircut and a loving and somewhat mischievous personality. He loved being outdoors; fishing, skateboarding, biking, playing soccer and training his dog Cody. He also loved elderly people and kids and was kind and thoughtful in his interactions with them.[...]
Read More »

Bring an Exhibit to Your State

Interested in bringing The INTO LIGHT Project to your State?
Find out how you can make this happen.