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Rep. Raskin and wife pay tribute to late son who had ‘a perfect heart, a perfect soul’

Greg Nash

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and his wife, Sarah, opened up on Monday about the life of their son, Thomas Raskin, 25, who died last week, sharing that he held “a perfect heart, a perfect soul, a riotously outrageous and relentless sense of humor, and a dazzling radiant mind.” 

In a post published on Medium on Monday, Jamie and Sarah Raskin said their son was “enveloped in the love not only of his bedazzled and starstruck parents but of his remarkable and adoring sisters, Hannah the older and Tabitha the younger,” as well as a slate of cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles and “a cast of secondary parents who wrapped him in adoration and wildly precocious conversation.” 

The Maryland lawmaker first announced the death of his son on Dec. 31. 

Thomas Raskin’s parents wrote that he had battled depression in his 20s that “became overwhelming and unyielding and unbearable.”

“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,” they wrote. 

“On the last hellish brutal day of that godawful miserable year of 2020, when hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions of people all over the world died alone in bed in the darkness from an invisible killer disease ravaging their bodies and minds, we also lost our dear, dear, beloved son, Hannah and Tabitha’s beloved irreplaceable brother, a radiant light in this broken world,” Jamie and Sarah Raskin wrote, adding, “He left us this farewell note on New Year’s Eve day: ‘Please forgive me. My illness won today. Please look after each other, the animals, and the global poor for me. All my love, Tommy.’”

The couple remembered their son’s life starting in elementary school and continuing through his experiences as an undergraduate student at Amherst College and a law student at Harvard Law School. 

“On Prom Night, he threw a dinner party for 24 fellow students, including classmates who had no date that evening, and they all went to prom together as a group. He hated cliques and social snobbery, never had a negative word for anyone but tyrants and despots, and opposed all malicious gossip, stopping all such gossipers with a trademark Tommy line — ‘forgive me, but it’s hard to be a human,’” they wrote in the piece published Monday. 

Thomas Raskin was a second-year law student at the time of his death. He also served as a teaching assistant.

“He loved his students and they loved him back,” his parents wrote.

“Not content with giving half of his teaching salary away to save people with malaria by purchasing mosquito nets with global charities, when the semester was over and after his grades were in and the student evaluations were complete, he made individual donations in each of his students’ names to Oxfam, GiveDirectly and other groups targeting global hunger,” Jamie and Sarah Raskin wrote in the Monday piece.

Individuals and families facing mental health disorders can reach the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 1-800-622-HELP (4357.

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