CM . . .
. Volume VIII Number 15 . . . . March 29, 2002
No family is immune to the possibility of suicide. Remembering Tom looks at a very normal, good family attempting to deal with the fact that one of their own has taken his life. The story is told from the point of view of Tom's parents, his brother and sister, all who have been devastated, but are attempting to continue on with their lives.
Each family member talks about Tom before his suicide, how they reacted on the day that Tom did not come home, and the two years since. The impact on Tom's parents is clear as they admit that in their grief they pulled away from each other and how their sorrow made them unable to comfort each other or their children. Tom's mother states that the family was in danger of being destroyed.
The value of looking outside for help is clear as they realize that they were unable to heal on their own. Family counselling is seen as essential, and, in their case, reliance on their church was key. Each family member praises the outside support which helped put them back together individually and as a family.
Tom's father stresses that everyone deals with grief in his or her own way and how that must be allowed.
Tom's body was not found until five months after his death. Tom's mother admits that this allowed the circle of grief to be closed, especially as Tom's father half-clung to the hope that maybe his son was still alive.
The impact of Tom's death on his family is clear and the family's grief is heartfelt and very moving. Two years later, his brother still celebrates Tom's birthday and his sister admits that the sadness is surprisingly close to the surface.
The film, by closings with an update as to what each family member is doing since Tom's death, indicates that there can be hope following a suicide. At the very end, a number of suicide help agencies are listed.
Remembering Tom could be used to talk about suicide and its impact on those left behind, or it could be used to help those who have actually been left behind. This film has value in many high school classes. The length (24 minutes) allows time for viewing and class discussion in one period.
Loreto is a teacher-librarian at St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School
in Brampton, ON.
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