Where Angels Sing: Why I Support AFSP

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February 24, 2017

Coleman, Thomas John WATERVLIET – Thomas John Coleman, 33, of Watervliet, NY passed away on Friday, September 30, 2016 after losing his long battle with depression. He died of a heroin overdose. Born in Albany on August 14, 1983, Tom was raised in Ballston Spa and was the cherished son of John R. and Mary Jean (Reed) Coleman…Thomas was a free spirit, loved life and was a kind soul to all who crossed his path. His family was everything to him and he to them.…

On September 30th we lost our son to a heroin overdose. I have asked myself, “What is the higher purpose here?” How do you go from the shallow breaths of being completely broken to one day breathing life deeply again? We don’t know the answer yet. Pain and grief are paralyzing. “There is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son that transcends all other affections of the heart.” – Washington Irving

Our Tom carried the beast of depression within. Though he laced up the gloves to fight it, he did not die on his own terms. Despite the unconditional love and support of his family, our caring, sensitive soul was not prepared to fight his disease: the depression that clouded his living. He numbed this beast with alcohol and drugs, and a second disease, addiction, raged.

There is a complicated relationship between the diseases of depression and substance abuse. The reason my husband and I support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – and the reason we ask our friends and family to donate to it – is that we know AFSP will invest in research that will teach us more about how to help those suffering from addiction and depression: research that will guide aggressive, community-based, non-punitive measures to combat the scourge of heroin use in our communities. We support the organization because of AFSP’s public policy and prevention education programs that will rouse additional funding for life-saving human services and mental-health treatment: funding that could have prevented the death of our son and so many others.

If we are serious about this work of recovery then there will be a better place, another place of no more pain: where angels sing of lives we will save.

To view or donate to the personal campaign for Thomas John Coleman, click here.

If you would like to set up a memorial fund in memory of your loved one, click here.