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Thinking today of everyone who travelled from far and wide to attend Tom’s funeral, one year ago today. We, his family ,would like to thank everyone again for being there. We find it comforting to know how well our beautiful son was thought of.
Carol and Dave.
I often come back to this site hoping to find something I haven’t seen or didn’t know about Tom. I wanted to add another post myself but find it harder to put into words now – except in thinking of you all. He is everywhere and nowhere, in all our joys and sorrows and jukeboxes and quiet laughs and pockets full of loose change.
Walking next to him in the rain him taller talking about work, where we were going next and stopping to buy Regals at the newsagents in Soho
Falling out for a couple of years when we were 20 over something I can’t really remember and that we never talked about after.
Meeting him drunk outside the Odeon in Leicester square on his birthday then going for some more drinks.
Watching him with admiration when he challenged a London tour guide about his knowledge on where Charles Dickens lived
Being at the front of the line carrying his coffin
Helping bury him at the Liverpool road cemetery
Crying when he died and drinking a bottle of wine the night I heard
Going off menu and eating 100 year old egg in Chinatown
Him cooking an overcooked partridge at my house and me pretending to enjoy it
Being annoyed he never had a mobile phone for ages
Thinking he was good looking and clever
Sharing my small bedroom at home when we were 16 after a night out at Manhattans
Reading books and lending me books
Going to see Laura Viers and asking for the money based on how he ranked the performance
Meeting him the day after Wilson was born, driving home, having a beer, watching an Elvis impersonator and giving him a hug
Him writing on Amazon posting fake reviews of autobiographies
Joking that we were going to write a guide to “Life after being a celebrity” feat. Bernie Clifton & Keith and Orville
Feeling proud of him when I saw him talking to my other friends
Both of us getting jealous if other people were impacting on our night out
Him seeing me off to the train at Charing Cross after we had been out
He would get pokey when he got drunk
Watching comedy on telly and laughing at my old house
Telling me I had a “nice set up going on” the last time I saw him
Feeling sad that his last text message had self-deleted
Being a constant
Rubbish with money and always had coins in multiple pockets
Saying “Don’t you worry about me sunshine”
Tom had recently completed his PhD, and I was either very close to finishing mine or about an hour from a nervous breakdown, depending on how you looked at it. We were discussing the merits of the whole endeavour and the enormous amount of time spent on it. I suggested that perhaps medicine would have been a better option as at least the pay once finished would be commensurate with the time spent in school. His reply was that an MD was a ‘trade’ degree and that I might as well become a plumber. This naturally led to spending the next half an hour discussing the merits of plumbing both as a day to day job and as a means of securing financial security. This type of conversation happened in some form or another everyday for the unfortunately brief time I knew Tom. We’d have coffee, or lunch, or dinner, or drinks and talk about everything from American politics to the various strengths and weaknesses of denoising techniques for magnetoencephalography.
I’ll miss that the most I think, the conversations.
Tom had the rare combination of graceful brilliance and a deep connection with anyone he came into contact with. Everyone I know who met him felt a special bond, even if it was only once. He was always eager to help with a problem no matter how big or small it was. I was honoured to be his friend and be able to call him one. While my heart is heavy with the loss, I’m extremely happy that I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to get to know him. He was one of the great ones.
It has taken me a long time to write on this site, mostly because I don’t know how to put Tom, and what I’m feeling, into words. But also because I can’t help thinking that Tom would have laughed lightly at the necessary superficiality of what we write here and also perhaps been a bit embarrassed by it all. I don’t know. But I’ve gathered courage reading all the great stuff everyone’s written. And in the last few hours before his funeral tomorrow I have felt like I wanted to write something.
I only knew Tom for a short two years. But I grew to really like him over that time. I am the girlfriend of Daniel, one of Tom’s friends. Tom needn’t have made the effort. But he took the time to get to know me. I was in New York in mid-September for work and he looked after me for a weekend. One day we met in Brooklyn, he bought me a bagel and we went and sat down by the river looking at the view. He had just started to get to know these Canadian colleagues of his that he liked and we talked about that, his research, funding for research and how long he was going to stay in New York for. He said he was loving going for walks around the city. We then went on a long walk through the Jewish district in Brooklyn, him telling me all these stories about the city that he knew already. He said he was enjoying Brooklyn because you could see the light and air and was heading over there most weekends – in Manhattan he said the streets are in shadow for most of the day because of all the tall buildings. We came across a massive party of Latin Americans playing football, eating, watching and talking and we stood and watched them for a while. I then had to encourage him to get in a taxi with me to get to Brooklyn Bridge as I was already exhausted – I think he could have gone on for hours. From reading this site I now understand that this may have been a typical day’s walk for Tom. We got the cab to stop a bit before and walked along the river towards the bridge, looking at all the fancy houses, and sat again on a bench looking over the end of Manhattan. We walked across the bridge and I left him in a bookshop in Union Square buying ‘Brooklyn Follies’ by Paul Auster. I’ve been wondering if he ever got round to reading it – I was worried it was a bit too trashy for him so I hope if he did he liked it.
The following day Tom came all the way up town to have a very brief coffee with me in the middle of an event I was organising. I remember feeling so touched that he’d made the effort to come all the way there just to see me and support me with what I was doing, something we had talked about and I had been feeling quite anxious about the previous day.
Tom’s death is a massive loss. I miss Tom, the man I was just starting to get to know. But almost more I will miss Tom’s friendship with Daniel. I just can’t believe it is his funeral tomorrow.