The Story of Tom Moore – By Sister Diana Brown
On July 17 2003 my brother Tom went to a cash point in Ancona in Northern Italy and withdrew 150 euros. This was the last financial transaction Tom was to make, and in fact the last sign we ever had that he was still alive. Ever since that day we have heard or seen nothing from Tom.
Three days before he withdrew his Euros, Tom had left home. It was a sunny day during the Summer holidays and we had all just returned from a family holiday in Cornwall. Tom had been a bit distracted on return from the holiday. The rest of us were all getting on with our lives. My mother teaching foreign students, my father always busy racing around organising a charity event, or two. The rest of us siblings had by now all flown the nest and were living in and close to London. We were, and still are a very close family.
Tom and I growing up, had been as close as it possible to be as brother and sister. There was a curious closeness that comes, from having a brother seven years before another two brothers arrived. We were the lucky products of a military family. My father a hard working Colonel in the Royal Marines, devoted his life to getting his children well educated. We moved house frequently, but were always secure in the knowledge we had loving parents and family all around us.
Tom and I were well educated. Tom, at Sherborne Boys School in Dorset and myself at Leweston, a Convent School, just up the road. I took great pleasure, in being Tom’s older sister and took him out for cream teas every Saturday. Tom was blonde, small for his age, good-looking, with a quirky sense of humour, a born actor, musical (singing and the French Horn were his talents), instantly likeable with his beaming smile and his floppy fringe. He was thoughtful, kind and never hurt a soul. Despite all of this, he found Sherborne Boys a tough school, feeling, perhaps out of his depth and struggled in later years there to make his mark.
Soon after leaving school, Tom departed to India on a Gap Year. He was full of hope and promise, but quickly became disheartened at the huge confusion that India presented to him. The drugs he found on the warm shores of Goa, gave rise to deep feelings of unrest within him. He returned, soon after, a man filled with confusion, but with so much good to give. He lived with my parents, trying to find his place in society. My parents helped every step of the way.
At the age of nineteen Tom ended up at Lancaster University studying Theology. He was a deep thinker, always kind and made friends at University. But when I went to see him, I saw a picture unfolding. His friends liked him enormously, but they recognised he was suffering from mental turmoil. He played music, he studied and he went about his daily routines, but he found life very hard. I found my brother, confused and suffering from the onset of mental illness. He left University early and came to live at home. Here, my parents embraced his every need. But it was hard, for all of us to come to terms, with a boy who had got lost on the way. My father encouraged him to become a Tree Surgeon, anything to take away the turmoil in his head.
Tom frequently went on travels, to find out more about himself. He ended up coming home, to a confusion of doctors, and medication. My family battled with the constant unrest mental illness brings, to put him on medication or let his mind rule with unruly consequence? It was a terrible dilemma for us all, particularly my parents. Tom, fought valiantly to be a normal individual but in the end, he found he could not conform. He found conventional living hard to deal with. He read the Bible to help make sense of life, he was kind and wonderful to all those around him; he fought with daily dark thoughts; he took medicinal drugs to help him, and then refused them.
My parents spent many years helping to get him back on track. In the end I think Tom knew he was not meant to live with us, in a conventional way, he knew the only way, was to be alone, and apart from us. And one bright day in July 2003, he decided to take himself away. For the rest of us it was a terrible sadness, to lose a member of the family. I spend each and every day of our lives wondering if Tom is alive and well. What is he doing? Is he happy? All we want now, is to know if Tom is alive and happy. We love him, with all our hearts and we want him back, more than anything in the World. We want to embrace him and love him, all over again.