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In memory of Thomas Burket

Created by Family Of Thomas Burket

Thomas Burket

My big brother was 14 months older then me. Like most siblings, we fought a lot growing up. When I was 14 and he was 15, I had a major surgery where I had all kinds of prescriptions in the house. A lot of the older boys that Tom went to school with, that Tom (in a way) looked up to, knew that I had received drugs. They mostly wanted the Vicaden, Tylenol with codien, and the valiums; but they'd take whatever was there.They got Tom to steal and to sell them. Then, he began with the drugs. His nickname in his yearbook under his picture actually reads: Tommy "Percuset". It's a battle that was kept under raps from my family until he was 21. That is when his addiction started to really get out of control. His temperament was incredible when he was coming down. I was actually pretty scared of him, when he was on it. He was a speed talker and in a great chatty mood. He did, though, get to a point where he wanted to be clean more then anything else in the world. He enlisted in the army and went to boot camp. This is right around the same time that he and I actually were getting close. The bickering ceased a bit. The army didn't exactly work though; he managed to get people to discreetly send him pills. The struggling that my parents, me and Tom himself went through to get him back on track was almost unbearable. During the last year of his life, I don't know what happened, but he became the best friend to me that I always wanted. Despite everything, I have looked up to him my entire life. He was staying in an apartment for a little while and I would always leave my families' house on holidays with leftovers for him and anything else I thought might cheer him up. When he started staying in motels, I was over hanging out with him pretty much every other day. He would borrow money and return it with extra the next time I saw him just to prove to me he wanted to keep our relationship in good status. We talked about things that we did when we were little with our cousins, he actually would fess up to things that he had done to me and others in the past. Instead of flipping out on him, I would help make a joke out of it. It was just so nice to have him there like old times. He was always the one to call and check on me when he knew things weren't going so well. When I didn't have a computer, he had me come to his hotel and he would have the people that worked there help me out with a printer and a fax. We called his room "my office" for a while. He did my oil change in the parking lot; he was my date for my friends' party so I wouldn't have to go by myself. He was, literally, my very best friend. Then all of a sudden, things changed. He wasn't returning my phone calls. He didn't want to hang out anymore. For the last two weeks of his life, I saw him once when he stopped at my work to borrow 20 dollars and he didn't look like himself. He had lost that shy grin, and his demeanor had changed. We found out later by a home drug test that my father had given him that he had been doing heroin. I can't even tell you home many times my brother looked me in the eye when we were having beers sitting outside having our summer night talks, and he would praise himself for never doing heroin. He would rather kill himself then do heroin. On September 8th, 2008, while I was at work, I got a phone call from these two "friends" of his (these two had Tom drive them around and in return they would buy him food and help pay for his room and give him drugs. These two are also heroin addicts). She proceeded to tell me that my brother was dead. She had told the cops that she was his sister, so they thought she was their "family contact". When I tried to call the cops myself to see what was going on, they wouldn't talk to me because they had assumed that the family was informed. I had to call my dad and tell him that his son was dead. The cops did in fact talk to him though. As hard as it was for me to hear the news, it was even harder to have to tell my parents. And, even harder still to have to live with the absence of the only person I will ever have in my life who knows me better then me. My brother had hung himself with his cloth brown belt by the bathroom door in his hotel room. Right before he did it; he left an unnerving voicemail on his wife's voicemail. She was in army training in Virginia. We heard it when she got back. It didn't sound like him. He was talking very crazy. He didn't overdose, but coming down off the heroin was so much stronger then the OxyContins and he couldn't get a hold of himself. It's been almost 2 months since he passed and I think I am still in denial. I hate that this drug was introduced to him. I hate that he didn't have the strength to say no, and I hate that he is probably so mad about what has happened now that he's got a clear head, wherever he is. I know there may be better brothers out there, but he was the only one I had and I love him more then words could ever portray.

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Guest Book


1. Julie
So sorry for your loss.
2. A Friend
I can tell by your words & pictures how much you loved your brother and how much you were adored by him. Your story hits close to home. I am a little sister of a brother I love so much, who I've looked up to all my life. He has battled a prescription drug addiction and recently started dating a heroin addict. Just like your brother, he swore he would never touch heroin but now I fear the worst. I will pray for you that you find peace and comfort in the good memories of Tom. Thanks for sharin
3. Heather P
Sarah, I feel the pain that you feel every single day. Like you I lost my big brother Stephen at the young age of 24 to heroin. Not only is death the hardest thing you will ever go through, but when it's your best friend and sibling on top of the fact of them being so young, and so helpless due to the drugs. I am still in denial myself even after all these months so words can't express how sorry I am. Stay strong. "If love could have saved them, they would have lived forever".
4. Allison Kilcher
Hey Sis, Tom would be so proud of you. I know that I am. Just being around you I feel better, you make me laugh and think of positive times and that is what is going to get me through this. I just remember him bringing home all the stray animals because he knew I didn't have the heart to say no. He had a way about him. He is and always be my bear, I miss him very much. Love you Sara. Love you honey, Allison
5. Fred White
Your Brother was a great young man. I met him at the Animal Hospital when my dog had cancer. He referred to Montana (my dog) as his buddy and was with him through his illness and eventual death. He even emailed me while out on maneuvers to check on him. He comforted my wife and I and he also sent us a card when Montana died. I believe that Montana was waiting to greet Tom in heaven so he is loved and not alone. He was a very nice, respectful and great young man and I will miss him. Fred
6. Gail Foley
Sara, There are so many fleeting memories of Thomas to hold on to. He was my hero the day he saved Brian's life when they were tubing up at camp. Brian was only a toddler and he and Thomas were on the tube together (against my wishes but Bernie said he'd be fine). A big wave swept him right off the tube and I lost my heart. In a very long few seconds, Thomas lifted Brian up over his head in the water and he was just fine. Thomas had that great smile going on. I'll never forget it. Cont'd...
7. Jennifer Smith
I wanted to say how very sorry I am for your loss. I lost my son to drugs and it's been very hard on me and his family.I just cant believe the amount of deaths from these damn drugs, please tell me when it will stop. God bless you always. Much love Jennifer [Billy Wilson's Mom]
8. Gail Foley
Cont'd... He adored all his little cousins and looked like a gentle giant when he held them in his lap. Thomas was a very loving person who got controlled by a horrible addiction. That will never take away how much he was loved by all of us. He is missed so much! Gail
9. Jaynie Crist
Sara, I am so sorry for your loss. Addiction is a demon that hurts us all by stealing the minds, hearts & souls of those we love. You did everything you could for him and I promise you he knows that now and he is himself again with his "shy" smile. I lost my husband Joe to alcohol 23 months ago and the only advice I can give you is don't blame yourself. I never realized until after Joe was gone how truly demonic this disease is. My prayers for peace to you & your family. Hold o
10. Kathy Kane
Sara, you did a great job. If love could have saved Thomas, he would be here with us now. Remember that we all love YOU so much. Love, Kiki
11. Jennifer Joncas
Sara I just wanted to tell you this tribute is so beautiful and although I never met Tom I believe he knows he couldn't have picked out a better sister. You are very brave and strong in my eyes, I know you have pain and grieving but your smile and personality are priceless. You have done a big service to Tom and others that read this. Your truthfulness is admirable and you should be proud of yourself for your honesty and courage to tell your very touching story. God bless Tom...and your family.
Sorry for your loss. I lost my son Robert Winn to meth in June 2007. He dove through a window of a 3 story building, landing on his head. I understand how you feel. We need to keep telling their stories and maybe we can save another life. God Bless
13. Dorothy O'Keeffe
Hold on to those "best friend" memories Sara, they are his gift to you. His "shy grin" WAS Thomas. Always knowing more than he said, but enjoying the moment. I feel I didn't know the young adult Thomas. It's the memory of the little boy happily painting fall pictures on my deck that I'll hold dear. My hope is that your always candid words will help us and others learn to talk openly about the difficult times and support each other as we make our way through them.
14. Shannon KaneLong
Sara- Let me start with what an great sister you are to Thomas even now. The images I want to hold close to my heart of Thomas are of him holding each of my children with that grin on his face and at the other end of the spectrum Thomas sitting on my Mother's dining room table laughing as a baby and thinking here is the cutest, happiest,(chubbiest)baby in the world. We all loved Thomas and he will never leave us fully. Stay strong. Shannon
15. Tasha Daylor
sarah, I am so sorry for your loss. Mom and I wanted you to know that we are there for you when ever you need us kk and we are so very sorry kk. We love you with all of our hearts. Love Tina and Tasha
16. Dorothy O'Keeffe
You are a wonderful sister, Sara, and even in the worst of times he knew that.