This is for the Insley boys- Aaron and Richard- who were in an auto accident in the early hours of Nov. 25th, 2007, near their home in Lake Elmo. Richard, 23, did not survive. Aaron, now 27, was hospitalized in St. Paul and continued his recovery in Red Wing. He came home on Nov. 11th, 2008. Aaron is stable, healthy, and receives excellent care. He remains in a minimally conscious state with the effects of a severe traumatic brain injury.
Aaron and Richard were very close and shared many of the same interests and friends. They were both avid mountaineers, having climbed Granite Peak, the highest summit in Montana, with their dad on separate trips.
Richard was a recent graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, and was currently working as a bank teller. He was engaged to be married in April and was thinking of going to law school. We share in our grief with his fiancee, Jenn, and hold her in our prayers.
Aaron was a senior at Gustavus Adolphus as a geography major, and planned to go to MSU-Mankato fall 2007 for a graduate degree.
Aaron has made an amazing recovery in the first year and continues to heal from a head injury. Our hopes are very high for his continued progress at home. Thanks for your continued letters of encouragement and support, and for all the prayers for Aaron and our family.
We made it through another Thanksgiving weekend, through the sixth anniversary of the boys’ accident. Many thanks to those of you who were thinking of us and called. With my mom still unable to get around easily, we opted out of the traditional gathering and went out to eat with Jenn one evening and my mom another. Thanksgiving Day was a quiet day at home for baking holiday goodies and working on Christmas cards. Aaron is now finished with his fall round of appointments and we will be taking our wheelchair conversion van in for maintenance on the ramp system.
We are fortunate to be having our home care visits continue through the winter—home care nurse, massage therapy, and music therapy. We have a new music therapist, a young woman with a beautiful voice and a variety of instruments. It is interesting to see how Aaron is responding to a female voice now, after a male voice over the past year. She is skillful in engaging his gaze and getting him to follow her with his eyes, called “tracking.” Even when the session begins with Aaron seeming restless or agitated, it ends with him appearing to be relaxed and satisfied. Likewise, the therapeutic massage therapy sessions give Aaron a reprieve from his periods of restlessness, and we are pleased to see him so completely relaxed, even if it is for just a few hours after the treatment.
The Christmas season is still in a process of being re-invented for our “new normal.” Tom saved a few vacation days so we have time to go out and enjoy these short daylight hours while we have help at home. We are keeping with some of our traditions, discontinuing others, and for the most part trying to stay under the radar of all the rushing around of the season. We look forward to the New Year and making plans for the Stargazing on Richard’s birthday, Tom’s outdoor trips, and hopefully some time away for the two of us.
Holiday greetings to all of you, thanks for staying with us, and our best wishes for the New Year.