‘Aaron is not afraid’: Minnesota man lives final moments with inspiring grace


"I want to be clear as a bell with everyone: he is dying."

Nora Purmort published those words – graceful, yet blunt – Monday, at 7:56 p.m.

They're about her husband, Aaron Purmort, a young father who managed to throw his wife a surprise 30th birthday party while still in the hospital, one day after surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Aaron was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011. Nora has been tracing her husband's journey on her blog, My Husband's Tumor.

"It's not a cancer story," the site prefaces, "it's a love story. With some cancer."

They fell in love in 2010, and the next year, Aaron had a seizure at work. He was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer, and had two surgeries to remove a tumor.

But life went on. They got married, went to concerts and movies together, spent time at the lake. Aaron pursued his design career and became a fixture in the Minneapolis advertising community. In January of 2013 they had a child. Aaron was seizure-free.

Until February of 2014.

On the 28th of that month, Aaron suffered a seizure while behind the wheel, and got into a car crash that made national headlines for the kind gesture that followed.

He blacked out and was taken from the scene in an ambulance. But he and Nora later found a note in his jacket – “Your car is parked in the tobacco shop parking lot at 18th Av NE and Stinson.”

Nora posted a thank you online, not knowing who moved the car or why. It drew thousands of likes and comments.

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Later, Minneapolis Police officer Kyle Severson came forward, saying he drove it away so it would not get towed – then slipped that note into Aaron’s jacket pocket.

Nine months after the act of kindness that introduced Aaron, Nora and their family to the world, Aaron's life is ending.

A YouCaring.com fundraising page was started for the Purmorts, to help pay for Aaron's care and support his family in the months to come.

Others are supporting the family by buying t-shirts. A replica of the t-shirt that Aaron was wearing during his seizure, with the slogan "Still Kickin,' " is on sale at Cottonbureau.com.

"It's a message to the world no matter what life hands you, giving up is for wusses," says the online description. About 450 of the shirts have been purchased so far.

Proceeds from the sales go toward the family and the Musella Center for Brain Tumor Research.

Meanwhile, Nora’s writing has captured the hearts of countless people all over the world. But she is adamant that her writing is simply a "prism that helps Aaron’s light and magic reach more people."

And in these, his final moments, Aaron's light has never burned brighter.

"Everyone wants to see him. I get it. I do. And if it were really my choice I’d be like oh yeah, come on in, say good bye! But, he just doesn’t want to.

It didn’t really make sense to me at first, but now I get it. No matter how many people may surround you, death is a solitary journey. In the past few days, I have seen the man who has walked beside me for four years slowly drift onto his own path, where I cannot follow. I know, though, that when it is my turn, I’ll recognize the footprints he left for me, and I won’t feel alone and I won’t feel afraid.

Aaron is not afraid.

The end of life is important, but if you have lived well, it is no more or less important than the beginning of your life, or the middle."

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