Thursday, January 8, 2015

With Cancer Looming Over Him, This ‘Superhero’ Wrote an Obituary That Will Keep People Laughing for Years to Come


Originally posted.

Unbeknownst to a lot of us, the superhero world just suffered a tremendous loss.
Aaron Joseph Purmort passed away this week at the age of 34. Before his death, he was able to sit with his wife Nora and craft an unusual and interesting obituary. It was published, in full, in The Star Tribune:
Purmort, Aaron Joseph age 35, died peacefully at home on November 25 after complications from a radioactive spider bite that led to years of crime-fighting and a years long battle with a nefarious criminal named Cancer, who has plagued our society for far too long. Civilians will recognize him best as Spider-Man, and thank him for his many years of service protecting our city.
His family knew him only as a kind and mild-mannered Art Director, a designer of websites and t-shirts, and concert posters who always had the right cardigan and the right thing to say (even if it was wildly inappropriate). Aaron was known for his long, entertaining stories, which he loved to repeat often.
In high school, he was in the band The Asparagus Children, which reached critical acclaim in the northern suburbs. As an adult, he graduated from the College of Visual Arts (which also died an untimely death recently) and worked in several agencies around Minneapolis, settling in as an Interactive Associate Creative Director at Colle + McVoy. Aaron was a comic book aficionado, a pop-culture encyclopedia and always the most fun person at any party.
He is survived by his parents Bill and Kim Kuhlmeyer, father Mark Purmort (Patricia, Autumn, Aly), sisters Erika and Nicole, first wife Gwen Stefani, current wife Nora and their son Ralph, who will grow up to avenge his father’s untimely death.
A service will be held on December 3, 2014 at Shelter Studios, 721 Harding St. NE, Mpls 55413 at 6 pm.

purmort cancer
Photo Credit: Instagram
It’s tough to marry the gravity of cancer with a levity that copes with the disease, but it sure looks like Purmort was able to strike that balance. His wife kept track of his progress—and his humor through the battle with the disease—on a blog she called My Husband’s Tumor.
She noted how her husband fought with a smile to the bitter end:
It’s over.
It wasn’t a war or a fight. Those things have rules. This was more like Aaron getting in the ring with the Mohammed Ali of cancers, and smiling for round after round after he got his teeth knocked out and his face rearranged.
Ding.
Purmort’s story will resonate through the site and through the stories he forged, but also through his wife’s Instagram feed, where she chronicles the memories her husband left behind.
This note is something she found stuck inside his wallet—it’s the note she left for him on his very first day taking chemo pills:
I wrote this note for Aaron as I left for work the morning after he took his first chemo pills. He handled it like a champ, but wasn't feeling great. I left this on the counter next to a green juice.For our first anniversary (paper), he bought me an iPad mini and loaded an iBook that was scans of every love note we'd left one another. This one, though, was stuck in his wallet, for 3 years. For one thing, I'm impressed with the adhesive on this tiny Post-It brand Post-It. For another, I will need someone to raise our son for me because when I found this I dropped dead. Free relationship advice: buy a pack of Post-It™ notes and leave it in the kitchen. Leave each other a note. Something nice, something funny. Something tangible. I know there are more treasures like this to find, more evidence of that awesome love that will keep surprising me. #RIPBigPurm

And this post’s caption explains the significance of the turtleneck and the skirt:
Day 2. Thanksgiving 2014, our first as a family of two. There is much to be thankful for, and I'll find new things every day. Like this skirt, which @purmort spotted on the @rewindminneapolis Instagram and urgently alerted me to so I could scoop it up on the way home. Today is the first day I've been able to wear it, and even though he told me "turtlenecks will never be cool, please don't even try" I know he's nodding in approval somewhere. Purm, I'm grateful  I got to spend four years of my life with a man who had enough style and personality to appreciate and enhance my own. But turtlenecks *are* cool. #RIPBigPurm #ralphiegrams

Day 2. Thanksgiving 2014, our first as a family of two. There is much to be thankful for, and I’ll find new things every day. Like this skirt, which @purmort spotted on the @rewindminneapolisInstagram and urgently alerted me to so I could scoop it up on the way home.
Today is the first day I’ve been able to wear it, and even though he told me “turtlenecks will never be cool, please don’t even try” I know he’s nodding in approval somewhere. Purm, I’m grateful I got to spend four years of my life with a man who had enough style and personality to appreciate and enhance my own. But turtlenecks *are* cool. #RIPBigPurm #ralphiegrams
The couple’s friend was able to launch a crowdfunding campaign to help the Purmorts deal with the costs of hospice care and any other related costs. The goal was $100,000, which they have already exceeded.
On Twitter, one person explains that Aaron will be remembered in a way that only comic book fiends would understand:

Cancer may have won the war, but Aaron Purport’s memory is going to live on despite it. And something tells us he’s gonna still be making people laugh for a long time.

Watch the trailer for a documentary about Aaron and Nora’s journey: 

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