This post was written on Saturday 7/16/11 in reflection of meeting the Trenum’s.
Well I arrived to the Hotel and Conference Center around 2pm EST today the first thing on my list to do was to text Michelle Trenum to arrange a meeting if possible. As if it were fate, the Trenum Family was on their way to vacation in Maine and made arrangements to go out of their way to meet up. The Trenum’s are from Prince William County, Virgina and if you have followed this blog you will know their story and how we have helped here at The Concussion Blog. Ever since I received the email from Michelle I have had Austin on my mind with just about everything I do in regards to concussions. I must say there are even times I look at my own children and can only imagine the pain this family has endured.
Gill, Michelle, Cody and Walker were in the lobby of the hotel as I walked up, as I turned the corner I saw Gill and pointed to him and I was greeted with a smile and a feeling of comfort. Michelle rose and came over and introduced herself, but before that could happen Walker and Cody both jumped in to make sure they extended a hand to introduce themselves. There was absolutely no awkwardness, it was as if I was seeing long-lost family, I was at ease, and excited to just talk about Austin and what has transpired since last year. I did not want to take too much of their time as they were on vacation after all; so I insisted on standing to give them the opportunity to leave at a moments notice. This did not last very long as Michelle and Gill suggested we sit and talk, and right in the mix was Cody and Walker both so full of life and energy. (By the way Cody and Walker have really grown up since the above picture was taken.)
The conversation was all over the place, from what Gill has accomplished in PWC, Virgina with his policy to what is wrong today with the concussion awareness or lack there of. There were a lot of stories of other parents coming out and explaining to the Trenum’s that there were times when their [other parents] kids had the same type of symptom/evolution after a head injury. That is truly a sad problem that we face with concussions, the lack of awareness. We also took time to discuss what Cody and Walker are doing in sports and how Michelle continues to work in her son’s memory to find a possible resolution to the issue at hand. It was almost a good hour that truly felt like five minutes. During our conversation I could see Walker and Cody eyeing my bracelet (We <3 Brain) and Michelle also made sure they saw it, but they knew. They too were wearing bracelets, ones that said “#14 Austin Trenum Remember The Mohawk”, that I had my eye on.
What struck me the most was the amazing smiles, the relaxed body language and the overall positivity that the Trenum’s presented. And it was ABSOLUTELY genuine; to me it was beyond a “good face”, it is bravery. The Trenum’s have nothing to hide, nor are they scared; Walker (their youngest) is about to begin football and Cody is a pretty good lacrosse player from what I gathered. Throughout the meeting I couldn’t help but look at Cody and Walker and see Austin, even though I never met him; I feel as though they are what he was and wants them to be, and I believe that makes mom and dad feel much better. Before they left I gave Cody and Walker their own We <3 Brain bracelets as a gift. As we shook hands and parted ways (Gill and Michelle are going to meet with Dr. Ann McKee tomorrow in Boston), Michelle insisted on a hug which was great and they left me with a smile, but just as they were leaving Gill took off his Austin Trenum bracelet and handed it to me. He also asked that if I believed it will help to tell Austin’s story to do so, where ever I go and do. I intend on using the memory of Austin as a teaching point and for further discussion. On the way back to the room someone must have been cutting onions…
Even though this world is now void of a great human named Austin Trenum, his family is doing their best to make sure we all know what he stood for and what his lesson is to the rest of us. I am truly blessed and touched to have met the entire family.