On October 21, 2011, a car accident in Buffalo took the life of Baldwinsville mom Audrey Gleason. The accident also seriously injured Audrey's husband, Dennis, and 16-year-old daughter, Kelly.
Now, Dennis and Kelly are continuing to recover while coping with the loss of Audrey. Their accounts of the accident are hazy, remembering only bits and pieces of what happened before waking up in the hospital.
"I really didn't know what was happening because I thought everything was a dream, really," said Kelly Gleason. "But there was a certain point in which I realized this is actually happening."
Once at the hospital, Dennis had to tell Kelly, who was in critical condition, that Audrey had passed away.
"They took my bed down to the ICU for me to see Kelly and tell her," said Dennis Gleason. "So she's laying on one bed and I'm laying on the other, trying to reach each other. And that's when I told her that Mom passed away."
Both confined to hospital beds, a private funeral ceremony for Audrey was held in the hospital's chapel. Dennis and Kelly then needed to focus on their own recoveries. Dennis had fractured three vertebrae, his hip, multiple ribs, a wrist, and an ankle.
For Kelly, the force of the crash sent her body moving from 55mph to 0mph in seconds, separating her spinal column. She was also left with a broken arm, nerve injury,
fractured ribs, and a perforated intestine from her seat belt. She remained in the hospital for two months.
As Kelly continued to recover in the hospital, Dennis was released, and lived with his sister in Buffalo. He visited Kelly every day in the hospital.
Since coming back home to Baldwinsville, Kelly has returned to school, continues her physical therapy, and manages her crew team. She is determined to rejoin the team and go back to rowing her senior year. "I will be back on the team next year rowing," said Kelly. "And nobody's going to stop me."
Both Dennis and Kelly are now trying to see the positive as they move forward every day, recovering and remembering Audrey's life.
"You just think about happy thoughts, and it just gets better," said Kelly.
"You can sit in the house and cry and be sorrowful, if you like," said Dennis. "Or you can become productive. You become better. It helps you heal."