You never know how one person might change your life forever.
When Jeanie Manning and Jake, her son with Down syndrome, moved from Florida to Massachusetts four years ago, they started getting close to a woman named Kerry Bremer. Little did they know, she would come through for them in their darkest time.
Kerry was one of Jake’s special needs teachers at CASE Collaborative School and quickly learned that his single mom had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. While Jeanie had loving relatives, they weren’t equipped to meet Jake’s needs after she was gone.
So just months after they met for the first time, Kerry approached Jeanie with a moving solution: “I may be overstepping here and forgive me if I am, but my family and I would like to offer guardianship for Jake if you need a backup plan.”
The teacher recalled that Jeanie’s “eyes filled with tears” as she said yes. Then the sweet mom added, “I’ll sleep better tonight than I have in a very long time.”
Although Kerry already had three children of her own, she couldn’t bear the thought of Jake not having anyone to watch over him. In fact, she said it was a “no-brainer” to take him in when the time came.
So the two families got to know each other better, doing everything they could to make sure Jake’s transition would be as smooth as possible.
“We would take Jake to appointments together and celebrate holidays together. Jean called him ‘our son,'” Kerry said. “That must have been so hard for her, to be planning for her death, but she did a beautiful job. She was so courageous.”
Years later, Jeanie passed away on November 13. The loss is devastating for everyone who knew her, but thankfully, the situation isn’t as hard on her son as it might have been. After all, he already has another place to call home.
The Bremer’s have taken him in with open arms. Kerry recently posted on Facebook, writing:
This past Wednesday, Jeanie Manning became a ‘Queen Angel.’ She fought a long, hard, and often very unfair battle with cancer. We knew it would happen some day, but it was the last thing any of us expected this past Wednesday. As a result of her passing, we will love, protect, and treasure Jake just as we promised. He will live with us forever, and we will keep her memory, her love, her determination, and her beautiful smile alive in his heart and ours every day! We love you, ‘Queen Angel Mom.’ Fly high and watch over us every day. ‘Our boy’ will miss you terribly, but we’ve got this!
What a heartbreaking story with such powerful reminders of the love two families can share. We’re sending all our support and comfort to the Bremers during their bittersweet transition.
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