Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Kerry Bremer is a special education teacher. Her job requires her to exercise a lot of patience and understanding. It’s a lot of professionalism to be sure but for one student, she made an exception.

A few years ago, Bremer met a boy with Down syndrome named Jake Manning. She described the boy as “dynamic”.

Jake’s mom, Jean Manning, had terminal breast cancer which had metastasized in her brain. She was a single mom and the concern was who would take care of Jake.

Kerry knew this so she spoke to Jean.
“I called her and I said, ‘I could really be overstepping the boundaries here, but I just want to let you know that if you need a backup plan for Jake, my family and I are willing to offer guardianship,’” Kerry said.

It was a difficult but necessary topic and yet Jean, in tears, replied. “And she said, ‘I am going to sleep better tonight than I have in a long time.’” Kerry said. “Her biggest fear was what would happen to Jake after she passed.”

The Mannings had just moved to Massachusetts from Florida. Kerry had only known them a short time being Jake’s special education teacher at the CASE Collaborative School.

Kerry and her husband Dave, along with the kids, agreed to the arrangement.
Kerry knew it was the right thing to do. “I fell in love with Jake instantly,” she revealed. “I knew he would a need a home and there was no way I wouldn’t open ours to him.”

Jean passed away on November 13. After taking her son to the bus, she took a nap after a chemotherapy treatment and never woke up.

Kerry fulfilled Jean’s dying wish.
“I’m terribly sad that Jake … doesn’t have his mom to be with him for the rest of his life,” Kerry told CNN. “But I’m very, very grateful that she trusted us to take him and be with him and share our home with him.”

When Jean was still alive, she helped Dave and Kerry with Jake’s transition.

“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.”

Jake handled his mom’s death well.

“He says she’s in heaven with God and with his aunts. He knows that he won’t see her again. He knows that his new home is with us,” Kerry said. “He calls her his Queen Angel Mom.”

Kerry and Dave were named as Jake’s legal guardians and Kerry says she’s willing to adopt Jake should that prove to be the best arrangement.

It’s a touching story that’s made the rounds online. But the real hero is Jean. Despite her suffering, and she knew time was ticking, she did all she could for her son. That’s a mother’s love.