Knowing Jesse: A Mother's Story of Grief, Grace, and Everyday Bliss by Marianne Leone
|October 29, 2010||Posted by Carol OHanley under Uncategorized|
Published by Simon and Schuster, 2010
Knowing Jesse: A book written by a mom about her son Jesse who had severe cerebral palsy and was a quadriplegic. Even though Jesse was not able to speak and suffered from severe seizures, he still managed to touch many lives and teach countless people important life lessons. Jesse passed away suddenly at age seventeen.
This book stirred up a range of emotions within me. I was incredibly inspired by this woman’s strength and resolve to do right by her son. Leone does a wonderful job of showing us what a special boy Jesse was while painfully pointing out the injustices existing for families of children with disabilities. Knowing Jesse will make you angry, make you cry, and make you laugh . . . possibly all in the same chapter. You will fall in love with Jesse and feel for his parents as they struggle to find him a place in society.
Although I knew from reading the inside cover that Jesse passed away, I found myself weeping as I read the chapter where his mom describes the day it happens. This chapter was so raw and real, it truly broke my heart. At the same time, she described Jesse’s spirit so effectively and lovingly, I was thankful to have read the book so I could get to know him through her words.
As a mom myself, I felt her pride in her son as well as her anguish and frustration at people’s lack of empathy and professionalism when dealing with Jesse. Although his life was filled with challenges and heartaches, he was also blessed to have such special parents who fought for him and showed him the world was a happy and loving place to be.
What touched me most about this book were the special workers and assistants who were involved in Jesse’s life. These people who completely accepted and loved Jesse were such a bright light in this book and his mom’s gratefulness and genuine love for them shone through. By sharing their love with Jesse and going to bat for him right beside his mother, they completely changed his short time on earth. It’s amazing what simple love and acceptance can do. What an inspiration to anyone reading this story.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone with a child who is challenged, or even to anyone with a child. For that matter, I would recommend it to anyone. It’s truly inspiring.