Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Mother's Worst Nightmare

When Jeanne and Ray Buesser’s son, Danny, died, Jeanne said it was like a road falling away from her. She was numb. She didn’t know how she would survive one day, even one hour.

Jeanne has survived both the death of her son from a tumor in his abdomen, the sudden death of her husband two years ago and the subsequent diagnoses of her other two sons, one with apraxia, the other with autism. How much can one person endure?

It was the apraxia that was so confusing to both Jeanne, Ray and many other parents, since it is very hard to detect in early stages of development. She told me that what happens is that children cannot produce the correct sounds to verbally make themselves understood and the words come out garbled. Because the child cannot phonetically break down words, there are many learning issues. It is hard for them to read and they have trouble processing. She emphasized that in most children, the intelligence level is unaffected. Her goal is to get the information out there to help others.

When I speak of Jeanne, I have nothing but praise for her courage and fortitude to make the most of the hand that God has dealt her. She realizes this is a tough road, but is determined to make it through. The comfort she gets from family and friends, the Compassionate Friends group she belongs to and from helping others learn about apraxia has been extremely beneficial.

I hope I was also helpful to Jeanne when I encouraged her to get her story published about her son and apraxia, since it is not a well-known disease at all and the public needed to be educated. The book that came about from this is He Talks Funny, a children’s book on the subject, but one that any parent can go through with their child and learn much also.

Jeanne is a very busy lady. Besides taking care of her two boys, she runs a non-profit support group for parents of children with speech impairments, is president of the Apraxia Network of Bergen County New Jersey, outreach coordinator of the Cherab Foundation (a world-wide foundation for children with speech impairments), speaker at conferences on the topic, publishes articles on Apraxia, PTO treasurer at her son’s school, president of the Learning Disabilities Association of NJ, and volunteers at a local Temple doing mailings and cooking for Feeding the Hungry.

Her latest endeavor is a book focusing on poetry she wrote through the years on her own personal journey in addition to a little about her life before her children. The book is Journey…From Darkness to Light and will be available soon. Her many poems are simple, direct and full of all the emotions that build up each day after your child dies when you feel totally lost and empty. As she says in one of her poems…her loved ones will always be with her…she knows they are safe inside her heart and mind. Those of us who have lost children understand the torment, the anguish and the incomprehensible loss she speaks about. Her comfort, she says, is in knowing that one day they will all be reunited.

Keep checking for the publication of her new book and visit her website at

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