Dementia is a horrible disease—we don’t have to tell you that. The hallmark symptoms—memory loss and forgetfulness—are especially heart wrenching when it’s your loved one who can’t recognize you or really know what’s going on.
We always hear about the pain and heartache that goes along with the dreadful disease, especially caring for a loved one who has it. But in a heartwarming twist, we want to share a story about the not-so-seen part of dementia that can be kind of, well, magical.
MJ Grant is currently the caregiver for her 76-year-old deaf mother Carmen, who has dementia. Carmen, who lives with MJ and her family, was diagnosed with dementia about seven years ago, ironically during a time when she was caring for her own mother who had Alzheimer’s.
“The sad part is that she worked for a number of years and retired to take care of her own mom and ended up with dementia before she even got to enjoy her retirement,” MJ said.
After watching her grandmother and mother go through the disease, she knew that patience is a virtue. And one day, MJ and her mother were on a car ride home from the beach when they were talking in sign language.
When children got brought up, MJ decided it would be a good opportunity to try to get her on the topic of Carmen’s own children. “Where’s MJ?” MJ asked her mother in sign language.
Carmen seemed to be a bit confused by the question, and then says that she forgot when the last time she saw MJ was.
“Where is MJ right now?” MJ tried again.
Carmen responded with, “Maybe traveling? Have you met her?”
That was MJ’s chance—she smiles and nods, and starts to talk a bit more about where her mother lives, her age, who her parents are. You can see in Carmen’s eyes that she finally starts to understand what’s going on—and most importantly, where MJ is.
“Did I give birth to you?” she asks, pointing to MJ.
While Carmen looks surprised that MJ responds with a delightful nod and hug, she starts to remember the rest of her family as well.
MJ posted the tear-jerking video to her Facebook, which has since gone viral, and shared more than two million times.
“Dementia can be beautiful. Yesterday I took my mother for a ride to the beach. Taking her out of her element (my home, where she lives) can be confusing for her. Within the confusion there can be such beauty and sweet little surprises. I simply adore her,” she wrote in her caption.
MJ says that though her mother having dementia is not easy, she finds comfort in the sweet moments where she’s able to have some clarity.
“She doesn’t know who you are half the time,” she says. “She’s being reintroduced to my husband and my kids every other hour. Every other hour it’s like ‘Oh, you didn’t told me you have children! and I’m like, ‘Yeah, you wanna meet them?’ It’s really sweet.”
To see the moment when Carmen is able to recognize her daughter, even through her dementia, check out this amazing video below.
How wonderful is this moment between this mother and daughter?