Dementia is a cruel syndrome that steals one’s personality in slow, steady increments.
Over 46 million people worldwide live with dementia, a progressive condition that’s caused by a variety of brain illnesses affecting memory, thinking, behavior, and ability to perform everyday activities. For many caregivers, watching a loved one slip away can be painful, but not without its moments of true beauty and love.
MJ Grant grew up with two deaf parents. Manley and Carmen Grant raised MJ and her sister LouAnn in Sanford, Maine, where the family still resides today. Using her lifetime of sign language experience, MJ is now a sign language interpreter who loves spending time with her mother in spite of Carmen’s ever-worsening dementia.
One winter day, MJ took Carmen for a car ride to the beach. When they stopped to take in the scenery, MJ recorded a special moment between them that is now going viral online.
It all started with a simple conversation (in sign language, naturally) about friends they have in common. When Carmen asks MJ who her mother is, she’s clearly confused — but MJ’s reaction is incredibly patient and kind. It can be frustrating speaking with people who have memory problems, but MJ takes every question in stride and gently guides her mother to the correct answers.
“Did I give birth to you?” Carmen asks incredulously as she begins to piece together their conversation. You can see the light dawning in her eyes as the memory comes back to her, however briefly. MJ seems genuinely thrilled to see recognition in her mother’s eyes.
MJ gently reminds her mother who they are to one another, and you can see that it’s emotional for Carmen as the pieces click together. It makes you wonder what it must feel like to catch glimpses of your life and loved ones before slipping back into the foggy recesses of dementia.
Once Carmen realizes that she’s sitting with her daughter, both of them tear up — and this is when everyone who saw this video online began to blubber like babies.
“Dementia can be beautiful,” MJ wrote when she uploaded the video to Facebook. “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.”
“People often forget the wisdom and beauty that people who are aging bring to this world. When we slow down long enough to take the time to spend with them it not only fills their heart, it can cause ours to overflow with love.”
We feel so fortunate that MJ shared this video with the world. Just seeing that spark of recognition in her mother’s eyes reminds us of what’s really important in life, and that’s love. Love never fades, even when time erases memories. Carmen still has that love in her heart for her family, and it’s beautiful when we get to catch a glimpse of it.
Watch the emotional video below, and be sure to share.
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. 💓
Posted by MJ Grant on Sunday, January 27, 2019
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