Do you have a friend or loved one struggling with dementia? Then you understand the cruel realities of this condition, which involves memory impairment that’s sometimes profound.
Many conversations can make your heart ache, but a precious few can actually make your heart soar.
That was recently the case for MJ Grant who is a sign language interpreter, according to her Facebook page. One day Grant decided to take her 76-year-old mom, Carmen, for a car ride to the beach, “Today” reported.
During the trip, a brief but touching conversation was captured on video.
Carmen is deaf, so the tender exchange took place in total silence using sign language.
With the aid of the video captions, it quickly became apparent that Carmen was ever-so-slightly confused. For example, she didn’t realize her own daughter was sitting directly beside her.
Grant was extremely caring, kind and patient nonetheless. She didn’t force or chide her mother in any way.
Instead, she simply asked, “Where’s MJ?” And her mother signed back that she last saw her daughter “a long time ago… Christmas. I forget.”
So Grant gently tried another angle.
“Where is MJ right now?” she quietly signed.
Her mother still appeared perplexed. “Maybe traveling? Have you met her?” she asked.
Grant merely continued smiling supportively. She gradually provided little telling details about their family, until recognition dawned on Carmen’s face.
When the light bulb went off, Mom gazed and pointed at her daughter. “Did I give birth to you?” Carmen asked, while Grant nodded and grinned.
Finally, she leaned over to give Grant an affectionate, motherly hug. “I’m so surprised,” Carmen said.
Grant’s compassionate, empathetic approach elicited other moments of clarity, too. For example, Carmen eventually seemed to suspect that Grant had a sister.
“Yes, LouAnn is your daughter,” Grant confirmed via sign language. “Oh yes, it’s the two of you,” her mom replied, nodding.
The short video snippet, which Grant posted on Facebook and YouTube, went viral. It has been liked and shared thousands of times, striking a chord with millions whose own loved ones face similar circumstances every day.
Grant’s own reaction, just like her approach, was simple and poignantly heartfelt. “Dementia can be beautiful,” she wrote in the video caption.
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