Over 44 million people around the world are facing Alzheimer’s disease. Everyone knows that this condition is heartbreaking for everyone who has a close friend or relative with Alzheimer’s.
But one daughter decided to capture the most valuable moments of her mother and spread awareness about this disease.
The first moment when a grandmother sees her grandchild for the first time is priceless. People say that the bond between a grandparent and a grandchild is the strongest one, even stronger than the one between a parent and child.
When Christine Stone found out that she was pregnant, she couldn’t wait to tell everyone the happy news. But there is one person who she had to tell the same news over and over again – her mother with Alzheimer's disease.
Christine loved the reaction from her mother every time she told her that she was going to be a grandmother.
Christine’s mother, Setsuko Harmon, is a 77-year-old woman who has Alzheimer’s disease. Christine informed her about her pregnancy, telling her that she was going to be a grandmother soon, several times within an hour. Each time, her mom reacts with a giggle and excitedly claps her hands as a sign of happiness.
“What? When? Oh good, Christine! I’m so glad!” said the old women almost every time when her daughter would tell her the news.
This was Christine Stone’s first pregnancy, and she later gave birth to a beautiful daughter.
“She gets excited every time. It would make me happy to see her so happy,” Christine said. She pointed out that she knew her mother wouldn't be alive forever, so she filmed all the reactions for her baby to see how excited her grandmother was about her.
Also, one of Christine’s main goals is to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s. She said that her mother Setsuko Harmon began to manifest the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease about 10 years ago.
“I wanted to show people, yes, it’s a terrible disease, but you can still find moments of joy through it," Stone said.
Christine is not living in the same city with her parents, but she drives at least twice a month to South Carolina to visit their parents and, at the same time, help her father who is taking care of her mom continuously, 24 hours a day.
Her father said that he gave permission to her daughter to record the video, but he said that he gets sad every time he watches the videos. It reminded him of how hard it is to have Alzheimer’s and the difficulties to live with someone you love and who suffers from it.
Harmon and his wife Setsuko have been together for more than 46 years. Setsuko Harmon was born in Japan and came to live with her husband in America. He said that her wife taught herself English. She raised their two kids – Christine and her brother, who later went to live in Japan. After that, Setsuko gained her pilot license and spent a good quality of her time flying.
“They are still very much in love,” Christine said of her parents. “So it’s been really hard for my dad to see her when she puts things from the refrigerator into cabinets and they spoil or she pulls open every drawer in the house.”
But Alzheimer’s disease isn’t the only bad thing that happened to Setsuko. Before that, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at stage 4. Cancer then spread to her liver. Doctors told her that she had only six months left to live. But somehow, Stone’s mom got away cancer-free. That is why Stone is saying that her mom is a fighter.
She said that her mom wasn’t aware that she had cancer because at the same time she was diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease. According to her, Alzheimer’s help her mom to fight against cancer. “She forgot that she was having cancer, and that really helped her” – says Stone.
Christine hopes that she will raise awareness with her video, and spread joy to all the people who are in the same situation and that have a close relative or friend who suffers from Alzheimer’s. She says that people should always take out the positive things from every situation surrounding them.
After Christine gave birth to her baby, she kept recording videos of every meeting between her mom and her daughter. Every meeting feels new for the grandmother. Christine said that her mother’s short-term memory is gone, and she may meet her granddaughter twice in a period of five minutes.
Stone first published the video on her Facebook page, but later videos got viral and got the attention of millions of people. She realized how much people are in the same position like hers. She received thousands of messages from people thanking her for sharing such lovely videos.
Doctors told Stone that her baby was having too small femur bones and that eight out of ten possible diagnoses were fatal. But everything turned out to be good since, after the cesarean, doctors told her that that baby was having achondroplasia, which is a type of dwarfism. Sadly, will require special physical therapy during her life and growing years. She will develop later compared to other babies that are at the same age with her. She will require a longer period to sit up, to crawl and walk.
Christine shared that she was scared how her mother will react to that and that she might not understand the situation. But, surprisingly, the morning when she was supposed to give birth to the baby, her mother got up earlier than her father. Her father told her that her mother fought the Alzheimer’s and remembered that Christine should have a baby that day. She got dressed all by herself and was ready to go to the hospital.
Christine said that her mother remembers perfectly one Japanese lullaby song called “Donguri Korokoro” and she sings it constantly to her granddaughter.
Christine tries to film only the good and positive moments. She says that there are plenty of unpleasant moments, but she doesn’t want to capture them and tries to forget about them. She is not complaining or feeling heartbroken since they got used to her situation. They have been facing her mother’s condition for over 10 years and she believes that God helps them by giving them the strength to carry on.
Watch the touching video here.