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Son Can’t Bring Mom With Dementia To Aquarium So He ‘Magically’ Turns Home Into One
Even if she didn't remember the special evening the next day - she could watch it on video as many times as she liked.
Elijah Chan
09.16.21

Memory is for those who can afford to remember, otherwise, you can always love in the present.

This is how a family in Australia celebrated Mother’s Day with their grandma who has Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. Jason van Genderen wanted to give his mother a special surprise by converting their home into an “aquarium”.

YouTube Screenshot - Omas Applesauce
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Omas Applesauce

With the pandemic still raging in different parts of the world, isolation and lockdowns have provided limited options for celebrations.

But this situation has given Jason the chance to be more creative and think outside the box.

He shared in his video that he has been “plotting and scheming” with family members so that they can still make Mother’s Day a special event despite the illness and everything that has been happening around them.

His plan took inspiration from his memories with his parents and how they’d spend time at the Sydney Aquarium.

YouTube Screenshot - Omas Applesauce
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Omas Applesauce

“One of my favorite memories as a kid is my mum and dad used to take me down to the big Sydney Aquarium twice a year.” Jason explained in his video, “We’d sit there all day long with a packed lunch and we’d just marvel at the aquarium displays.”

Hendrika might be having trouble remembering those days but Jason was set to recreate the scene so they could all relive the memory. With his family as his “conspirators”, they pasted giant sheets of baking paper onto the windows so they could project a video of fish through the surface.

YouTube Screenshot - Omas Applesauce
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Omas Applesauce

The whole idea was to make it look like the inside of the house is one big aquarium.

“And whilst I know she’s probably not going to remember this beyond the immediate moment,” Jason conceded with a shaky voice, “the thing I would love to see her do is to smile.”

As the sun sets and the skies going darker, Jason fetches his mother whom they fondly call Oma. Hendrika, even in her old age, still filled herself with childlike excitement when her son mentioned something about a surprise for her.

They set up a bench wrapped in fairy lights and put out some snacks and “bubblies” for Henrdika to enjoy while seeing the show.

One of her little grandchildren even did his part in the conspiracy by making sure his grandmother is warm and comfortable.

YouTube Screenshot - Omas Applesauce
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Omas Applesauce

To begin the show, Jason explained to his mother how much he enjoyed their trips to the aquarium when he was younger. Then, giving his kids the cue, they opened up the curtains to reveal a window full of fish and corals.

YouTube Screenshot - Omas Applesauce
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Omas Applesauce

Hendrika’s eyes lit up at the sight of colorful species seemingly swimming inside their home.

All throughout, she could only say how unbelievable and beautiful the surprise was.

And as the show continued, she kept on telling Jason that she will never forget this moment.

YouTube Screenshot - Omas Applesauce
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - Omas Applesauce

The next morning, mother and son Hendrika and Jason sat on the lawn and talked about what happened the night before. Jason was giving hints about how they were all gathered and seated in front of the windows but Hendrika can’t remember.

When he explained how the windows looked like last night, a sulky Hendrika exclaimed how come everybody saw the spectacle except for her.

Jason assured her that she was with them, and they even have a recording to relive the moment whenever they want.

When Hendrika asked her son how they did it, all Jason could say was “a little bit of magic”.

And indeed, despite the challenges, love can still make moments magical.

Watch how this family surprised their grandmother by turning their house into an aquarium.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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