A Vietnamese grandmother living with dementia has given her grandchildren early wedding rings in anticipation that she may no longer be with them when their time to marry comes.
Pham Le, 88, handed the rings to her granddaughter, Amy Nguyen, and her sister, who came all the way from California to visit her home in Ho Chi Minh last week.
“This is my last day visiting my family in Vietnam,” Nguyen tweeted on July 27. “My grandma has dementia and this was one of the few times she remembered my siblings and I.”
To their surprise, Le prepared something that they will surely remember for the rest of their lives. “She knows she will be gone by the time any of us get married, so she wanted to gift us future wedding rings while she is still alive.”
Nguyen’s post quickly went viral, receiving more than 100,000 likes as of this writing.
“I’m sorry this is so sad, this is the most loving gift I have ever received that I thought it was worth sharing with everyone,” she wrote in a follow-up tweet. “I’ve been non-stop sobbing. I’m definitely doing this for my future kids and grandkids.”
Speaking to NextShark, Nguyen, who lives in the Bay Area, shared that her family could visit Vietnam only once in a while. The last time she went there was in 2015.
“We only have the opportunity to go back once every couple of years,” she said. “The family we visit is my mom’s side of the family and they’re always so welcoming and loving.”
Le had 16 children, but only 10 survived to adult age. Aside from dementia, her grandmother has been living with cataracts and can no longer see — but still learns French in her free time.
“My grandma is 88 years old and she’s the strongest woman I know. She’s had 16 children, but only 10 survived to adult age,” Nguyen went on. “She has cataracts and can’t see anymore. I also love that she takes French classes in her free time despite having dementia, so she knows a bit of French.”
In another tweet, Nguyen translated the card that accompanied the rings:
“The title means family and the TM2 was my grandpa’s shop in Vietnam years ago. The middle is my grandma’s message reminding my siblings and I to always get along and be united, and to take care of my mom and dad as they get older. The bottom says it’s a gift of love.”
Nguyen shared that her grandmother forgets details just few minutes into a conversation, but what matters to the family is her happiness — even for brief moments.
“Before I left, I told her that I posted a story on the internet and how there were so many people sharing and loving the tradition my grandma started with her kids and grandkids. It’s bittersweet talking to her because she forgets within a few minutes. Just telling her and bringing her a few minutes of joy is worth it all. We said our goodbyes at the end and she forgot that my family came home three weeks ago to visit her, so saying goodbye was so heartbreaking because she thought we had just come back. I thanked her for the gift and told her I loved her more than anything.”
Needless to say, Nguyen’s story touched hearts on Twitter, with many ending up in tears and sending well-wishes to her grandmother.
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