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He sings to his mom on her porch, although she doesn't recognize home anymore.

His mom has an incurable disease, but he tells her that everything is going to be all right.

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Joe Fraley has been a musician for 14 years. He enjoys playing his tunes for his mom, Judy.

Like any supportive parent, she mostly digs it. So when he started strumming his guitar on their front porch just seven months ago, his mom happily bopped to the music.


But something was different about this jam session. Joe didn't know it, but he was playing for her for one of the last times at home.

He sang: "I'm feeling so happy. I finally feel like I've got no one to fight. ... I don't have to worry anymore."

But before he could belt out the lyrics, his mom said, "I'm getting very confused, honey." And after he finished, she asked, "Now how do you know where we are?"

"Everything is going to be OK," he answered.

A few days after he sang this hopeful song, Judy was placed in an assisted living facility near their home in Monrovia, California. Today she's in hospice care, battling late-stage Alzheimer's disease.

Joe and his family were told that there's nothing they could have done to prevent the progress of the incurable disease. According to the Alzheimer's Association, the illness severely affects the memory, thinking and behavior of millions of people nationwide. The majority of folks who battle Alzheimer's are 65 and older. Judy was 70 at the time of this video.

Joe told me in an email interview:

"By the time she was diagnosed she was fairly far along. We knew something was up for years. She kept forgetting things, told the same stories over and over again, her food taste changed. ...We feared it was Alzheimer's, but we put off taking her to the doctor because you kind of didn't want to know."

Joe then moved home to help take care of his mom. Looking back, he wishes that they had known sooner.

"Towards the end, having her at our house was basically a living nightmare," he said. "She was combative and having severe hallucinations. ... Seeing my mom confused and scared is the worst thing I've ever had to go through in my life."

He tries to think about who she was before her memory began to slip. Judy had been a therapist and teacher and had worked at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and at high schools throughout Los Angeles for decades. Cool stuff. But what Joe remembers most is that matter how bad someone felt, she could make them feel OK.

After Judy arrived at an assisted living facility, Joe went to play music for her. She doesn't always recognize him, but sometimes she claps along.

Other times she leaves the room.

With almost two-thirds of American's with Alzheimer's disease being women, Joe wants other families to know that they're not alone:

"Take care of your loved ones that have the disease; give them a good diet, exercise, and mental stimulation. But also never forget to take care of yourself too. The disease can hurt the caretakers almost as much as the people who have it."

Here's a sweet flashback to when John sang to his mom for one of the last times at home:


Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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I almost didn't create this post this week.

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