Nick Fox

The house that became an aquarium

It is hard to watch your parents grow older. The people who raised you hold such power and presence in your life that when they start to age and need to be looked after it can be heartbreaking to watch them fade. Of course, they did so much for us as children that it is a pleasure and a moment of pride to look after them in their later years, but it doesn’t make it any easier to watch them get weaker, both physically and mentally. One man decided to create a special treat for his mother recently and it was both considerate and heartwarming.

Jason Van Genderen lives in Australia with his wife and children. His mother suffers from Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. She is 87 years old and has trouble remembering things that happened just the day before. For this reason, she has moved in with the family and lives in a separate unit in their home. When mother’s day came around Jason wanted to do something special for his mother that would honor the kindness she showed him throughout his life and be something that she could still enjoy despite her illness.

Jason remembered as a child being brought to the Sydney aquarium twice a year. It was always a big day out for the family where they would pack a full lunch, arrive early, and spend the day watching all the different sea life at play. It is something that he considers special but when he asks his mum about it she remembers little. With a few suggestions and reminders, the pictures start to form again and she can vaguely remember taking the kids there all those years ago.

For mother’s day, Jason and his kids decided to transform their house into an aquarium. They set up two projectors inside the home facing towards the windows. They then covered all the glass in baking paper so that the images had a blank surface to project on. Sitting watching the projections wouldn’t be so special but this was only an initial part of the entire plan. That night he went to his mother’s unit and asked her to come outside. The family had set up chairs and blankets in the driveway, facing the large windows of their sitting room. They had plants and trees set up in front and the projections from inside made it look like the entire house was full of fish. It looked incredible.

Jason’s mother was shocked. She said it was one of the best things she had ever seen. The next day Jason asked his mother if she remembered what happened the previous day and she had no recollection. As he told her about the fish swimming by the window she was clearly in shock and surprise to hear about it and had no memory of it taking place. While this was sad, it was to be expected. Jason had already figured this out. He filmed the whole aquarium and his mother’s reaction on video so that she could enjoy it again and again.

The video was something that he then put online and it went viral. Many remarked at how special the moment was and how creative his idea was. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a little more free time for some people and clearly, it is being put to good use. A fantastic mother’s day gift for his 87-year-old mum that the whole family was involved with. If you have a loved one suffering from a mental illness don’t forget to show them every day how much you love them. It doesn’t have to be something as big as this a simple hug or a kiss could be the touch they need to remember how much you care.