Watching a loved one struggle with Alzheimer’s is one of the most heartbreaking things imaginable. While most diseases have primarily physical impacts, Alzheimer’s chips away at the very things that define the people it affects. The degenerative nature of the disease means that it gets worse over time, and tragically, the very person who once made you the center of their world sometimes fails to recognize you entirely.
A TikTok user named Olivia Salza knows the challenges that come with Alzheimer’s all too well, as her father Joe was diagnosed when he was just 55 years old. In an emotional clip Salza shared on TikTok, she visits her now 63-year-old dad in the hospital to share some life-changing news.
@oliviasalzaTelling my dad who has Alzheimer’s that we’re pregnant after a 3 year fertility struggle ❤️ ##fyp ##alzheimersfight ##fertilityjourney
Olivia and her husband Nick wanted desperately to have a baby, and after three years of struggling with infertility, the couple got the news they’d been longing to hear. Olivia was pregnant, and she couldn’t wait to tell her dad.
Upon entering the hospital, Olivia asks her dad if he knows who she is – a heartbreaking question that no child should ever have to ask their parent. Fortunately, Joe is lucid. He even jokingly confuses his daughter with Nick, her husband, before chuckling at his admittedly well-played prank.
“I have a big secret,” Olivia says, swearing her dad to secrecy before unveiling her incredible news. “I’m pregnant.”
In that moment, it’s as if Joe and Olivia are having a father-daughter moment like any typical father and daughter. There is no hospital, no disease, just a dad crying tears of joy at the news that he’s going to be a grandpa.
“Oh my god” he mouths quietly before marveling at the fact that Nick, Olivia’s husband, will finally have a baby of his own. “What he doesn’t know — of the cradle of that person,” Joe says as cradles his arms, perhaps remembering when he held his own daughter years ago.
“What you’ve done for me my whole life,” Olivia says as her voice catches in her throat.
“But that’s what we do,” Joe responds lovingly.
Even when times aren’t ideal, even when life hands you challenges you never could have anticipated, dads like Joe do everything in their power to give their kids the world. Joe and Olivia’s bond is almost tangible, and though the last several years certainly haven’t been easy, nothing comes between a dad and his daughter.