Everyone grieves differently. It's tough to know how you might react to losing someone precious in your life, especially a child, which is why a video circulating online of a mother "reconnecting" with her deceased daughter using virtual reality technology is so heart-wrenching to watch.
Jang Ji Sung of South Korea is a mother of four who took part in a documentary called Meeting You on Korean channel MBC. The special told the story of Ji Sung and her 7-year-old little girl Nayeon, her third child who died in 2016 from an incurable disease, according to Kotaku. After focusing on the family and their grieving process following Nayeon's death, the documentary ended with Ji Sung seeing a virtual reality version of her daughter. The young girl was fully replicated and three dimensional, able to move around and interact. Her mother was given touch sensitive gloves along with her VR headset so she could reach out and touch this version of her daughter.
Before you watch the video below, please be aware that it is quite heart-wrenching to see a mother suffering grief and could be triggering for anyone who has lost a child.
In the video, the VR version of Nayeon asks her mother if she has missed her and asks her where she has been. Her mother sobs as she asks her is she is doing well, and tells her she misses her every day. It is clearly difficult for her and for her family who watch her interact with her virtual daughter from the studio.
The technology to create a virtual reality version of Nayeon was done by Vive Studios and has been watched on YouTube alone more than 12 million times since it was first posted. The internet appears to be divided on this video, with some wondering if it goes too far and perhaps exploits a mother's grief.
One person commented on a Facebook video of the moment, "This is too much!!! I couldn't do it. She's only reliving the pain over and over. Some stuff should never be done and this is one of them! Gracious!" while another wrote "I’m not a fan. It feels like reopening the door to that grief you first feel when losing a child. Not that it ever goes away. Unhealthy."
Still, some people saw it from the other side and took to the YouTube video to point out that there is no one way to grieve, and if this helps this mother, then it is worth it. "I’m still crying. Absolute respect to the team for making this and my heart is forever with the family, one person commented. "I truly hope there is closure for the family... heartbreaking." Another wrote, "While it looks weird from outside. It is absolutely a bliss for the person going through the loss. I congratulate the team for accomplishing this!"
As technology continues to shift our perception of the world around us, it's possible that it will also change the way we deal with death. Perhaps this video is a glimpse at the future we can expect.