Even though the first consumer-available attempts at virtual reality were done back in the early 1990s, the idea and the tech didn’t really gain audiences’ appeal until the 2010s.

However, what if I were to tell you that virtual reality was already being predicted as early as the 1950s when Morton Heilig, a filmmaker and pioneer of virtual reality technology, wrote about Experience Theater as a machine that could stimulate all human senses to draw the viewer into onscreen activity?

While everyone and their mothers were talking about how the cinema and other media experiences would become much more engaging, there were a few who were focusing on other, more practical uses of VR. Simulated military and flight training aside, VR has proven to be very useful in the fields of medicine and mental health.

A Korean woman stepped into virtual reality to once again see her daughter who died four years ago

Image credits: MBCdocumentary

Korean television show Meeting You recently aired a segment about a mother Jang Ji-sung who lost her 7-year-old daughter Nayeon to an unnamed illness back in 2016. Through the power of virtual reality, she was reunited with her daughter and was able to spend time talking and interacting with her.

The Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC for short), the television company behind the show Meeting You, designed the entire virtual reality setting seen in the video, paying extra attention to designing Nayeon’s face, body, and voice to be as accurate as possible.

Image credits: MBCdocumentary

Their entire interaction was televised in the South Korean show called Meeting You

Image credits: MBCdocumentary

Mother Jang Ji-sung and her daughter Nayeon spent their time together talking and interacting. The two held hands, picked flowers, posed for photos, and even celebrated Nayeon’s birthday—sang the birthday song, made wishes and everything.

Nayeon made a few wishes, namely that dad would stop smoking, that her older brother and sister would not fight, that her younger sister would not get sick, and that her mom would not cry.

Image credits: MBCdocumentary

The two talked, held hands, picked flowers, and even celebrated the daughter’s birthday

Image credits: MBCdocumentary

Throughout the entire visit, Jang Ji-sung and her family, who were watching outside the green room, were sobbing and crying. The father reminisced about how Nayeon liked the green and pink round rice cakes served at the birthday party—she said she wanted to have some when she was in the hospital.

The video ended with Nayeon reading her mother a letter, which said “Mom, we are always together right? Next time we meet, let’s play a lot, okay? I will cherish and remember you for a long time too.” Then she asked Jang Ji-sung to stay with her beside the bed until she fell asleep and turned into a shining white butterfly.

Image credits: MBCdocumentary

The mother of 3 explained that she did this to help other people going through loss of a loved one

Image credits: MBCdocumentary

The video went viral, garnering nearly 10 million views with 120,000 upvotes since its publication on YouTube. While most people found it extremely tear-jerking to watch and were amazed by how positively VR tech can be used to help people grieve, others noted the potential of it becoming an addiction, of people not being able to let go and impeding the grieving process. Yet others also argued the ethics and morals behind the whole situation, but everyone involved knew the situation they were in, that it would be televised, and the issue remains situational.

Jang reportedly wears a necklace with Nayeon’s ashes placed in a charm. She explained that she did this to help other people going through loss. She believes that now, four years since the death of her daughter, she should start loving her more than missing her and feeling sick all the time.

Here is the full video detailing their entire interaction

Image credits: MBCdocumentary

Here is how the internet reacted to the heart-wrenching video…