“I just kept hugging her. I kept hugging her, and I just wasn’t letting go. And she wasn’t letting go either.”

Brandy Hivner was only four years old when her life turned upside down. Her mother, struggling with her mental health and addiction, could no longer look after her. Brandy was taken away and adopted by her great-aunt.

Over the course of the next two years, her mother would visit and call periodically to check in. All of that stopped however when Brandy was six years old.

Her mother disappeared; a ghost living on the streets.

It would be more than 15 years before Brandy saw her mother again.

A Heart-Wrenching Reunion Nearly Two Decades in the Making

It’s Mother’s Day 2021 and Brandy, now 23, finally comes face-to-face with the mother she hasn’t seen since childhood. It’s a reunion she has spent years dreaming about. A reunion over a decade and a half in the making.

A reunion she wasn’t expecting.

In an emotional TikTok clip that has garnered over 1.7 million views, Brandy documents the moments leading up to it.

Set to the haunting lyrics of “You Are the Reason,” the video shows Brandy in the car on the way to meet her mom. She overlays it with the caption: “I haven’t seen my mom in over 15 years. She’s been homeless my whole life. I’m on my way to see her again.”

The camera then captures the heartwrenching moment she sees her through the window, trying and failing to hold back the tears. As a mother AND a daughter, this absolutely gutted me.

“I did not wake up in the morning thinking I was going to see her today, on mother’s day,” the caption reads. “Today was God’s work.”

As Brandy walks toward her mother (who she doesn’t show to protect her privacy) the video ends.

Take a look and try not to cry:

Reaction to the Video Was Overwhelming

In addition to being viewed nearly 2 million times, the clip also racked up 157K likes and more than 1,200 comments.

TikTok users flooded the comment section with support and love. But most of all, with the reassurance that Brandy was not alone.

“Hi I know we’re strangers, my mom left me when I was 13 and has been homeless since and I just want you to know that you are not alone ❤️ God is good!”

“This made me cry I have not seen my mom in 21 years and I’m only 33 years old 😭😭😭”

“This touched my heart cause I haven’t seen my mom since I was 4 …. I’ll be 22 this year.”

It also left viewers wanting more.

In response to her viral video, Brandy posted 3 follow-up TikToks sharing details about her background story and what happened with her mother.

The Journey That Brought Them Here

Shortly after losing custody, Brandy and her mother lost almost all contact. The last time Brandy saw her mother, she was only six years old.

A few years ago, Brandy’s older sister decided to take their mother in to try and get her help, but unfortunately, the situation ended up overwhelming her. “It was a lot for her to take in, and she wasn’t ready to see me,” Brandy explained.

All that changed one fateful Mother’s Day.

Brandy was visiting with her sister and her family when their mom unexpectedly called. Her sister decided to “carpe diem” and seize the day and asked her if she would be willing to meet with them at a local McDonald’s.

Her mother hesitantly agreed.

“I didn’t really believe it, it didn’t feel real to me at all,” Brandy said. That is, until the moment she saw her long-lost mom standing on the sidewalk “My heart f—ing stopped.”

Struggling to control her emotions and “crying hysterically,” Brandy took a few moments to collect herself in the car before finally walking over to her mom.

After 15 years of separation, their emotional journey culminated in a joyous embrace that defied the odds.

“I just kept hugging her. I kept hugging her, and I just wasn’t letting go. And she wasn’t letting go either.”

Brandy Hivner

Where Are Brandy and Her Mother Now?


Today is my mom’s birthday. *Update* she’s still on the streets, calls and checks in here and there. We are still trying to help her, just keep praying 🖤 #mom #mommy #mum #fyp #prayforher #homeless #streets #godbless #happybirthday #foryou #foryoupage #fypシ #fypage #longbeach

♬ The Blessing (Live) – Elevation Worship & Kari Jobe & Cody Carnes

Two years have passed since that fateful day.

In her latest update on TikTok, Brandy shares that her mother is still on the streets but she’s continued to maintain contact with her daughter, checking in on her periodically.

And Brandy refuses to give up hope.

She writes: “*Update* she’s still on the streets, calls and checks in here and there. We are still trying to help her, just keep praying 🖤”

Addiction and mental illness don’t discriminate. Nor do they only affect the person battling them. And oftentimes, the collateral damage is great.

And yet, even in the midst of the shrapnel and destruction, love perseveres, proving that regardless of time or circumstance, there is no love like the love between a mother and her child. A love that can never be broken.

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