Glen Campbell. What a man! Sharing his story, baring his soul in the movie I’ll Be Me. “I’m not perfect, I’ve made mistakes,” he would say. He went on a 150-city world tour celebrating final album of the same name, deep into his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s. The only way the crowds would know the depth of the disease, was when he finished a song and would start to sing and play it again. His kids were amazing how they played on stage with him and did not stress over anything. “We already played that song daddy” said his daughter Ashley, “let’s play this song” and she would point to the teleprompter. Ashley Campbell would write a song for her father on the tour called Remembering, which in it’s own right is touching, beautiful, and a masterful tribute to her father. Ashley and her mother Kim came to Denver, at my request, and gave a speech, as well as playing the song at the Denver Alzheimer’s Education Symposium 2015. For that I am forever grateful.
Glen’s musicality stayed present with him almost until the end. His song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” may provide the best insight into the mind of a person with Alzheimer’s, sang straight from the lips of a person with the disease. A heart wrenching lyrical work of art that will stand the test of time.
I’m Not Gonna Miss You
I’m still here, but yet I’m gone I don’t play guitar or sing my songs
They never defined who I am The man that loves you ’til the end
You’re the last person I will love You’re the last face I will recall
And best of all, I’m not gonna miss you Not gonna miss you
I’m never gonna hold you like I did Or say I love you to the kids
You’re never gonna see it in my eyes
It’s not gonna hurt me when you cry
I’m never gonna know what you go through
All the things I say or do
All the hurt and all the pain
One thing selfishly remains
I’m not gonna miss you I’m not gonna miss you
Songwriters: GLEN CAMPBELL, JULIAN RAYMOND
The candid scenes in the movie where he argued with his wife Kim, and refused to bathe, threw golf clubs and at times showed serious frustration that bordered on scary, were a glimpse into the real-life drama many of us see when living with people with dementia. It was also far too real when he did not recognize his kids, and forgot he had just talked with them, (especially Ashley), showing us just how deep the pain in your heart can be when dealing with this disease. The fact that they showed us everything, raw, up close and extremely personal was beyond generous, and an open look into the stages of Alzheimer’s. The power of music is phenomenal, and shows vividly the reach it has deep into the psyche and the recall for those of us who make music a huge part of our lives.
I hope you have seen the movie, I’LL BE ME and if not, please see it soon. It’s honest, warts and all, but filled with the love, laughter, sadness, and truth of a family, that could have stayed behind closed doors, but instead showed us the pain and the beauty of this crazy disease. Thank you, Glen, rest in peace buddy. The journey is and was important, and yes, you weren’t always perfect, but you finished well.
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