After Years Of Silence From Glen Campbell, His Wife Releases Heartbreaking News To His Fans
Kristin Danley 4/20/2017
For decades, legendary country music superstar Glen Campbell has wooed fans with his crooning and guitar strumming, cranking out chart-topping top hits like "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Southern Nights." Glen's music has spanned decades with love songs, toe-tapping rodeo tunes and sorrowful ballads.
But none of his tear-jerking songs could be sadder than what he's going through in real life.
In 2009, Glen's wife Kim noticed little things in her husband's behavior, things that couldn't be written off as quirks. He was repeating himself, followed her closely and would reach the point of obsession when it came to his daily chores and getting them done perfectly.
Facebook/Kim Campbell - CareLiving
Then two years later, Glen got lost trying to find his way home from the local golf course, a place he'd been countless times before. In 2011, Kim and Glen received news of his grim prognosis.
He had Alzheimer's disease. The crushing diagnosis pushed Kim to move the couple to Nashville to be closer to their children. She became his primary caregiver.
"It just takes over your life. They are losing their identity, because they can't remember who they are, but as a caregiver, you are losing your identity."
Three years later in 2014, Glen had to relocate to a long-term care facility. Since then, Kim confesses that his mental state has been deteriorating. Today, Glen cannot speak coherently and heartbreakingly cannot strum a guitar, something that's been in his hands most of his life. However, he plays air guitar and makes sounds like he's singing, Kim said.
"It's not a melody that we recognize, but you can tell that it's a happy song and he has a song in his heart."
While Alzheimer's has robbed Glen of his voice, his guitar-playing skills and his mental health, it hasn't stolen his music completely. Two years ago, he won a Grammy for his song "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," which accompanied a documentary filmed about his struggles with Alzheimer's disease.
In fact, Kim credits Glen's dedication to his music as one plausible reason why Alzheimer's didn't rear its ugly head earlier in his life. Instead, he was given more years, more time, with his music and his family, who regularly visit him now at the care facility.
"The doctors say that because Glen continued to do music it probably helped him plateau in the early and middle stages longer than he otherwise would have. It soothed him when he'd get upset, which is a great thing. I think music therapy is really good for people with dementia - it sparks your memory. They say that music utilizes all the regions of your brain at once, so it's healthy if you can still produce new neurons, that can help you maintain plateau."
Now, as he nears his 81st birthday, Glen will be releasing his final album in June. It's appropriately, yet sorrowfully, named Adios. The album was recorded after his 2011-2012 "Goodbye Tour," which also was featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary about his battle with Alzheimer's.
Glen and Kim spent an ample amount of time with banjo player Carl Jackson, bringing out the songs Glen had always wanted to record, but just hadn't had the time to properly complete. While Alzheimer's made it difficult to wrap up the album, with Kim's help, they finished it.