"Take that, Alzheimer's," Glen's music said.
February 13, 2012
Like so many many people around the world, I watched the Grammy Awards last night. My youngest daughter wanted to see her idol, Adelle. I wanted to see Glen Campbell.
Glen received a similar award from the CMA a few months ago, but there was a big difference.
The Grammys let Glen strut his stuff.
After The Band Perry’s cover of Gentle on My Mind and Blake Shelton’s Southern Nights (two of Glen’s big hits), the camera caught Glen as he marched on stage, microphone in hand.
The band struck up Rhinestone Cowboy, and the miracle occurred.
Glen was back, back from Alzheimer’s.
He connected with the crowd, cut up in his inimitable style, sang all the verses in his classic delivery.
When the music died, and the lights dimmed, before the sound crew killed his mike, we heard just a few spoken words from Glen. “Where do I go? Or do I just need to quit talking?” He was still under the spell of the music, wandering slowly back to the lostness where he now spends his time.
I don’t know what a day in the life is like for Glen now, although because of my mother’s ten-year struggle with Alzheimer’s I have a pretty good idea.
But last night was about the music. What many people do not realize is that music is one of the few things that can break the iron grip of Alzheimer’s. Research is just now catching up to what many caregivers have seen up close and personal. If you want to see light fill the eyes of your loved with with Alzheimer’s, you need to turn up the music.
Glen’s performance last night was an opportunity for audiences around the world to catch the vision of the freeing power of music. Note that I didn’t say the healing power of music. There are settings where music helps heal a person. Alzheimer’s is not one of those. Rather, music can offer a person with Alzheimer’s a brief parole from his prison, a temporary respite. When the last chord fades, the person must take the bus back to the big house.
In recent days, I have seen several reports about drugs that give great promise towards a cure for Alzheimer’s. My heart leaps each time I hear such a report, but the truth of the matter is that a cure is still a long-time coming, and it won’t result from one medical breakthrough as did the cure for polio. Because Alzheimer’s is not a one size fits all disease, it won’t be conquered by a silver bullet pill. One remedy will work for a particular group of persons with the disease, but not for another group.
It will take a concerted world-wide effort to beat Alzheimer’s. I hope I live to see the day when it is relegated to the ash heap of history.
Meanwhile, I will treasure moments like last night, when for just a few moments, for the time it took to sing a song, a person with Alzheimer’s was able to rise above the disease and strut his stuff.
Thanks so much, Glen, and may God bless you.