Today I’m not writing directly about Mum but I hope you’ll bear with me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved Glen Campbell’s music and was lucky enough to see him perform on his last visit to the UK. I’m Not Going to Miss You is the last song he wrote and recorded, shortly after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2011. When you know the back story, it’s heartbreaking:
“I’m still here but yet I’m gone…”
“I’m never going to say I love you to the kids…”
but for the original Rhinestone Cowboy, there was a crumb of comfort:
“You’re the last face I will recall and, best of all, I’m not going to miss you.”
According to an article I read recently, tied to the release of a documentary about him called I’ll Be Me, Glen Campbell seems in reasonable spirits though he rarely recognises those closest to him. And if you don’t know someone, do you miss them when they’re not there?
I often wonder how much Mum is aware of her situation. Does she know what’s going on but has lost the ability to articulate those feelings, or does she live entirely in the present, unable to recall events seconds after they’ve happened? I hope (and suspect) it’s the latter. I hope she doesn’t miss me when I leave but it’s the not knowing which can be so painful.
And yet, as I left yesterday, I think I did know. As always, I told Mum I love her. She used to say it back to me but hasn’t for some time. She just smiles. In that moment, she seems happy. And for someone living with dementia, like Mum, perhaps that moment is all there is.
The photograph of Glen Campbell is copyright glencampbellmusic.com