Easy to say, isn't it? "I will not forget you!"
But, what if circumstances beyond your control were to take that memory away from you? What if you do forget? What then?
Taking some time to relax this afternoon, I began to hear a program on TV about Glen Campbell and his final tour and concert.
Mr. Campbell has the dreaded disease, Alzheimer's.
He is not the man he once was. His memory has taken away much of what he once knew. He doesn't even know the names of his wife, children or other family and friends. He can't name simple things that we use every day...a cup, or a toothbrush, or a comb.
But, what he does still have, lingering in the far reaches of his brain, is the memory of his music. As he began to sing at what was to be his last concert, his memory allowed him to sing - somewhat - the songs from his awesome past. Well, his memory and the ingenious tele-prompters that were installed within his sight!
Honestly, it wasn't the best of concerts; it was a "train wreck", as his daughter described it. But, he did it. And, that was that...
Speaking of the reason for the documentary, Kim Campbell said, "The more we learned about Alzheimer's, the more we wanted to shine a light on it and the more we became aware of the potential of this movie to be a catalyst for change."
Nobody wants to forget everything they know; nobody wants to forget their loved ones or the things that had once made them happy. Nobody wants to be reduced to being cared for by a loved one who they don't even know - a stranger for all they know!
This documentary had me in tears even before I sat down to watch it. As I sat at the computer, I knew this was speaking to me!
I am a caregiver...not something I asked to be! I wanted to be a wife and a mother; I wanted to spend my life and my retirement with someone who would enjoy doing things with me. Instead, this is the life we have; I am a caregiver and he is the receiver.
Well, no more than Mr. Campbell chose to "catch" the dreaded disease, my husband did not plan to either.
The truth is, he hasn't actually been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He was diagnosed years ago with Vascular Dementia that will not get worse unless he has more strokes. The fact that he has been showing signs of his memory getting worse leads me to think it is getting worse. So, when and where did these strokes happen? Or, did they? And, has "vascular dementia" suddenly become "Alzheimer's disease"?
Well, I know the next step for us is to get to the right doctor to have the tests done - again! - and have the diagnosis confirmed. Then, perhaps we can find ways to move on along the journey that is ahead.
The last song Mr. Campbell recorded is called, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You." Written with Julian Raymond, Mr. Campbell wrote this as a love letter to his wife, Kim.
You just cannot listen to this song without crying your eyes out - I know I couldn't hold them in. I was glad my back was to my husband; he would not have understood the reason for the tears.
These are the words:
"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
Your'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."
No, I don't think, in the end of it all, that he or my husband or anybody else afflicted with Alzheimer's disease will "miss you"...
Because they won't even remember.
But, no matter what happens in the life of Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, or the life of Mr. and Mrs. London...
There is one who will always remember:
Ann Voskamp says it this way: "Though we forget...You never forget us, You never abandon us, You never give up on us. You have written us, our very names, on the palm of Your hands, written even me right into You - though we forget, You remember us..."
Though we forget, though our loved ones may forget, God will always remember. He will not forget you or me.
My journey continues; my writing slows for inspiration to hit. And today, it did.
Thank you, Mr. Campbell and family, for your heart-felt documentary. Thank you, God, for allowing it to enter my heart and soul, and give me that inspiration.
Check out the website here for more information on the documentary, "Glen Campbell, I'll Be Me."