Country legend Glen Campbell’s health has been declining over the years due to Alzheimer’s. Now, his wife Kim Campbell has announced that her husband has completely lost the ability to play guitar.
And while his mind and health are fading fast, Campbell still sometimes plays air guitar:
Right now, Glen is in the late stages of his Alzheimer’s. He has aphasia, so he’s lost most of his language. He doesn’t understand much. Occasionally, he can say a short sentence — an automatic response like “I love you” or “How are you doing?” The words don’t register meaning in his head.
“But he still has his essence,” Kim says.
There are times when he still tries to tell jokes. It’s often gibberish, but it still makes Kim laugh. Occasionally, he will break into an air guitar — though he doesn’t play a real one anymore. Other times, he tries to sing.
When his daughter Ashley visits, she brings her guitar to play for him.
He sits in his rocking chair as she strums Emmylou Harris or Johnny Cash. “You Are My Sunshine” seems to be one of his favorites.
He closes his eyes and taps his foot. He likes the rhythm, Ashley says. How the sounds feel.
Sometimes, he moves his mouth and makes sounds of his own.
“With persistence,” Ashley says, “something gets in.”
And even if it’s just for 10 seconds, it’s worth it.
In a recent interview, Kim shared the importance of faith during this ongoing struggle: “Faith has always been the central part of our relationship. I’m so pleased that as Glen has entered the later stages of this illness, it’s evident that he has retained his awareness of God. That really comforts me to know that he has that sense of God’s presence in his life, that he’s not alone.”
Glen still tries to sing, but it’s mostly unintelligible. Kim Campbell added that it brings the family comfort: “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.”
Let us pray for Glen Campbell and his family during this difficult time.