I’m Happy To Be Anywhere

Glen would open each show on the Goodbye Tour by singing “Gentle on my Mind” and announcing:

Hi, I’m Glen Campbell and I’m happy to be here! Heck, at my age, I’m happy to be anywhere!”

Glen was innately funny and his delivery of this line was always met with raucous laughter from the audience. Apparently many people share this sentiment with him! Although Alzheimer’s could have sent him in to depression and retreat, Glen was filled with determination to continue doing what he loved to do, surrounded by friends, family and his adoring fans.

At the end of 2012, Glen ended the tour and entered the late stages of Alzheimer’s. Today, he is in late stage six or early stage seven (it’s hard to know exactly, as the stages overlap). Time and place are no longer perceptible to Glen; he lives completely in the moment and seems happy to be there. He laughs and giggles and sings little melodies all day, whether someone is there to hear them or not. I am actually quite inspired by his peace and contentment and am striving to find the same in my own life.

At this point it is unclear whether or not he recognizes anyone. He may greet family and friends as if he’s meeting them for the first time and strangers as if he has known them all his life – but he greets everyone with a smile.

My hope of him remembering me is realized only in the rare but powerful moments of lucidity that come and go like the wind in a cruel but cherished tease. Even on the days when it seems that he doesn’t know who I am, when I nestle into his arms, he instinctively holds me just like he used to. There must be some magic to muscle memory because as I melt into his embrace, he sighs and squeezes me as if he knows I belong there and is trying to comfort me. I find incredible peace in these moments and I think he does too.

Kim Campbell and Glen Campbell for CareLiving.org

 

Although Glen becomes more and more distant each day, it seems to me that the one thing people with dementia never lose is the ability to love and be loved.

The heartbreaking journey of saying ‘The Long Goodbye’ is not where I want to be, but as long as I’m with Glen, I’m happy to be anywhere! I hope this song Glen co-wrote for the Grammy-winning soundtrack of I’ll Be Me can serve as a birthday message from him to us all as he continues his own Long Walk Home.

I love you darling! Happy 81st Birthday!

– Kim

62 Comments

  1. Thanks Kim, for the sharing a beautiful message and your heart. Much love to you both and Happy Birthday Uncle Glen….

  2. Susan W McCallum says:

    Kim, whether he realizes it or not, Glen is fortunate to have you and your daughter in his life. Alzheimer’s is not easy to live with or to watch it progress in the life of someone you love. I believe you are correct that some part of him remembers when he holds you. I’m praying for you as you walk this out for strength and love. Happy birthday hugs to Glen!

  3. Valerie Jackson says:

    Hugs to all who are comforting this man I never met but have loved since l was 14 in 1968. I lost count of how many concerts I attended of his. Happy birthday dear sweet Glen. April 22 has always been a special day and always will be. Much much love to you. God bless you today and every day. 💕💕💕

  4. Glen was always my favorite singer and guitarist. I got the album “Gentle On My Mind” as a present for my birthday. I wanted to sing and play guitar like him. I can’t carry a tune and tried group lessons, only to be told that I need to have private lessons, which I never took. My Dad sang and played guitar. He took me to see Glen playing with the Four Freshmen in Oakland in 1969. My Dad went to school with Ross Barbour of the Four Freshmen. During intermission we got to talk to Ross and he helped me get Glen’s autograph in my program book. I still have it and treasure it. I will always love and cherish Glen and his music. Happy 81st birthday Glen!!!!!!!!!

  5. Mary Hyland says:

    Hi Kim, your beautifully poignant note brought tears to my eyes. Wishing Glen a blessed birthday and wishing you and your loved ones peace and love. Happy birthday, Glen!

  6. Thank you so very much Kim for sharing this personal message with us, his fans, friends, and loved ones, I have been a fan for approximatly 49 years, beginning with his “Gentle on my mind” song I fell in love with. I pray for him and you all as a family to find peace in this hard road you are all facing. I love hearing from you and Ashley on your trials, and Tribulations, along with Ashley’s music. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GLEN YOU ARE SO LOVED MY MANY. <3 <3

  7. I hope some day that you will write a book, Kim. You have much to share concerning both your life with Glen before, and the journey through this process.

  8. Robin Arbold says:

    Love you guys, Kim! ❤❤

  9. Beautiful, God Bless you all……….I love your insights, they resonate so much with things I went through taking care of my Mom for 12 years through her journey with Alzheimers. Thank you all for bringing more awareness for this disease and doing all you can for those going through it.

  10. Cindy Gilmore-Ulrich says:

    Happy Birthday Glen! I too, have loved you since I was just a kid and always followed you, your t.v. appearances, and music. Many fond memories growing up and buying and listening to your records. God Bless! Thanks for all the happy, wonderful memories! I will cherish them forever.

  11. Illene West says:

    Love Glen! Happy Birthday!

  12. Thank you for sharing. It is a horrible disease and extremely difficult to handle

  13. Rita Sophia says:

    I truly admire Kim….having worked with Alzheimer’s patients for 30 years….I know all there is to know of how heartbreaking that terrible disease is…not only for the patient, but also for the families around them. It is incredible the amount of sacrifices it takes to with someone who is suffering from this disease, the toll it takes, and the pain of no longer being recognized by them, no longer being able to live with them without a plethora of helpers, and another plethora of ways to get around the memory loss and often very resistive and combative behaviors we KNOW are not part of their personality, but part of the disease process, and to try not to take it personally, and allow them to live with some dignity left, and help them without humiliate them…and not feeling guilty for having to make decisions for them. My hat is off to Kim and the Campbell family.

  14. cecelia petrak says:

    Dementia is so hard and when you see or feel a glimmer of the person….a touch, smile or words of clarity. Even for a moment, it is a gift. Glen is lucky to have you and his family to love and give love. And it really does put you “in the moment” when you see life through their eyes.

  15. Kathy Paysen says:

    Love understands love. The highest form of love is not sexual, it is the unconditional spirit that finds joy in each moment. What a tender story, what a beautiful romance. Thanks for giving us a close-up and personal account of true love. You are beautiful Kim and so is our Glen. Happy Birthday dear heart! Keep singing! ❤️❤️🌿

  16. BEAUTIFUL!!

  17. Jeanne Burns says:

    Thank you for sharing Kim. It’s called the long Good by for a reason. It’s the hardest thing to see your loved ones go through. Just enter his world as long as he’s here and you will have no regrets! Happy Birthday Glen!!

  18. Rebecca Nicholas says:

    Glen was one of my favorite entertainers. I finally got to go to one of his concerts. When he was doing his last tours. I saw it in the paper and said I want to go. I am so glad I got to go to his concert. When I was younger I even joined his fan club.

  19. Bonnie Wojtas says:

    Thanks Kim. My husband is no 73 & in his 4th year of Lewy Body Dementia. He is still functional. But his day is getting shorter & shorter. It IS so hard to watch your loved one slip away inch by inch. I am so glad that God walks with us on this journey. He gives such peace at times when there should not peace. Hugs to you & prayers.

  20. Beautiful tribute to a great musician — who, it turned out, was a very interesting and touching personality. I’d have loved to have met him……but the closest was a chance drive through “De-Light” Arkansas on a road trip up to the Diamond state park….

  21. Oh my, not able to believe Glen is 81. I remember all the concerts that I was able to attend. Saw him once in Branson, in Laughlin,and many times in Vegas. I too have all his music. He is my favorite musician. He could play, sing any genre of music-incredible. It is hard to see him with Alzheimer’s and it’s affects. Please wish him a Birthday like no other. 💖🤠

  22. Happy Birthday Glen!!! I’m sure if you could be anywhere, you’d rather be home. God bless you.

  23. Sad, beautiful and so sweet, Nancy

  24. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GLEN, YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ONE OF MY FAVORITE COUNTRY SINGERS. SUCH A TOUCHING STORY. BEAUTIFUL SONG,.

  25. Kim, your courage and transparency just amaze me. It’s not just that you are letting us in on the journey (so inspiring as I watch my mom leave me slowly, but surely), it’s that you have such a powerful way of expressing yourself. This post, wow. So beautifully, lovingly, hopefully written.

    Thank you for sharing the things you do. You are defeating the stigma and changing everything for the treasured people who live with Alzheimer’s and the blessed people who love them and care for them. Thank you.

    Happy Birthday to Glen, whose voice and songs are intrinsic to the soundtrack of my life!

  26. Robert Dicks says:

    Beautifully written piece. Happy Birthday to a great musician.

  27. Praying for strength for you and yours. I was moms caregiver for years and it almost did me in but she always had a big smile for me and ‘I love you’ whether she knew me or not. I know it is hard for his kids as well. My sons had/have it on both sides of grandparents and so hard to see the recognition slip away. Thank you for bringing this into the mainstream. We need more care homes with additional highly trained memory care beds here in Nashville and Middle Tennessee that are affordable. Maybe though your efforts and Glen’s story we will see progress.

  28. Happy Birthday Glen! I know somehow you are feeling the love for you and your family from across the globe. Kim, this was just so beautifully written I felt every word.

  29. Happy Birthday Glenn

  30. Cyndi Flowers says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful song Kim. I lost my dad this past summer after 14 years of watching him leave us more and more each day. Thankfully the person doesn’t know what is happening to them, only we the love ones have to suffer through these changes. I felt so helpless, I couldn’t stop it. All we can do is make sure they have the dignified care they deserve. Bless you and your family as you make this journey with Glen. Belated happy birthday!

  31. Have a lovely day with him, Kim

  32. JoAnn Nicholls says:

    God bless you Kim. I’ve been thinking about Mr. Campbell and hoping he is comfortable. My prayers are with you, your children and every family struggling with this disease.

  33. Cathy Klein says:

    Celebrate this beautiful day because being anywhere is somewhere to family, friends and your many fans! Thank you Kim and Ashley for sharing Glen us. Many of us have made the same wretched journey, some of us more than once. God Bless You.

  34. Glenn knows how blessed he is to have such a devoted wife. May God bless both you and Glenn. One of the best ever.

  35. Mary Predmore says:

    Thank you both so much! I’m in awe. Thank you for sharing this journey. I’m inspired by the positivity you continue to display in what must be your darkest hours. I’ve shed many a tear since the announcement before the goodbye tour. Glen and his music are a treasure, and your outreach and education regarding Alzheimer’s is to be commended. Happy Birthday Glen, and hugs to you all. You are appreciated!

  36. Happy birthday Glen! Thank you for all of the memories. To KIm: There will be days he will remember and time periods of his life that mattered the most. It won’t be as often as you would like, but cherish the time you have with him whether a good day or not. I was never really sure what the day would bring caring for my mother but there would be something she would do or say that made me glad I was there for her. She rarely was the person I knew as mom, but it was a different dimension of her. She knew she was loved and cared about as I am sure Glen feels whether he can express it or not.
    Take care and God Bless.

  37. Louise Houle says:

    Happy Birthday Glen your my inspiration God Bless in your journey

  38. Carol Gilbert says:

    Thank You Kim for sharing your love for your husband. I can remember my Son Byron running to the television saying “Theres Den Tambell ” when he was three. He is now 50 , and has always loved to hear Glenn sing. I just returned home from visiting my husband who has dementia. I know what you mean, when I embrace him, the love that flows between us I just know will always be there. May God bless you every day with special memories

  39. Juli VanDelinder says:

    Your words bring tears to my eyes. Praying for Glen, you and the rest of his family during this very difficult time. Happy birthday to one of my all time favorite entertainers, guitar players, and an honest and godly man❣😪💔

  40. How lucky for both of you to have this kind of love!

  41. even in our darkest christ is our light he is in the room with glen australia sends love my mum just passed from the flu she was a hug fan i pray for all of you kim when my mum just passed your words helped me thank you god bless chris

  42. Mary Ann sullivan says:

    God bless you and your family. Please give glen a hug from one of his favorite fans. Every day is a gift.

  43. Dear Kim and all of Glen’s family,
    My earliest musical memories are all about Glen. My father was a huge fan and I recall him allowing me to lift the tone arm up from the record so that he could backtrack to get all the words down from “Gentle On My Mind”. It is still one of my favorite recordings. I had tickets to Glen’s last scheduled concert at The Ryman, and although I live here in Vermont, I would have eagerly made the trip to hear him. Sadly, that concert never happened. But, given that my mother also suffered with Alzheimer’s Disease, I understand its complexities and the moments of fleeting then fading awareness. As you move through this journey, may the moments of grace and peace increase for him and for you. In whatever way they reveal themselves to you, I wish you serenity and the joy your many memories hold for you. He is and will always be one of a kind and much beloved.

  44. Rev. David Lippert says:

    My late mother worked with EMR Children in Bowling Green, Ohio. She went to a large meeting somewhere in either Toledo or Columbus Ohio where Glen was the entertainment. Mom just could not get over how well he sang “To Dream The Impossible Dream” for the care givers, teachers, and children present. Thank you Glen for inspiring those who care for others. Happy and blessed birthday. Will be praying for you and your family!

  45. Linda Jenks says:

    As a past caregiver for my grandparents and both parents I believe God chose all of those who have been in this position for our strength.
    As a young model working in the ski industry a friend and comedian Lonnie Short introduced Mr. Campbell. He was delightful gentleman.
    Watching Glenn’s last tour brought joy and sadness. Millions miss him. He is in the prayers of many as is yourself Kim and your family and friends.
    I wish Mr. Campbell a peaceful day. One where in his soul is in peace and joy.
    Respectfully,
    Linda Jenks
    Spokane,Wa

  46. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you both. Amen.

  47. Kathleen Guth says:

    This brings tears to my eyes. Thx Kim for keeping him forever on our minds and in our hearts. So miss seeing him. He is so very lucky to have you and your beautiful family and friends. God bless you all. My Mom has dementia and I know how hard it is.

  48. Dear Kim (and Ashley), I have watched “I’ll Be Me” numerous times. It has special meaning to my wife & me because for the last SEVEN years, we have been “live-in 24/7” caregivers for her Mom, who is 91 also suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. We moved into their little two bedroom home to care for her in order to “honor” a Mom & Dad who did a wonderful job raising three incredible daughters (my wife being their first). As I sit and watch “I’ll Be Me,” we sometimes laugh along with you, sometimes we cry right along with you … because we fully understand what you’ve all gone through … and we can SO identify with it all! I have been extremely impressed with watching you and Ashley so gently “cover” for Glen when he was having difficulty … and “honor” him and do all you can “gently” so he would not be embarrassed in awkward situations. As a family, this has been our desire for “Mom” as well … thank you for setting the right example. I knew of no other way to say “Thank You” and let you know … you have done well, in my opinion. Thanks for your willingness (and Glen’s of course) to become vulnerable and transparent and let the “real” issues of this dreadful disease be seen by others. We, for some others also going through the same battles you are … appreciate your candidness!
    Thanks, once again,
    Tim & Nancy St.Clair

  49. Debbie Gibson says:

    My Mom has been living with dimentia with the decline being at it’s worst in the last three years. She doesn’ remember any of us but still finds comfort in the music I play for her at every visit. In the beginning it was hard for her because she stayed behind and had to watch us leave. Now it’s harder for us because she is lost within herself and has no clue who we are. it’s hard to go through this with a parent but I think is much harder to go through this with a spouse. . Much love and respect.

  50. Bill Lawson says:

    I know the feeling of living with someone with dementia. It is hard to see someone lose memory of everyone and everything that was an everyday routine. I know the feeling because this person was my wife. She passed away Dec 23, 2017.

  51. Ricky David Tripp says:

    I’d like to restate the remark I made to you the one time we met in 2012 in Forrest City AR — thank you for loving this man and caring for him with a tenderness and dedication that cannot be equaled.

    I’m thrilled to have had that short time with him to share a funny story about his dad and me, messages from mutual friends and to tell him what an honor it was to open for him once….and that I loved him. He responded with a warm hug. Your words were just wonderful here and you captured perfectly the special love you share. God bless you, Kim. You have truly been God’s angel in Glen’s life.

  52. Pat Dawson says:

    My prayers are with you I have been in your place and it is the long walk home. Kim Hold onto Glenn Tight he knows your love

  53. Terry Hanson says:

    Kim, you have warmed my heart. My sweet daddy passed almost 7 yrs. ago from Lewy Body Dementia. While I knew he was slipping away from us I had to keep remembering that his brain was forgetting but his heart wasn’t.

  54. joshua beare says:

    Kim I know what your going threw, my mother passed in 2012 of alzheimers she was diagnosed at a very young age of 47 it does not get easier but in all know in your heart you were and are there for Glenn, i grew up listening to Glenn and as i hear it now it just brings tears to my eyes i love his music takes me back to my youth and how my mom and dad listened to him, one year we were in Dalhart Texas for there yearly XIT people said my father looked like Glen Campbell. miss him and mom now but in all know Glen is in my prayers and will always be part of my life. He is and awesome man..

  55. Beautiful piece, Kim. Thank you for the update. I think of Glen so often, hoping he is happy and comfortable. I am pleased to know he is. Thanks for your continued love and support of my “first heart throb”. Never got over it! Bless you all. I wish you peace and strength, and so much love and respect for your journey. Take care …

  56. Ann whalen says:

    Thoughts and prayers for your cowboy! I pray for him often. Such a terrible disease. You are an amazing wife. Glen is so lucky to have you by his side. Love and prayers 🙏❤️

  57. Patricia A. Thompson says:

    Thank you, Kim, for sharing w/us Glen’s 81st birthday and the beautiful picture of your embrace. Praying for you and your family.

  58. What a beautiful family and tribute to Glens many wonderful years of awesome music. He has a blessed life and hopefully Alzheimer’s is going to be a disease of the past. Gods blessings to you honey. Your such a sweetheart! 🌹💕

  59. Cathy Crawford says:

    My heart goes out to you Kim and the family.
    I never ment Glen but I loved him and always looked for news about him.
    God Bess you all 🙏

  60. Thank you Kim for being the strong, inspiring, God loving woman that you are!

  61. I’ve watched I’ll Be Me at least 30 times. I love seeing Glen among his loving family interact while hearing his songs.
    No one knows what you’re going thru until they are in your shoes.

  62. Bonnie wallace says:

    I have always loved to hear Glen sing. God’s giving him such a beautiful voice. I love hearing about him and your family. Thank you for sharing him with us. Bonnie wallace

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