The King Of Campbellot

The King of Campbellot - by Kim Campbell for CareLiving.org

The roles of a husband and wife can often be likened to a king and queen ruling over their kingdom. Glen often boasted that as the ‘King of Campbellot,’ he always had the last word. “Yes, dear.” Kidding aside, I enjoyed the romantic aspects of having an alpha male husband as my lover, provider, hero, and defender.

Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.”
– Song of Songs 1:4

I noticed after many years of marriage that Glen was becoming dependent on me for certain things. There were times when I would ask him to do something and he would answer me with, “Okay, Mommy.” I thought this was odd. I wondered if he was lovingly reminding me that he’d made me a mother three times or if he might be hinting that I was mothering him. The more frequently he responded to me like this, the more perplexed I became. I sensed a subtle submission that seemed contrary to the King Of The Castle authority figure that I knew him to be. One day I responded to him with, “I’m not your mommy, I’m your wife,” to which he sweetly replied, “But I’m your little boy.” Confused and exasperated, I pleaded, “I want you to be my man, not my little boy!”

The strange behaviour started making sense after we got the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Our roles were changing. In addition to being his wife, I would gradually become his mother, his nurse, his conservator, the leader of our family, and his protector. Saying, “Okay, Mommy” was Glen’s lighthearted and possibly even subconscious way of placing himself into the hands he trusted most.

Glen did not go through retrogenesis (mentally regressing from old age to infancy) as some people with Alzheimer’s do, but he did become childlike in many ways. I made sure he was never left alone and took measures to safeguard the house by locking up the medicines and cleaning products that might be harmful if ingested, removing the key to turn on the gas fireplace, keeping sharp objects out of sight, and fencing the property to make sure he couldn’t wander away. (Guns should always be kept locked away – Alzheimer’s or not!)

Now, when I hug Glen every day, I pretend – even just for a moment – that he is still my king.

Something in our embrace must speak to his heart as well, because when he wraps his strong arms around me, he squeezes me just like he used to and makes me feel like I’m still his queen. Glen is the king of my heart, and always will be.

Kim Campbell – the Queen of Campbellot


*Here’s a little bonus footage of Glen being a different kind of king!

8 Comments

  1. Bonnie Wojtas says:

    Thank you, Kim! As my husband is into his 4th year diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, & he was ALWAYS the head of our home, it is indeed hard for me to take on all of what he used to do. & I know how difficult it is for him not to be able to do those things. I don’t know how you have done it, but it is so hard for me to switch hats from care giver to wife again, if you know what I mean. Hugs to you & prayers for you & Glen as you continue on this journey.

  2. Maria Moreno says:

    You inspire me and give me strength Kim. My husband has muscular system atrophy and it is terminal!

  3. Janice Gordon says:

    Thank you, Kim. For most of my nursing career, I have cared for people who have dementia. Your post is spot on. May God give you comfort as you lovingly care for your King.

  4. Sandra Brandon says:

    I’ve been following along here since my mom was diagnosed several years ago. Glenn’s story, your experiences, “l’ll be me..” Yes, they’ll be themselves and much more. I feel sometimes like I’ve lived to see my mom go through her own childhood and adolescence…. Not a (dis) pleasure I’d wish on anyone, but I do so enjoy getting an update here and there on Glenn. A Better Place…. my favorite song.

  5. Lorraine says:

    To have so many great memories must give you comfort, such an awful condition I wish Glen peace and send strength to the Campbell family. X

  6. I watched the Documentary about You and Glen and your Family, was very informative and reminded us how much we love Glen and his talent. So sorry anyone has to go through this with a loved one, what a life changer, something no one would ever sign up for, but you have remained loyal. I have a lot of respect for You and what you chose to do with these last years. He will always be one of my favorites, and loved the Elvis bit, never saw it before, shows you how talented that Glen is.

  7. Randy Snider says:

    My wife was diagnosed with early stage AD four years ago. She currently is in an Alzheimers Special care facility and from what I can tell has very similar conditions as Glen. However, I think she is about a year behind Glen in her progression of the disease. Not to seem cast but I follow the reports of Glen’s condition as a sort of barometer to anticipate developments in my wife’s condition. I don’t want to seem uncaring about Glen’s condition…for such a wonderfully talented person to suffer from this disease is heart breaking to say the least.

    I pray for God’s comfort for both you and Glen and for everyone affected by this horrible disease.

  8. Larry Stiff says:

    I remember as a child that I would have to get up early in the morning (6:30) and my dad would wake me up at that exact time by calling the radio station to play Galveston. KBOX 1480 in Dallas. I have an 85% hearing loss bilateral, so I think all the neighbors woke up with me. He made huge difference in my life as I did not have any friends due to my disability. I just want everyone to know, Glenn Campbell is a hero and a friend to me, although I’ve never personally met him!

    You’re doing a great job Kim and as I think back on my life, he was a great friend to me when I didn’t have any! You’re truly a strong woman! I love you guys and keep you in my prayers.

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