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!