This year’s Grammy awards were especially poignant; first there was the honoring of Whitney Houston whose tragic death happened the previous day, and then there was the moment Glen Campbell’s appearance. Almost a year ago Glen told the world that he was in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease. When they invited him to the stage, I had this pang of fear, maybe he’d space out and forget the lyrics to his own songs. But he performed beautifully, no painful pauses, brought tears to my eyes. The following week he came to Phoenix; three of his kids were in the backup band, and you could feel his joy, when there was a pause the audience sang with him.
My fears about his performance were a projection of my own terrors. Getting old is bittersweet; we can appreciate our accomplishments, but we also have to come to peace with our limitations. The awareness that I was losing my mind has to be among my greatest fears. If (God forbid, ptui,ptui,ptui) I was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s, could I face that truth with Glenn’s courage; could I share my vulnerabilities that publicly, and could I find a way to come to every day with his joy
I want to get older like Glenn Campbell, to practice that kind of radical self-acceptance to:
- Own the truth of who I am now, and appreciate what I have left
- Let go of what I once thought I had to do, and be, in order to feel good about myself.
- Get out of my head where fear dwells and emphasizes my losses
- Get into my heart, sing my song as long as I can because this is where I feel fully alive
Thank you Glenn Campbell for showing me how you play your hand. You inspire me to tell my stories as long as I can find an audience… who I hope will help me when I lose my way.