I skipped hockey this afternoon because I wanted to see the documentary Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me, and it was showing only for one show in the middle of my hockey time.
I remember his tv show, and I had a bit of a crush on him. In later years, when I saw clips of his guitar playing, I was amazed. When I heard he was doing a good-bye tour after publicly disclosing that he had Alzheimer's, I had mixed feelings about trying to attend a concert. I've seen most of the performers live I've really wanted to see; he and Gordon Lightfoot were two I had somehow missed and would have been glad to drive a distance to see, but I didn't want to see him on a bad day and ending up not being able to perform, so I didn't pursue any of the closer options, which were still several hours or more away.
The documentary is an honest look at some of the things he's dealing with and his loved ones are dealing with as well as snippets from his good-bye tour. It was hard to watch at times, and I know I wasn't the only one in the small audience who teared up when he couldn't remember the names of his children or that he'd been at the Grammys where he got a lifetime achievement award. He remembered being there, and remembered what he sang, but had no idea why he was there.
The doctors talked a bit about the deterioration in his brain, and they marvelled at how the musical part of him kept going. That, for a time, it seemed to improve other parts of his brain, too. But, as we know the tide does eventually turn. The doctors were still surprised that the music stayed.
Now, i'm not a virtuoso by any stretch, but I am musically inclined. I can tell you songs come back to me that I haven't heard in 50 years, and I know all the words. They are in some deep recess, perhaps right next to my soul, and I don't need to think about it, they're just there. Same thing when I play my fife. Sometimes i'll be playing, and a tune I haven't thought about for ages just springs forth. My fingers retain the muscle memory, and I play it. I have to wonder if that's similar to what was happening with him. How even if the words don't come back, the tune does.
At the end of the documentary the audience was extremely quiet and sorrowful. I gather that most of us were Glen Campbell fans at least some point in our lives, and the documentary didn't sugarcoat this man's struggle. I was feeling rather forlorn and thought of people I knew with dementia.
I hadn't been home long when the phone rang. A dear friend called just to say hi and let me know she'd been thinking of me. I'd been thinking of her earlier in the day, too, and it was wonderful to chat. Being busy, while the truth, is still a poor excuse. We need to stay in touch with those we love while we can do so, and while each of us can be present in the moment.
I don't usually write film reviews, and this was a hard watch, but worth it.