Glen Campbell’s daughter Ashley was just a teenager when she noticed a symptom of her father’s Alzheimer’s disease for the first time. The family didn’t know he had the disease then, and Ashley contributed his asking the same question more than once to the eccentricity he was known for. “I didn’t think much of it, at the time,” she says.
But the issue would soon escalate. Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, and his family was devastated. He continued performing and revealed the sad news of his diagnosis to his fans shortly after he learned of it. “He was still performing and we didn’t want people to attribute any of his behavior to drugs,” says Ashley.
Campbell finished his Goodbye Tour in December of 2011. After that, his condition got progressively worse. His family helped him produce his final album, which came out in June of 2017, but he was so far gone by that point that he was unable to comprehend his latest achievement. He passed away on August 8, 2017, at the age of 81.
Back in 2015, shortly after getting off tour with her dad and realizing that he was declining quickly, Ashley wrote and released a beautiful single in his honor, entitled “Remembering.”
“I knew that there was going to be a time where he wouldn’t recognize me, pretty soon, that he wouldn’t know who I was. And we’ve always had a really special connection, so I wanted to have something that would maybe be able to reach out to him even when he can’t really understand words anymore. And that’s definitely music.”
Ashley goes on to dedicate her song by saying, “So this is a song from me to him saying that I’ll always have his back.”
In the song, she reminisces about her childhood memories of her father and reassures him that when he doesn’t remember them anymore, she will love him just the same and do all the remembering for him.
Bone for bone we are the same.
Bones get tired, and they can’t carry all the weight.
We can talk until you can’t even remember my name.
Daddy, don’t you worry. I’ll do the remembering.
This song is an anthem for daughters of fathers with Alzheimer’s disease everywhere. If your life has been touched by a parent or another loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s—and even if you don’t—this song will tug on your heartstrings. There won’t be a dry eye in the house at the end of this emotional and moving piece of music.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?