1,475 songs, but just one lyric
Has anyone ever driven him(or her or whatever)self mad by repeating the same lyric over and over, both in their head and aloud, for days and days? I just wonder if I will be the first known case or if there is a syndrome with a name that I can attach to this unfortunate and most dire circumstance.
Maybe we call it the Lyrical Loop Syndrome or the Corrupted Default Frontal Lobe Data Syndrome. I don’t know, but something has to give soon to prevent my chewing the legs off the furniture and squawking like a chicken.
What I know is this: Of the 1,475 songs in my Amazon playlist, Gentle on my Mind came up in random rotation mode a week or ten days ago. (It is impossible to know precisely how long ago it was because it feels like if you cut the thing and counted the rings on it, you would find it belongs somewhere in the Redwood Forest.)
The first phrase of the song goes like this…
It’s knowing that your door is always open
And your path is free to walk
That makes me tend to leave my sleeping bag
Rolled up and stashed behind your couch
I sang those lyrics, both in my head and aloud, for days. Then Donya and I watched the documentary on Glen Campbell, the one about his farewell tour and dealing with Alzheimer’s.
That did not help!
Donya told me, at one point, the door IS open and I AM free to walk right through it if I don’t shut up with those lyrics. I told her this is hardly how I saw Glen’s wife treating him in that documentary.
I figured I better make note of that!
All jokes aside…
Seriously, though! If you have not watched the Glen Campbell special, I urge you to do so, especially if you have a friend or family member going through the incredible ordeal of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease.
A few years ago, I watched dementia take my grandfather and march him down the dark road of confusion, delusion, paranoia, and despair. It wretched from him his dignity and stole away his memories.
He and my grandmother were married 67 years when she died. Neither had ever known another lover. They were completely devoted to one another. But after dementia robbed my grandfather of the precious memories of his Nova Dean, it replaced them with suspicions. There were times you could not convince him she was gone to Heaven. He believed she had left with another man. His mind went back to some episode in his youth when he was furious with some other man whom he felt had eyes for his bright, beautiful, youthful bride. Somehow that isolated incident from his twenties morphed into a tale so terrible it made my Mom cry to hear him insist it was so.
Granddad had his moments of lucidity and they dripped with sweetness like honey from the honeycomb. As he slid unwillingly nearer the grave; however, they were fewer and farther between.
A close friend of President Ronald Reagan’s talked about what it was like to watch Reagan deteriorate as Alzheimer’s wrecked his beautiful mind.
“At first, he didn’t know me. But as the disease progressed it got so I didn’t know him.”
The Alzheimer’s derangement alters the personality and steals the person it attacks from the ones who love him or her, often replacing that poor victim with a mean, hateful version of himself. It is a horrible, dreadful disease.
I’m not gonna miss you.
Campbell dealt with the disease by denying it at first, then joking about it, and, finally, by singing and sharing his journey with the world. He left with us perhaps his most important song, the last he would ever record…
You may have just as tragic a tale. If so, God bless and comfort you. God love and hold the one you already miss.
If 1 Corinthians 13:7 was not written with the Alzheimer’s caregiver in mind, it is certainly applicable to you!
God bless you…and God keep you from getting “Gentle On My Mind” stuck in your head. If you do; however, find yourself singing or humming along, please remember: somewhere in the confusion, your loved one’s soul is still singing…
It’s not clinging to the rocks and ivy
Planted on their columns now that bind me
Or something that somebody said
Because they thought we fit together walking
It’s just knowing that the world will not be cursing
Or forgiving when I walk along some railroad track and find
That you’re moving on the back roads
By the rivers of my memory
And for hours you’re just gentle on my mind
Want to make a difference? Make a donation to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America today!