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“You Are Here” – A Song From The Perspective of Someone with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

A while back, I shared a song with you written by Bakhus Saba, a caregiver who had just gone through the heart-wrenching experience of placing his mother in a care facility due to her worsening Alzheimer’s Disease. Now, Bakhus has another song to share. This one is written from the point of view of someone with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease, with music by Karen Morand, and lyrics by Karen Morand, Dale Butler and Bakhus Saba. With their permission, I have shared the studio recording and the full lyrics below:

You Are Here

God knows what’s happening here
I’m all alone in my fear
“Early onset” is what I’ve been told
I’m too young to be old

All the memories I’ve known
Are fading into the unknown
The life I lived with the people I love
Are ghosts that haunt me now
And I need to know somehow…

You are here
You are near
Hold my hand
One thing remains through the year
You are here.

I look in the mirror and what do I see?
The eyes of a stranger stare back at me
The look is familiar but something is wrong
Like an old forgotten song
Can you help me sing along?

You are here
You are near
Hold my hand
One thing remains through the year
You are here.

All that I know is this moment right now
You may be a stranger but love me somehow
In time you will get to know
Love’s hardest lesson is in letting go

One day you’ll pack up my things
I’ll leave you behind spreading my wings
Forgetting confusion, losing the pain
But I’ll remember your name
And I’ll love you just the same

You are here
You are near
Hold my hand
One thing remains through the year
You are here.Old woman looking in mirror

Bakhus shared with me that this song had a few sources of inspiration, including the novel Still Alice and the story of Jan Petersen, a former CBS foreign correspondent. He also said that the second verse came from his own experience of his mother not recognizing herself in the mirror.

Personally, my favorite line came in the second verse: “The look is familiar but something is wrong/Like an old forgotten song/Can you help me sing along?” I often get to help people sing along to songs they thought they had forgotten, and I know that music can bring back memories in other ways, too. I feel privileged to be together with people at those times.

I hope you find this song as achingly beautiful as I did. If you haven’t already, make sure you hear Bakhus’s song “Still A Child,” too.

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