Kimberly Williams-Paisley understands what Bruce Willis’ family is going through personally. Emma Heming Willis, the actor’s wife, revealed on Thursday that he has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, indicating that his condition has worsened since his aphasia diagnosis last year.
Williams-Paisley left a lovely comment beneath PEOPLE’s piece about Bruce’s illness to show her support for his family. “My mother had it as well. I’m sending my regards to his family.
Williams-Paisley and her family realized in 2005 that her mother, Linda Williams, was suffering from primary progressive aphasia, a type of early-onset dementia that left her temperamental, accident-prone, and increasingly unable to recognize her own family.
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In 2016, the Father of the Bride star, 51, published Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again, an honest memoir about her family’s experience with her mother’s dementia.
Williams-Paisley spoke with PEOPLE ahead of the release about how she learned to accept the woman her mother had become. “Having the silver linings and positives in it was incredibly essential to me,” she said.
In 2014, the Nashville actress and wife of country superstar Brad Paisley wrote a tragic yet beautiful personal essay for Redbook.
“I’ve witnessed a genuinely cheerful woman disintegrate and turn into someone nearly unrecognizable,” she wrote at the time. “It’s been heartbreaking to watch her go away.”
After speaking with others who had gone through similar experiences, Williams-Paisley recognized she needed to love her mother in a fresh, “innocent” way. She learned to communicate without words and found peace in simple actions such as spreading ointment on her mother’s dry hands. This allowed her to remember her mother as she once was without succumbing to the grief of her loss.
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“She is a ‘new’ mom in many respects. Yet it’s becoming easier to accept recollections of her as she used to be “Williams-Paisley penned the piece. “I think of her as I run into a chilly ocean when no one else wants to, just like she used to. As I listen to my own children with all my heart, I’m sure I understand how she felt.”
Williams died in November 2016, just months after her daughter published her book.
“Since we disclosed Bruce’s diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022, Bruce’s illness has advanced and we now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD),” Emma wrote in her Thursday post.
“Unfortunately, communication difficulties are only one indication of Bruce’s disease. While this is terrible, having a firm diagnosis is a comfort.”
“Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others and raise awareness about important topics both publicly and personally,” she concluded. “We believe in our hearts that if he could today, he would respond by bringing global attention and a sense of closeness to those who are also coping with this painful condition and how it affects so many individuals and their families.”
“Bruce has always found happiness in life – and has encouraged everyone he knows to do the same,” Emma said. “It meant everything to see that level of caring reflected back to him and to all of us. We have been moved by your affection for our loving husband, father, and friend at this trying time. Your continuing compassion, understanding, and respect will allow us to assist Bruce in living the fullest life possible.”