Nearly a year after Bruce Willis’ family revealed he was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the Die Hard star’s wife Emma admits she struggled with guilt after publicly announcing the news.
In an op-ed piece on Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper, Emma spoke about the weeks leading up to the public announcement about her husband’s condition and how she struggled with whether and how to come forward with the “difficult chapter” of their family’s story. Despite having those feelings, after the Willis family shared the news, she felt like she could breathe.
“Suddenly I wasn’t alone anymore,” Bruce Willis’ wife explained. “And I could seek the support Bruce, myself, and our family so desperately needed.”
Emma then wrote that after a little more than half a year after the announcement, she wanted to share some of the things she’s learned in hopes it’ll help others on the same journey. The first lesson is there’s strength in community. “Bruce’s FTD diagnosis was devastating, but it explained so much of what we’d been going through. His diagnosis enabled us to put things that once felt so confusing into a medical context.”
Emma continued on to write that with a specific diagnosis there’s a chance of finding a community. “You get to connect with people who understand your story immediately. You don’t even have to explain yourself.”
Lesson Two is to never underestimate the power of awareness. Bruce Willis’ significant other shared that FTD is the most common form of young-onset dementia and can strike at any adult age. “As hard as it was to come forward about Bruce’s FTD diagnosis, I knew I needed to raise my voice to bring awareness to this disease. The world needs to know that not all dementia is Alzheimer’s and that not all dementia impacts memory.”
Bruce Willis’ Wife Says Her Husband’s Diagnosis Has Changed How She Perceives the World
In the third and fourth lesson, Bruce Willis’ wife says that research is not only at a pivotal moment, but it’s also important to find a sense of meaning when it comes to a medical journey like the one she and her family are on.
“I wouldn’t wish an FTD diagnosis on anyone,” Emma declared. “But our journey has changed how I perceive the world. I’ve become more compassionate. I find that I’m able to hold more space for what others might be going through.”
Emma Willis further explained that she’s also holding gratitude as well as grief in her heart. She pointed out that there is power in becoming an advocate for the FTD community as well. “It’s something that I want our kids to see me face out loud, working with others, fighting through the stigma and isolation that a disease like this can bring,” she added.
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