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Emma Heming never imagined that she would celebrate her fourteenth wedding anniversary with the loved one, but feeling nostalgic. That 14 years after that ceremony with Bruce Willis, which brought together Demi Moore, ex of her new husband, and her three daughters, they would toast again, but this time without the effervescence of life, missing him even being by his side and afraid to look forward.

The anniversary has coincided with the 69th birthday of the actor and, after the nice images that the family has published on their social networks, the actress and model has confessed that that day she woke up crying. "Every day," he said, "I have moments of sadness, moments of pain, and today I am feeling that sadness." At 44, Heming is not old enough to feel nostalgic, nor to hold on to memories. Nor to drown thinking about the future, but the frontotemporal dementia suffered by her husband advances without the possibility of return.

Bruce Willis and Emma Heming, in a premiere in 2019.Gtres

She wanted to expose the situation, taught by her therapist, Teepa Snow, a well-known dementia specialist who is providing her with a series of guidelines and tools to take care of her husband and facilitate a life as full as possible. "She is a loving, compassionate and skilled leader," she posted on her Instagram account alongside an image with Snow.

Caring for caregivers

In Spain we have professionals like this famous therapist, who take care of those who care. Maxi Rodríguez, clinical psychologist of Afaga Alzheimer's, works daily with relatives of patients with dementia and understands perfectly the process of Willis' wife. "It is the disease of losses," he says. In this case, the actor loses his memory, his ability to think or the ability to carry out the most everyday tasks." Cinema has also lost a magnificent actor and his five daughters to an "incredible and funny" father, as Heming has defined him.

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However, the least visible face is, as indicated by the Spanish psychologist, that of this woman who with 44 years has seen frustrated that life that began with the actor forming a beautiful family, very well avenue, by the way, with the previous wife and the three older daughters. Not long ago, he appeared on magazine covers and advertisements for Dior Bronze, Garnier, Gap, Intimissimi, Escada and other big brands. She has walked for the big Haute Couture firms and even in Victoria's Secret fashion shows. Aware of the privilege of being the wife of a man so loved around the world, she has not hesitated to share emotions with which thousands of caregivers will identify.

Devastating figures

Between 5% and 8% of the population over 60 years of age suffers from some type of dementia at any given time, according to the WHO. 800,000 people are diagnosed with Alzheimer's in Spain and every year 10 million new cases are detected worldwide. Maxi Rodríguez highlights that demographic dynamics have changed and there will be many patients like Willis, who until now remained in the front line of action, and couples as young as Heming, who had their two daughters, Mabel Ray and Evelyn Penn, in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

"It is logical," he says, "that the impact of receiving the diagnosis is one of absolute perplexity and uncertainty. Obviously, the socioeconomic factors, the support network you may have and other circumstances are going to be decisive when facing the disease, but the restlessness and grief do not know about money or any other element. " Worst of all, in his opinion, is the worry of not knowing what happens. Heming admitted that, after a first diagnosis in which he spoke of aphasia, a neurological disorder that affects his personality and the ability to speak and communicate, it was a relief to have the clear and definitive result, despite the pain it caused.

What to do after diagnosis

In a statement, he acknowledged that it is "a cruel disease that many of us have never heard of and can affect anyone. For people younger than 60, frontotemporal dementia is the most common form of dementia. As Bruce's condition progresses, we hope that media attention can be focused on shedding light on this disease that needs more awareness and research."

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"Heming," observes the psychologist from Afaga, "has been decisive, but not all people are equally and must be respected." Take the opportunity to regret that the role of caregiver falls, in most cases, on a woman who, in addition, usually bears the greatest weight of the house and the attention of the rest of the family. "So the news can be very overwhelming. They are people who can no longer stretch their time and dedication. The diagnosis is the announcement of a decline that can be prolonged over time and greatly damage the mental and physical health of that caregiver who, suddenly, has to interrupt his life project. "

Emma's day-to-day life

This has been the case in Willis' case. His wife is dedicated to his care, to ensure that he exercises his body and brain, to seek information and ask for research, and to advise other caregivers to take their time to learn about the disease. Not everyone can afford such a large family around them, nor their finances, nor the continuous displays of support, respect and compassion that the star is receiving. But she is dealing with other circumstances.

It is a very tense moment and a few days ago she was forced to ask the media to respect a prudent distance from her husband. He also had to deny that Moore had decided to move in with them. "We're going to nip this in the bud. It's nonsense. Please stop," he claimed on his Instagram account. Rumors of a move sparked speculation about whether the ex-wife would invade Willis' family land or who would take the reins from now on.

One person in charge

They are setbacks and conjectures that, saving the distances, the psychologist of Afaga frequently observes. "We have a bad habit of judging and giving opinions with situations that are extremely complicated and delicate. We should understand as something positive the support that the previous spouses of the patients want to provide, but at the same time also respect the possibility that a person is not able to care for a patient with dementia. Sometimes the greatest manifestation of love is the recognition of not being prepared to face a disease of this caliber."

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In his opinion, the ideal thing is that there is only one conductor to manage this new reality. "Not everyone will be able to contribute the same. There are more decisive people when it comes to paperwork and quartermaster issues and others with greater empathic capacity and emotional support. Success in caring for a dementia patient lies in good communication, love, and flexible organization. There cannot be a rigid mandate here. The person who can't do today may, maybe tomorrow can."

Attending to your own life

Fortunately, in Willis' case, everyone seems focused on his protection and care. The eldest daughters have expressed the same sorrow as Heming with emotional words and asking for messages of affection and prayers for him. "The pain really shows us how much we love someone," reflected Scout, one of his eldest daughters.

Rodriguez insists that caring is not neglecting one's own life. Willis' wife clings to it and says that despite everything, she has "a lot of good news to be thankful for." Soon their daughters Mabel and Evelyn will have their birthdays, Moore and Willis' first grandchild will be born. And in June she will turn 45. He is aware of how difficult these kinds of special occasions will be. "I'm at that point," he wrote on social media. If you know someone who is taking care of someone else, don't ask what you can do, just do it."


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