Kimberly Williams-Paisley on Her Mother's Dementia and Relearning to Love Her in an 'Innocent' Way
Feb 07, 2014 12:00 PM EST | By Dina Exil
Kimberly Williams-Paisley has now opened up about struggling to have a relationship with her mother, who was diagnosed with a form of dementia known as primary progressive aphasia.
According to People magazine, at the age of 61, Linda Williams was diagnosed with a form of dementia that has no cure or treatment. Williams-Paisley said that her mother became a different person due to the disease and was unable to write clearly, recall or pronounce certain names, like her grandson's, Jasper
"Since then, I've watched a passionately joyful woman, a devoted mother, an engaged listener and friend deteriorate and transform into someone almost unrecognizable," Williams-Paisley said in an essay for Redbook titled "How I Faced My Mother's Dementia".
The 42-year-old actress said it was agonizing watching her mother "slowly" slip away and forget how to do simple things, like spell "Chicago." The actress recalled a few times when her mother would order nachos at Starbucks.
"Almost every time we had dinner together, a glass broke or a plate of food wound up on the floor," she said. "She ate spaghetti with her fingers. She had accidents and falls that landed her in the ER."
Williams-Paisley said her mother was became too erratic to live with her husband, country star Brad Paisley, and their two sons. Linda was taken to "a long-term care facility. "
"The move was the hardest change my tight-knit family has ever had to endure," Williams-Paisley wrote. "Our visits were agonizing for me. I couldn't look at her without seeing a fading picture of who she used to be. I resented this mostly manic, dangerous, crazy woman who had taken over my mother's body."
"The Nashville" star admitted to breaking down after visits with her mother, but recalled talking to two women whose parents suffered from dementia and getting advice on how to cope with her situation.
Williams-Paisley wrote that she needed to learn to love her mother in a new, "innocent" way, which included communicating without words and finding peace by doing small gestures
"She is, in many ways, a 'new' mom. But now it's easier to welcome memories of her as she used to be," Williams-Paisley wrote. "I remember her as I run, the way she always used to, into a cold ocean when no one else wants to. I'm sure I know how she felt as I listen to my own children with all my heart."