Kimberly Williams-Paisley: Mother's Dementia 'Agonizing'

Image: Kimberly Williams-Paisley: Mother's Dementia 'Agonizing'

Friday, 07 Feb 2014 12:07 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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"Nashville" star Kimberly Williams-Paisley opened up to Redbook this week about her mother's dementia and how it has affected her close-knit family.

Williams-Paisley, the former "According to Jim" star who plays Peggy Kenter in the "Nashville" television series, wrote in the Redbook essay that her mother suffers from primary progressive aphasia, a rare form of dementia.

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People with primary progressive aphasia suffer from impaired language capabilities that cause them to have trouble expressing their thoughts and comprehending or finding words. Williams-Paisley, who is married to country star Brad Paisley, said her mother was diagnosed with the disease nine years ago. 

"Since then, I've watched a passionately joyful woman, a devoted mother, an engaged listener and friend deteriorate and transform into someone almost unrecognizable," she wrote. "It's been agonizing to slowly lose her."

Williams-Paisley wrote that her mother slowly became combative with her father and would leave home to wander aimlessly, only to eventually be coaxed back. The family finally made the difficult decision to place her in a full-time facility.

The actress, who gave birth to her first child Huck in 2007, said that while the family realized it was the best thing for their mother, visits are challenging.

"I couldn't look at her without seeing a fading picture of who she used to be," Williams-Paisley wrote. "I resented this mostly manic, dangerous, crazy woman who had taken over my mother's body. I hated her insidious disease. I couldn't help but speak of Mom in the past tense."

Williams-Paisley said it was a conversation with two friends that taught her to reconnect with her mother more spiritually and emotionally.

"I needed to love my mother in a different way," she wrote. "The innocent way Huck did. The empathetic way my mother had always loved others, sometimes total strangers . . . She is, in many ways, a 'new' mom. But now it's easier to welcome memories of her as she used to be."

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