Kimberly Williams-Paisley Sends 'Love' to Bruce Willis' Family After Dementia Diagnosis: 'My Mom Had This Too'

The Die Hard actor's family announced on Thursday that he was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia

bruce willis and Kimberly Williams Paisley
Photo: Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty, Mike Marsland/WireImage

Kimberly Williams-Paisley knows firsthand what Bruce Willis' family is going through.

The actor's wife, Emma Heming Willis, announced on Thursday that he has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, revealing that his condition has worsened since his family first shared news of his aphasia diagnosis last year.

Showing support for Bruce's family, Williams-Paisley wrote a touching comment underneath PEOPLE's post about his diagnosis.

"My mom had this too. Sending love to his family. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️"

In 2005, Williams-Paisley and her family learned that her mother Linda Williams, then 62, was suffering from a form of early-onset dementia called primary progressive aphasia, which her daughter said left her moody, accident-prone and increasingly unable to recognize her own family.

In 2016, the Father of the Bride star, 51, released a candid memoir that chronicled her family's journey with her mother's dementia: Where the Light Gets In: Losing My Mother Only to Find Her Again.

Ahead of the release, Williams-Paisley spoke with PEOPLE about how she learned to embrace the woman her mother had become. "It was really important to me to have the silver linings and the positives in it," she said.

The Nashville star and wife of country superstar Brad Paisley had previously penned a heartbreaking but powerful personal essay for Redbook in 2014.

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

RELATED VIDEO: Emma Heming Willis Says Grief Over Husband Bruce Willis' Aphasia Diagnosis 'Can Be Paralyzing'

Williams-Paisley found solace after talking to friends with similar experiences: She realized she had to love her mother in a new, "innocent" way. She learned to communicate wordlessly and found peace in small gestures, like rubbing cream on her mother's dry hands. In doing so it allowed her to remember her mother as she used to be without succumbing to the pain of her loss.

"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."

Williams died in Nov. 2016, shortly after her daughter released her book.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

In Emma's post on Thursday, she wrote in part about her husband, "Since we announced Bruce's diagnosis of aphasia in spring 2022, Bruce's condition has progressed and we now have a more specific diagnosis: frontotemporal dementia (known as FTD)," she continued. "Unfortunately, challenges with communication are just one symptom of the disease Bruce faces. While this is painful, it is a relief to finally have a clear diagnosis."

She continued, "Bruce always believed in using his voice in the world to help others, and to raise awareness about important issues both publicly and privately," she said. "We know in our hearts that – if he could today — he would want to respond by bringing global attention and a connectedness with those who are also dealing with this debilitating disease and how it impacts so many individuals and their families."

"Bruce has always found joy in life – and has helped everyone he knows to do the same," Emma ended. "It has meant the world to see that sense of care echoed back to him and to all of us. We have been so moved by the love you have all shared for our dear husband, father, and friend during this difficult time. Your continued compassion, understanding, and respect will enable us to help Bruce live as full a life as possible."

Related Articles