Tallulah's poignant account began with an essay published in Vogue, where she shared her early suspicions about her father's health. "I’ve known that something was wrong for a long time," she disclosed, recounting how the family initially attributed Bruce's vague unresponsiveness to the so-called Hollywood hearing loss.
The 68-year-old was often encouraged to "speak up" by his family who believed his hearing was affected due to his acting career.
However, Tallulah painfully acknowledged that her father's unresponsiveness was not a simple case of hearing loss but a sign of a more severe condition. It was a realization that arrived with a sting of personal guilt and self-doubt.
Tallulah admitted to believing that Bruce, after welcoming two daughters with his wife Emma Heming Willis, was losing interest in her.
These insecurities exacerbated by her own struggles with anorexia nervosa, led her to confess, “I’m not beautiful enough for my mother, I’m not interesting enough for my father.”
The journey through this heartbreaking truth was fraught with challenges. As Tallulah was battling her body dysmorphia and flaunting it on Instagram, she penned, "my dad was quietly struggling."
The struggle she referred to was Bruce undergoing extensive cognitive testing, his behavior uncharacteristically distant, something Tallulah described as a numbing of her 'dad-feeling canal.'
But despite the trials and the looming grief, Tallulah found a renewed determination to support her father, promising, "I can bring him an energy that’s bright and sunny, no matter where I’ve been." This resolve is manifest in her efforts to cherish every moment with Bruce. From taking countless photographs to saving every voicemail, Tallulah strives to document her father's life.
The silver lining amidst the cloud of hardship is that Bruce still recognizes his daughter. His face lights up at her presence, reminding her of the unique and precious times that the family is experiencing. "There’s this thing happening with my dad that can shift so quickly and unpredictably. It feels like a unique and special time in my family, and I’m just so glad to be here for it," she wrote.
Bruce Willis, globally acclaimed for his roles in films like Pulp Fiction, retired from acting in March 2022. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, a cruel condition, while simultaneously battling aphasia.
The Willis family, although in pain, expressed relief at having a clear diagnosis. They now use their experience to raise awareness about this under-recognized form of dementia, prevalent amongst individuals under 60, thus giving voice to a poignant tale of courage, love, and resilience in the face of adversity.
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