Bruce Willis’s Wife Emma Heming Shares Emotional Update About the Toll of Being a Caregiver

“I’m not good, but I have to put my best foot forward.”

One of the cardinal rules of social media is that you never know what’s really going on with someone else, and this is an essential reminder that even if someone’s posts seem happy on the outside, they could be carrying serious pain.

It’s been a rough few months for Bruce Willis and his family ever since they went public with the actor’s aphasia diagnosis, which then progressed into frontotemporal dementia. And now, his wife Emma Heming Willis is sharing an emotional message about how she’s holding up — and the heavy mental burden of being a caregiver for a loved one.

“I know it looks like I’m out living my best life. I have to make a conscious effort every single day to live the best life that I can,” she said in a video posted to her Instagram page. “I do that for myself. I do that for our two children — and Bruce, who would not want me to live any other way.”

The couple has two daughters together: Mabel, born in 2012, and Evelyn, born in 2014. Heming Willis shares the family’s adventures in adorable posts like this one, but she wants her followers to know that these happy slices of life aren’t the full picture of what she’s experiencing as her husband’s cognition declines.

“I don’t want it to be misconstrued that I’m good, because I’m not. I’m not good,” she said. “But I have to put my best foot forward for the sake of myself and my family because when we are not looking after ourselves, we cannot look after anyone that we love.”

Heming Willis, the founder and chief impact officer of Make Time Wellness, has been quite candid about her journey in dealing with her husband’s declining health, including a tear-inducing birthday tribute and sweet stories about how the couple’s children are coping with their dad’s diagnosis.

Her vulnerability on this topic is an important illustration of the very real effects of caregiver burnout. When Katie Couric Media spoke to experts about this topic last year, they suggested that support groups devoted to assisting caregivers can be an essential outlet for understanding the complex feelings that come with this demanding role. If you’re interested, Family Caregiver Alliance and the Alzheimer’s Association are great places to start.

And while it certainly won’t solve your loved one’s health problems, there’s also great value in appreciating things that are going well in your life. Hemig Willis posted her latest video after asking her followers to send photos of something positive, and she explained how small gestures like that can make a huge difference.

“I just think it’s so important for us to break up our thinking, which can feel for me very much like doom and gloom,” she said. “This is a conscious effort. It does not come to me easily. But I am just doing the best that I can, always, so your pictures are making me happy. I just want you to take a moment out of your day — and I know that your day is stressful, and I know that your day is hard — but I just want you to break it up for a minute, just for a second, and just look for something beautiful.”

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