Tyler Today October/November 2016 : Page 158

A Message of Hope Kimberly Williams-Paisley by Robert Marlin “My mother is not her disease,” writes Kimberly Williams-Paisley in her book Where the Light Gets In. That sentiment is an important message for the people who attended the 5th Annual Butterfly Hope Luncheon sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County last September 19th. It is an important message for those who have a loved one who may be living with some form of dementia to remember, especially at those moments when a blank stare and silence are the only response to a well-intentioned greeting. Kimberly Williams-Paisley was asked to be the keynote speaker for this year’s luncheon because of her personal connection with Alzheimer’s, which is detailed in her book. Her mother was diagnosed in 2005 with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a rare form of dementia. Kim has gone on record as saying, “I love to be able to do something positive with what celebrity I have. make it about something bigger than me; if I can help in some way, I’m happy to do that.” I like to be able to She achieved her big break as an actress when she was cast in the Steve Martin/ Diane Keaton remake of Father of the Bride. The film was a huge success, and opened the door for other roles in both movies and television. It was her appearances on-screen that prompted country music superstar Brad Paisley to track her down, under the pretense of having her appear 158 OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2016 in a music video for one of his songs. After a long-distance courtship, the two were married on March 15, 2003. They now have two children, Huck born in 2007 and Jasper born in 2009. Upon reading her book, one is likely to feel a sense of closeness to Kim and her family. That sense of familiarity is even stronger when one has the opportunity to engage her in a conversation. The book is written as a memoir, and her writing style is frank and conversational – especially as she shares her personal reactions to the changes that took over her mother’s life. vibrant, full of the joy of living. She describes her mother as Two things she learned from her mother, the things she remembers about her mother’s indomitable spirit that the disease cannot erase, are her encouragement to always “go for it,” and her advice to seek adventure and “come back with stories.” “I wrote this book…” she paused purposefully, as if to make certain her words would be taken seriously, “…sort of in the middle of the journey with my mother… I wanted to take the reins of the story and turn it from a tragedy into something positive… I wanted to understand what happened and try to help others… It was very therapeutic for me… This is the book I wish I could have read ten years ago.” Photo by Jonathan Skow

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