Marie Louise McConville: Spring feels like a time to be grateful for life

Emma Heming Willis has been speaking about her heartbreak over husband Bruce's battle with frontotemporal dementia
Marie Louise McConville

I love Spring – it's a wonderful time of the year.

Everything is brighter and there's a sense of hope in the air.

With all its blooming flowers and leaping lambs, the season always makes me feel more thankful for all I have.

I think it's something to do with Mother's Day in March when endless hugs and kisses remind us of how lucky we are.

But I know that's not the same for everybody.

I have found myself thinking about Emma Heming-Willis, wife of US actor Bruce Willis, this week.

Famous for movies such as Die Hard and Armageddon, the 68-year-old star is the ultimate action hero.

Unfortunately, in March last year, it was announced that the father-of-five was retiring from acting after he was diagnosed with aphasia, a disorder typically caused by damage to the area of the brain that controls language expression and comprehension.

Last month, the family further revealed that Bruce had been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia.

It was such sad news and the actor's wife, Emma, which whom he has two little girls, has spoken openly about his diagnosis.

This week, however, I really felt for the 44-year-old on her husband's birthday.

With the family gathered, they all sang Happy Birthday before Emma presented him with a candle-lit apple pie.

Amid the wonderful celebrations, in a video post Emma told how she had started the day crying.

"I always get this message or people always tell me like, `Oh you're so strong, I don't know how you do it'.

"I'm not given a choice. I wish I was. But I'm also raising two kids in this.

"So sometimes in our lives we have to put our big girl panties on and get to it. And that's what I'm doing. But I do have times of sadness every day. Grief everyday. And I'm really feeling it today on his birthday.

"So I worked on this reel that I'm posting for my husband's birthday. I don't know why I do that because the videos are like a knife in my heart."

I just really felt for her.

Here she is, a mother of two little girls who is caring for her husband who is fighting this awful disease.

And, despite her heartbreak, she must carry on for the sake of their family.

It must be so awfully hard for her.

It has certainly made me sit up and think about how lucky I am in life and how grateful I should be for all that I have.

It's easy to take life for granted as well as those around us.

We don't know what's around the corner so like the song says, time is going by, spend it like it's gold.


Great news.

One of the best comedy shows on TV has returned to our screens for a second season.

The Cleaner, which stars the brilliant Greg Davies, follows the life of Paul 'Wicky' Wickstead who is a crime scene cleaner.

In the new six-part series, Wicky and his box of cleaning tricks remove grisly human remains from all sorts of locations including an electrical goods store and a stately home.

And, as he crosses paths with an array of weird and wonderful characters, he provides solutions for more than just stubborn stains.


Who fancies a "fabulously fun" read?

Love on the Run by Susie Tullett has been described as a book which will "make you laugh out loud and warm your heart".

Ten years after their divorce, this is the first time Hannah's ex-husband has had the kids for more than a weekend.

Her calendar is gloriously blank, ready to be filled with some self-care time.

That is, until Hannah's BFFs push her to join them in a charity race – but she's not exactly in tip-top condition.

Maybe Gabe, the nice-looking personal trainer, can help?

The more Hannah struggles, the more determined she becomes.

But Gabe has a shocking secret – does this mean he will be out of the running for a place in her heart?

I have three copies of Love on the Run to give away.

If you would like the chance to win a copy, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Closing date for entries is noon on Tuesday March 27.

(Q) Who wrote Love on the Run?

Normal Irish News rules apply.


The winners of the Movie House Cinemas competition are Catherine Fairfield from Carryduff, and Mark McNicholl from Randalstown.