Written by cycleguy on April 10th, 2022

Ever heard of PPA? You should have by now if you listen to any news feed. One of the most iconic actors of the past couple of decades was recently diagnosed with it. PPA stands for Primary Progressive Aphasia.

Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with it.

How ironic it was, then, that just a few weeks ago I listened to an Alisa Childers podcast where she interviewed a Christian philosopher and writer named Doug Groothius (pronounce grew-ties with the “s” sounding like a soft “s”). When I listened to the podcast I never caught the illness Doug’s wife suffered from and which was the inspiration for his book, Walking Through Twilight.  I was so intrigued by the interview I ordered his book and began reading it this past weekend.  Doug’s wife, a member of MENSA and a brilliant editor and writer of all his books, was diagnosed with PPA.

Here is a short “walk through” of PPA:

  • Often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s or “strict” dementia, it is different. Alzheimer’s starts at the back of the brain and moves forward; PPA is a frontal lobe disease. It is a rare form of dementia.
  • They all act alike in many ways. Forgetfulness. Lostness. Blank stares. Inability to recognize people or remember things. PPA also carries with it the inability to put words or thoughts together. My non-clinical way of saying it would be it is like having dyslexia of the mind.
  • There is no cure. It gets progressively worse.  At the time of the writing of his book (2017), Becky had suffered from it for 15 years.  (She went to be with Jesus in 2018).  It is an emotional wrangle for all involved-spouse, family, caregivers, even pets.

His book? You have to buy it. That is all I can say. I am about 1/2 way through it and have found myself drawn into his story and his struggle-with life, with God, with the way things are. Even though Doug is a philosopher, he doesn’t write like one who is “over my head.” Trust me, though, when I say you will enter into his story. You will ride the waves with him as he struggles emotionally and spiritually.

Walking Through Twilight: A Wife's Illness―A Philosopher's Lament

My father had dementia (he died at 90). My mother-in-law had it. My sister-in-law has it (mild form so far). I can guarantee this book has given me a new perspective on the “world” of the one walking through this twilight with someone they love.


And say a prayer for Bruce Willis and his family. I’m guessing they don’t know Jesus. They will need Him and the strength and comfort He offers.


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Bill, I want you to know that I would love to read this book, but I’m trying to rein in my Amazon expenditures at the moment. I do know that if you recommend it, it is worth the investment of my time. I will add Bruce Willis and his family to my prayers.
    Didn’t listen to your sermon today because of some conflicts, but will look it up later in the week.

    • cycleguy says:

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment Martha. It saddens me about Bruce and the fact I’m pretty sure they don’t know Jesus is making it sadder. They may never know but God knows you are praying on his behalf. Thanks for letting me know about listening also. I hope when you get a chance to listen it shows the importance of the cross.

  2. cycleguy says:

    From Pearline (a friend):

    Sounds interesting I will get it!

  3. gail says:

    I do want to read that book sometime, I have several books to read through first. I am not as fast of a reader as you are Bill, and I certainly cannot juggle reading several books at one time. The bible plus one book, is all I can read at a time. I will get it on the list. Watching people you love, struggle is so hard, that is such a terrible disease. Having Jesus walk through it with you is the only way to get through it.

    • cycleguy says:

      I’m a one-book-at-a-time reader also Gail. I don’t juggle several books at a time very well at all, so I have to do what I can do. I can say though that if I really like a book I do sort of “obsess” with reading it. 🙂 Thanks for listening and I do hope you can buy it some day to read (or borrow it).