Ashley Judd Pens Heartbreaking Op-Ed About Spending 1st Mother’s Day Without Naomi Judd
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Just two days before Mother’s Day, actress Ashley Judd published an op-ed with USA Today about her mother, the late Naomi Judd.
On Saturday April 30th, Ashley Judd and her sister, singer Wynonna Judd announced on social media that their beloved mother, Naomi Judd, had passed away. As most know, Wynonna and Naomi make up award-winning mother-daughter country duo The Judds.
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness. We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public. We are in unknown territory,” their joint statement read.
Naomi’s death comes almost three weeks after Naomi and Wynonna’s first televised performance in almost 20 years at the CMT Music Awards. They performed their hit song “Love Can Build A Bridge,” which will go down in history as their last performance together.
Naomi’s death also came one day before The Judds were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Judds were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday (May 1), with Ashley and Wynonna in attendance. Ashley tearfully said, “I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today.”
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On May 6, USA Today published Ashley’s op-ed about her mother.
She started it by writing, “This Sunday is abruptly, shockingly, my first Mother’s Day without my mama. She died just hours before her peers at the Country Music Hall of Fame could demonstrate to her how much they esteem her. She died just days before my sister and I could show her again how much we love and honor her.”
Ashley then explained that they have a tradition of gifting their mother a box of old-fashioned candy for Mother’s Day, and how much she will miss it.
“We were supposed to have sweet delight in each others’ easy presence. Instead, I am unmoored,” she wrote. “But my heart is not empty. It is replete with gratitude for what she left behind. Her nurture and tenderness, her music and memory.”
Then, she wrote
Ashley’s op-ed took a turn when she said, “Perhaps it’s indecorous to say, but my heart is filled with something else, too. Incandescent rage. Because my mother was stolen from me by the disease of mental illness, by the wounds she carried from a lifetime of injustices that started when she was a girl. Because she was a girl.”
She also revealed that Naomi became a mother “without her consent” and dove deep into the statistics of how many women die during pregnancy and childbirth in our country.
“My mama was a legend,” wrote Ashley, nearly one week after losing Naomi to the disease of mental health at age 76. “She was an artist and a storyteller, but she had to fight like hell to overcome the hand she was dealt, to earn her place in history. She shouldn’t have had to fight that hard to share her gifts with the world.”
Ashley has been a longtime advocate for countless organizations and begged, “This Mother’s Day, I choose to honor my mama for the person she was, a mother and so much more. And I ask you to honor your own mother, if you are lucky enough to have her. Honor her for more than her labor and sacrifice. Honor her for her talents and dreams. Honor her by demanding a world where motherhood, everywhere, is safe, healthy – and chosen.”
Read her full op-ed here.