Ashley Judd reflects on her mother, Naomi Judd, and the country music legend’s lasting legacy a year after her death.
On April 30, one year after Naomi Judd committed suicide at the age of 76, her daughter Ashley Judd wrote an emotional piece for Time in which she opened up about her grief.
The actor and activist announced her 55th birthday on April 19 at the top of the piece. She pondered which birthday card her mother might have chosen for her.
“As I read the card I imagined she would have chosen, I felt her love.” “A lovely ouch,” she wrote. “And I remembered how Mama would recount giving birth to me every year on my special day, sharing with the sweetest smile how she felt when she held me for the first time, what I smelled like, and what an easy baby I was.”
The 55-year-old claimed that she spent the week following her mother’s death rummaging through her mother’s possessions.
“I have started this week to sit in sacred presence with her precious things, to look at her strands of red hair in her brush, to hold a pretty dress she left half-zipped, to chuckle at the folded tissues she kept in every single pocket,” she explained.
Ashley Judd also perused her mother’s calendar, which highlighted significant dates such as the first time she met her youngest daughter’s partner and the date she was healed of hepatitis C.
“These intimate exchanges with the private fortify me,” she went on to say. “They remind me of the interior landscape of my mother’s soul, the innocent God-scape that somehow remained untouched by the mental illness that marred her life.”
She stated that the souvenirs remind her of her mother’s voice.
Ashley Judd then detailed the numerous challenges her mother faced throughout her life, including sexual assault.
As April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the anniversary of her mother’s death, Ashley Judd said she was honoured to accept the World Without Exploitation’s Lifetime Igniting Impact Award on her mother’s behalf. The organisation is dedicated to putting an end to human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Ashley Judd stated that she, too, is dedicated to the cause.
“That is part of my commitment to her legacy and one way to honour the depth of our relationship, as her child and a fellow survivor,” she explained.
She also said that she and her older sister Wynonna Judd would shortly accept the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Lifesaver Award.
Ashley Judd stated of the prize, “This is an award I would never have wanted to be given, yet one I will accept on my knees, bloody as they are from a year of falling, crawling, and getting back up again.”
Ashley Judd’s final announcement was that Mercy Community Healthcare in Franklin, Tennessee will name its new mental health hospital after her mother.
“Over the last year, I’ve learned how to make my mother’s irreplaceable loss serve her legacy,” Ashley Judd stated. “There is lament as well as meaning. In God’s economy, everything is put to use, as the painful past can be transformed into service for others.”
She concluded her article by saying that she hopes her words demonstrate that no one needs to face sadness alone.
Since her mother’s death, the “She Said” star has been open about her feelings and struggles. She authored an op-ed about privacy rules for families after the death of a loved one in August 2022.
Ashley Judd celebrated her first birthday without the country music singer earlier this month by releasing a handwritten birth announcement from her mother on Instagram. After Ashley Judd was born, the note was sent to friends and family.
Ashley Judd also shared a picture of herself holding a birthday cake.
“Thank you, Mom, for all my birthdays so far, and for celebrating me: for holding me at bedtime and whispering in my ear, ‘Ashley, you are an extraordinary woman,’ and letting me be your Sweetpea,” she said in the caption, before adding, ‘For you, Mom.’ “It’s for you.”