This Mother’s Day is marked by an avalanche of pain and ambivalence for Ashley Judd.
The actress channeled her shock and sadness into a poignant essay for USA Today on Friday, six days after losing her mother, country music star Naomi Judd, to an alleged suicide at age 76.
Ashley, 54, emphasized from the start that her heart is “full of gratitude” for what her mother left behind: “Her upbringing and tenderness, her music and her memory.”
“It wasn’t supposed to be like this,” he wrote. “I was supposed to visit her on Sunday, to give her a box of old fashioned sweets, our family tradition. We were supposed to take sweet delight in each other’s easy presence. Instead, I am unmoored.
But Ashley quickly went on to express another dimension of her admittedly complicated emotional state: “It may be unseemly to say, but my heart is also full of something else. incandescent rage Because my mother was taken from me by mental illness, by the wounds she carried from a life of injustice that she began as a child. Because she was a girl.
Naomi’s “unwanted pregnancy at 17… led her down a path familiar to so many teen mothers, including poverty and gender-based violence,” Ashley continued, hinting at the specific root causes of such ” injustices”.
The “Ruby in Paradise” star and her sister, Wynonna Judd, announced on April 30 that they had lost their “beautiful mother to mental illness.”
Naomi had long struggled with depression, which apparently stemmed from past trauma, including sexual and childhood abuse.
It was not lost on Ashley that her family’s tragedy, already plagued by deeply sensitive and deeply personal issues related to mental health and motherhood, coincided with the leaking of a draft Supreme Court opinion noting the disappearance. impending federal guaranteed access to safe abortion. .
In her essay, Ashley highlighted a number of alarming and disturbing statistics about pregnant women, citing the many physical and even deadly risks that giving birth can entail.
What’s most puzzling about the research you cited is a 2021 study that found the leading causes of “pregnancy-associated deaths” over the past 15 years were “homicide, suicide, and drug overdose,” with “partner violence” being intimate” one of the predominant causes. factor.
It’s worth noting that there is no shortage of scientific evidence showing how trauma often drastically alters the physical makeup of the brain, which can lead to a litany of mental health issues that have nothing to do with willpower, self-discipline or moral integrity of people. affected.
Not that Ashley ever doubted the irreproachable determination and sheer resilience of Naomi’s character.
“My mom was a legend. She was an artist and a storyteller, but she had to fight like hell to get over the hand she was dealt, to earn her place in history,” she wrote, emphasizing that Naomi “shouldn’t have had to fight so hard to share her gifts with the world.”
In any case, the tragic loss seems to have strengthened Ashley’s resolve.
Her essay concluded with a kind of heartfelt call to arms: “This Mother’s Day, I choose to honor my mom 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 work and her sacrifice. Honor her for her talents and dreams. Honor her by demanding a world where motherhood, everywhere, is safe, healthy and chosen.”
Ashley and Wynonna, 57, reunited on May 1, less than 24 hours after announcing their mother’s death, to celebrate Wynonna and Naomi’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Both sisters broke down in tears during the emotional ceremony.
If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.