Weeks after her mother’s death, Ashley Judd and her family have learned to grieve Naomi Judd in their respective ways.
Ashley Judd and her mother, Naomi Judd, were at the top of their careers during the 1980s. The mother and daughter duo were the darling of county music, with several top charting songs to their names.
Famously known as “The Judds,” the duo sold millions of records, winning the Grammy Awards six times. However, while preparing for multiple concerts in 1990, the pair received a piece of devastating news.
Doctors informed the family matriarch, Naomi, that she had contracted hepatitis C and had three years to live. The news rocked the family as they struggled to understand Noami might die.
Naomi was at the top of her career at the time when she knew about her blood-borne liver infection. The disease, which is often a short-term illness for some people, could develop into a chronic condition.
When that happens, it can lead to fatal conditions like cirrhosis and liver cancer. So “The Judds” had no other choice than to get disbanded. Afterward, Ashley began a solo career while Naomi battled her disease. For five years, two more than the time doctors gave her, Naomi battled hepatitis C and survived. Yet, Naomi never gave up hope and her strength git rewarded.
Naomi Judd’s Death
After Naomi survived Hepatitis C, she slowly worked towards returning to her best. She even reunited with her daughter, and they did a couple of shows. However, days before the mother and daughter got inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame, the family announced Naomi’s death.
The news rocked Hollywood because the musician had shown no signs of illness days before her death was announced. The singer died in April 2022 at the age of 75. However, while appearing on Good Morning America, Ashley revealed the shocking news that her mother had committed suicide. According to Ashley:
“Because we don’t want it to be part of the gossip economy, I will share with you that she used a weapon; my mother used a firearm.”
She explained that the family felt uncomfortable sharing the news, but they felt if they did not, someone else would. A day later, Ashley and her sister Wynonna attended “The Judd’s” induction into Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame. They gave an emotional but composed speech about their late mother at the event.
Ashley’s Way of Dealing With the Loss
Naomi’s death changed Ashley’s perspective on what grieving processes entail. The singer and her family were coping with the loss of Naomi each way they could. Speaking about their grieving process, Ashley noted that each of her family members had given each other the dignity to grieve in their individual and respective ways. Ashley stated:
“We can be at the same supper table and recognize, ‘Oh, this one’s in anger, this one’s in denial, this one’s in bargaining, this one’s in acceptance, I’m in shock right now. “
Ashley also explained that they don’t try to control or redirect how anyone should feel at any particular moment. Instead, the singer and her family members have learned to accept their different approaches to grief.
The singer also admitted that she had to let go of her controlling nature and that anyone’s grief needs to look like hers. Ashley stated that she realized it was egocentric to project how someone’s grief should look.
The singer declared she realized that all her feelings were valid and appropriate because it was hers. Therefore, she did not need to add or subtract anything from anyone’s experience.
Grief Brought Ashley Judd and Her Family Closer
Ashely disclosed that she and her stepfather Larry Strickland have gotten close since her mother’s death. After her morning reflection and routine, Strickland would come over to her house since they live next door to each other.
The singer would prepare coffee for her stepfather, and they would talk about Naomi. Sometimes she would cry, or he would cry, and other times they would just talk. Ashely also gave Strickland a journal with which he started practicing writing.
The singer and her sister Wynonna also recently spent time together talking about their late mother and social issues. Ashley stated:
“We don’t have to be congruent in order to have compassion for each other, and I think that that’s a really important grace that family members can hopefully learn to give each other.”
Ashely also reflected on his childhood with Naomi and realized she grew up with a mother who had an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness. The musician also disclosed she now understands that her mother was doing her best to continue living. However, if the late musician could have done anything differently, she would have.
Meanwhile, Ashely hoped that her mother had forgiven herself long ago and before her death. Furthermore, she hoped Naomi did not feel any guilt for any shortcomings regarding her and Wynonna’s upbringing.