Ashley Judd found another photo of her mom and sister. The snapshot showed a happier time for the three Judd women.
And as she posted the family picture, she also gave her emotionally powerful op-ed another push. She said her mother felt so passionately about the rights of mothers in this country and around the world. And on Mother’s Day, Ashley Judd was thinking about the daily conversations she had with her mom.
“Our mom and I visited every day I was home in Tennessee,” Ashley Judd wrote on Instagram. “And I FaceTimed her every other day or so when I traveled (except when I was in the bush in Congo). We shared widely, especially on all social issues, especially gender, and how her life and walk was affected in every intimate way.
“She said #metoo to me about her childhood. She said #timesup about her restaurant workplaces when we were little. And she was livid about the shape of motherhood. Here are some of my raw reflections and what can and must be done. Mom, thank you for hugging me and telling me I am an extraordinary woman and urging my voice.”
Ashley and Wynonna Judd Lost Their Mom, April 30
Naomi Judd took her own life, April 30. She was 76. Ashley and Wynonna, while not saying specifically what happened with their beautiful mother, said she died of “mental illness.” Naomi had been open about her struggles with depression. Still, her unexpected death shocked the country music world. Earlier in the month, The Judds reunited on stage at the CMT Awards. Naomi and Wynonna sang their classic “Love Can Build a Bridge,” as an animated gospel choir performed with them. The Judds took us to church and it was only a Monday night. There definitely was interest in the concert tour The Judds announced for the fall.
Meanwhile, as Mother’s Day approached Ashley channeled her grief, collected her thoughts and wrote a column for USA Today. She introduced readers to some of her mother’s beliefs and juxtaposed them against the conversation the nation is having about women’s reproductive rights.
Ashley Wrote “Forgive Me If My Grief Isn’t Tidy”
Ashley Judd pointed out that her mom was so young when she became pregnant at 17. For years, Naomi raised Wynonna and Ashley as a single mother, working long hours as a nurse to feed her two daughters.
“Motherhood happened to her without her consent,” Ashley Judd wrote of her mom in the USA Today column. “She experienced an unintended pregnancy at age 17, and that led her down a road familiar to so many adolescent mothers, including poverty and gender-based violence.”
She added: “Forgive me if my grief isn’t tidy,” Ashley wrote. “When I think about my mother, I am awash in the painful specifics. It’s a little easier, this Mother’s Day, to think about mothers in the collective, to wonder whether we value them.”
Ashley Judd works for the United Nations as a Population Fund Goodwill Ambassador.
Ashley Judd wrote that “motherhood should always be a choice. Does that sound radical to you? Does that sound like I wish my sister and I hadn’t been born? If that’s what you think, I will gladly direct my incandescent rage at you.
“My mama was a legend. 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.”