Ashley Judd Marks First Birthday Without Mom Naomi In Emotional Instagram Tribute

“I think of her constantly.”

Ashley Judd and her mother singer Naomi Judd

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Ashley Judd turned 55 this week, but the birthday was a milestone for another reason, too: It was the first birthday she celebrated without her mother, singer Naomi Judd

Naomi, one half of the Grammy-winning duo The Judds, died on April 30, 2022 by suicide after a prolonged battle with severe depression. The tragedy hit the family just one day before The Judds were set to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame

To mark the bittersweet occasion, Judd shared a reflective message on social media. “My birthday. Everyone who loves me is making it as soft (cake in bed) and precious as they can, as my mind can't help but calculate that on my last birthday, Mom was a scant 11 days from her death by crushing suicide. So it is my first without her,” she wrote in a caption, adding, “I think of her constantly.” 

The photo Judd shared on Instagram was of a handwritten announcement sharing the news of her birth. “I am looking at my baby announcement & sitting with her tender joy in sharing about me,” Judd shared.

She also recounted the birthday rituals she and her mother shared.  “I am recalling her annual rite of recounting to me the day of my birth, all the details that were so precious to her. During my birthday at some point she would glow, patting my arm, ‘you were brown when you came out, surprised me so, and the sweetest, easiest I loved you, I had to swat peoples` hands, they wanted to touch you,’ and patter on about my baby stories,” Judd wrote in the caption. “I hope all parents do that for their children on their birthdays.”

Judd also shared some childhood memories of birthdays past: “We celebrated so many together with my Chosen Family: picnics, running charades, Smoky Mountains, conversations about parenting (‘when we know better, we do better’) social issues, & laughter scatter like sunlight in my memory.”

Since Naomi passed away just a few days after her birthday last year, Judd couldn’t help but look back at the last birthday they spent together. “Last year`s, as you might imagine, was more muted, being so close to her end,” Judd shared. “Pop and she came over with a roast chicken and cornbread, and we shared a small meal, the 3 of us. Mom laid down a lot. We had cake and in spite of being weak and preoccupied with the disease that was eating at her, she had a gorgeous card for me and I knew, as ever, how much she loved me. I know that today, too, even as she breathes in the infinite mercy of God.” 

“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,” Judd wrote, thanking her mother. “What more does a birthday girl need, than memories of a mother like that? And this is how she saw and loved me, first awake, hair never brushed, ready to share our dreams. For you, Mom. For you.”

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