The loss of Naomi Judd on Saturday, April 30 sent shockwaves through the country music industry, but Wynonna Judd and sister Ashley Judd made sure to honor their mother in the best way they knew how. Just one day after her death by suicide, they stood onstage at the Country Music Hall of Fame induction.
While Wynonna was being celebrated alongside her late mother for their contributions to country music, it was Ashley who did most of the talking for the family. Visibly sobbing, Ashley addressed the crowd, “My mama loved you so much — and I’m sorry that she couldn’t hang on until today.” The actress bowed her head and took a deep breath to gather her thoughts before adding, “Your esteem for her and your regard for her really penetrated her heart, and it was your affection for her that did keep her going in the last years.”
Wynonna kept her remarks brief, saying, “I didn’t prepare anything tonight because I knew mom would probably talk the most.” She made a face in acknowledgment that her mom was the chatty one of the duo while the audience broke the sad tension with a much-needed laugh. She continued, “I’m gonna make this fast, because my heart’s broken, and I feel so blessed. It’s a very strange dynamic, to be this broken and this blessed.”
Wynonna made a promise to “continue to sing” in the future even though her beloved mother would no longer stand beside her on that stage. It was obvious how painful the moment was for Ashley and Wynonna, but they knew their mother deserved to be honored by them and their music-industry peers for the legacy she left behind.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Before you go, click here for a look back at Naomi Judd’s life and career in photos.