Ashley Judd spoke about losing her mother Naomi Judd to suicide in an emotional new interview with grief expert David Kessler for the “Healing with David Kessler” podcast.
Ashley shared, according to People: “I look back on my childhood and I realize I grew up with a mom who had an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness.
“And there are different behavioural expressions, interactions, flights of fancy, choices that she made that I understand were an expression of the disease and I understand that and know that she was in pain and can today understand that she was absolutely doing the best she could, and if she could have done it differently, she would have.”
Ashley said that over the years she’s realized she “didn’t cause” her mother’s illness, “couldn’t control it” and “couldn’t cure it.”
Naomi passed away on April 30 at age 76.
“My most ardent wish for my mother is that when she transitioned, she was hopefully able to let go of any guilt or shame that she carried for any shortcomings she may have had in her parenting of my sister and me. Because certainly on my end, all was forgiven long ago, all was forgiven long ago,” she said.
Ashley also discussed the language used surrounding suicide and how the word “committed” should no longer be used.
“‘Committed’ [suicide] comes from this hierarchy of punitive transgressions, and committed to an institution or an asylum,” Ashley said. “And I believe that the person who suffers from mental illness, they are trying to have some relief or escape from something that perhaps we cannot fathom or conjure or imagine for ourselves, and how fortunate are we.”
Recalling the time her mom gave a little girl her first-class plane seat before later learning that she was on a Make-A-Wish trip, Ashley insisted, “She managed to keep a lot going for herself even while I saw what was going on behind the scenes at home.
“And it was exceedingly torturous for her.”