In a heart-wrenching yet inspiring tale, actress Ashley Judd opens up about her path from trauma to grieving, shedding light on the intricacies of healing after the loss of her mother, the renowned singer and songwriter Naomi Judd.
For Ashley, the presence of her late mother lingers in subtle signs, what she fondly calls “winks” or “small nudges.” These cues guide her to the greeting card aisle at Walgreens, where she selects cards that her mom would have chosen for her on special occasions, like Christmas and birthdays.
In a recent conversation with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on his podcast “All There Is,” Ashley Judd delves into the healing journey she embarked on in the more than 20 months since her mother’s tragic death by suicide at the age of 76 in 2022.
Ashley describes a unique intersection of trauma, grief, and transcendence, referring to it as “the braid.” Through this lens, she navigates the complexities of grief, emphasizing that her grief is intertwined with trauma, making the process challenging and dynamic.
“The death of a parent is something for which we, at least conceptually, have some kind of preparation,” Judd explained. However, the unexpected and traumatic nature of her mother’s death added an unparalleled layer of complexity to her grieving process.
Drawing on her newfound courage, Ashley Judd addresses the distinction between trauma and grief, highlighting the intrusive and iterative nature of trauma and the natural, organic process of grief with its self-resolving stages over time.
Seeking support, Judd turned to eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in the immediate aftermath of her mother’s passing. This evidence-based treatment helped her process the negative emotions associated with traumatic events.
Reflecting on her therapeutic journey, Judd acknowledges the dedication required to confront and overcome trauma. “I had to work my ass off,” she said, describing the rigorous efforts she invested in EMDR therapy.
Her grief, a natural part of the human experience, followed its own course. Ashley Judd candidly shares her re-experience of the shock, the initial stage of grief, a year after her mother’s death, emphasizing the waves of emotion that surfaced unexpectedly.
As she continues to grieve, Ashley finds solace in discovering folded tissues in her mother’s pockets and cherishing family traditions, like playing charades during the holidays. She believes in remembering individuals for how they lived, emphasizing that the circumstances of their death are just a part of a more comprehensive narrative.
In Ashley’s reflections, her mother’s spirit resides in the vastness of consciousness in the mind of God, surrounded by the mysteries that once fueled her daydreams. She recalls her mother’s unwavering ability to rise and greet her, even in the depths of depression, leaving an enduring image of love and resilience.
Ashley Judd’s poignant journey serves as a testament to the strength found in confronting trauma, embracing the complexities of grief, and ultimately finding solace and resilience in the memories of a loved one.
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