It’s complicated. Wynonna Judd said she still has a range of emotions about her mother Naomi Judd’s April death, including a deep anger.
“I got the call, and I went over, and I saw her and I said goodbye to her in the hospital, and I closed her eyes, and I kissed her forehead, and that was that,” Wynonna, 58, told CBS Sunday Mornings in a segment that aired on Sunday, September 25. “And next thing I know, I’m sitting here on the side porch, and I’m just trying to figure out what’s next.”
In August, the autopsy announced that Naomi died at age 76 after a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“Per family, the decedent has had prior suicidal ideations and recent life stressors. A weapon and a note with suicidal connotations were found near the decedent at the scene,” the autopsy noted, revealing that Judd has a medical history of “significant” anxiety, bipolar disorder, chronic idiopathic pneumonitis, hepatitis C, hypertension, hypothyroidism and depression.
She’d struggled with mental illness for decades, and Wynonna explained during her CBS interview that she didn’t realize her mother was feeling so desolate. “I did not know that she was at the place she was at when she ended it, because she had had episodes before and she got better,” the Kentucky native said. “And that’s what I live in, is like, ‘Was there anything I should have looked for or should I have known?’ I didn’t.”
When asked if she held any anger while grieving her mother, Wynonna said she was “incredibly angry” and couldn’t imagine letting that emotion go “for a while.”
Naomi and Wynonna weren’t just mother and daughter; they were singing partners, creating the duo The Judds. The Grammy winners planned a fall tour that the “No One Else on Earth” songstress will embark on with the help of famous friends (including Martina McBride, Brandi Carlile and Kelsea Ballerini, to name a few), but she expects to hold onto her fierce emotions as she plays each concert.
“As I walk out on stage that first night, I’ll probably say something like, ‘It’s not supposed to be like this,’ because it’s not, right?” Wynonna said. “It’s supposed to be the two of us. And I’m gonna be angry because she’s not there.”
Other grudges, however, have disappeared. She and sister Ashley Judd have put aside their differences. “We both kind of look at each other like, ‘I’ve got you,’ right? And we look at each other and we say, ‘Yeah.’ We’re so united right now, I think more so than we have been in a long time,” the artist explained.
Despite her anger, the good memories Wynonna has of her mother keep finding their way back. “She took my hand and she said, ‘My life is better because of you.’ Those are the memories that are starting to come through, more and more,” Wynonna said. “I think when you lose your mother, a lot of that crap goes away, ’cause it doesn’t matter anymore. It just doesn’t.”
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.