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Tell Me Wy?


It’s been almost two weeks. Depending on when you are reading this – almost a month.


It was Saturday, April 30th around 4pm when my friend Renee called and said she was sorry about Naomi Judd. I didn’t understand what she meant. When she told me, I didn’t believe it was true. When she said Naomi had died, it didn’t make any sense.


Later that day Wynonna and Ashley released a statement saying they had lost their mother to mental illness. Wait a minute! What were they saying? I knew, or at least I thought I did, but I didn’t want it to be true. Unfortunately, it was and is true.


I watched the Judds perform on the CMT awards a couple of weeks prior to this date. Their performance is honestly one of the only reasons I watched. I recorded the show so I could fast forward through the commercial breaks, so when the commercial ran for their upcoming tour, I never saw it.


Renee texted me after the awards show ended and asked if I wanted to go see the Judds when they are in the Atlanta area in the Fall. I was surprised they were touring again. I saw them on their Farewell Tour in December of 1991 in Murfreesboro, TN. It was a great show!


I had already purchased tickets to several shows for the summer – maybe to make up for all the shows I missed over the past couple of years. I was feeling tapped out financially, but I decided to check their schedule to see what day the concert was happening. They were to play Atlanta in October on my birthday! I thought it would be a great way to spend my birthday, so I said yes! I told Renee I would get the tickets the next morning during the presale.


I purchased premium tickets, great seats, the next day. I was really happy to get them so quickly, because I figured they may sell out.


Maybe having tickets to see them soon makes this harder for me to accept and keeps this on my mind. I really don’t think that has much to do with how I feel. I feel devastated. It is so hard to imagine the pain she was in and the fact she shared so much of that pain in her book. I guess I felt, maybe like a lot of folks, she was getting better.


There’s a connection I feel to entertainers from my home state of Kentucky. Some weird sense of a common bond with them even though I haven’t met most of them. I did stand at the bar with Naomi and Wynonna when I first moved to Nashville at a Bonnie Raitt show. We were in the same drink line. Maybe I was in the wrong line, but it definitely seemed surreal. Also, seeing Ashley Judd at Kentucky basketball games felt like a common bond. Kind of silly, I know, but it’s true.


I don’t know how they get past this. The family, I mean. I personally don’t know anyone who committed suicide. I don’t believe I am aware of any of my close friends having someone commit suicide within their immediate circle of families or friends. Maybe it’s something we’ve never talked about, but shouldn’t we? I mean, not talking about uncomfortable things does not make them better or make them go away.


My Mom had Alzheimer’s. It is definitely an uncomfortable situation and no one wants to talk about it. No one knows what to say or do. There is no clear beginning to when it starts and no good ending.


I think the point I am trying to make is anything we don’t understand is uncomfortable and I believe we…any of us…don’t want to talk or deal with the uncomfortable.


Today I was very uncomfortable when I watched Ashley Judd tell Diane Sawyer her mother used a firearm to end her life. Ashley was there and left her mom’s side to let a good friend of Naomi’s in to see her. When she went back to tell her mom her friend was there, she found her. It was such an emotional moment and such a private detail to share, but the family wants to control the narrative and not let someone else release this. They want to be the ones to tell the story. I was uncomfortable because I wanted to do something to help…maybe to stop their pain. I know I can’t and that makes me sad and uncomfortable.


I pray that Naomi is finally at peace. I pray that Ashley, Wynonna and Larry will find peace.


I pray that we all learn how to embrace the uncomfortable.

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