It’s been a very busy few days for Bill and me. As part of a tour, we left Florence yesterday for a night in beautiful Cortona, Italy. Our day was broken up by stops at a couple of wineries. We are going to visit a couple more places today, then head back to Florence for another night. Tomorrow morning, we will make our way to Vaduz for our last two nights of this vacation. It’s been a rather epic trip. I look forward to writing the whole story about it when we get home. I also look forward to sleeping in my own bed and seeing my dogs.
I hadn’t actually wanted to go on this trip, but it’s turned out to be pretty awesome, for the most part. I’m glad Bill convinced me. It just struck me how weird that sounds… my husband had to convince me to travel to Italy! But, in the wake of all of the crazy and bad stuff happening in the world, yes, it’s understandable why someone might be reluctant to go out and live it up. I think we’ve all been having hard times lately, although some people have definitely had it much worse than others have.
Last night, I read the very sad news about Naomi Judd, of The Judds. Ashley and Wynonna Judd both posted:
“Today we sisters experienced a tragedy. We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness,”
“We are shattered. We are navigating profound grief and know that as we loved her, she was loved by her public… We are in unknown territory.”
Naomi’s husband, Larry Strickland, also gave a statement: “Naomi Judd’s family request privacy during this heartbreaking time. No additional information will be released at this time.”
Like most others who have written about this news, the assumption is that Naomi Judd may have taken her own life. But that has not been confirmed, at this writing. When I heard the news, I was immediately reminded of The Judds’ story about their hardscrabble existence in eastern Kentucky. Wynonna and Ashley are a few years older than I am, so I could relate to them in the way I relate to my sisters. I admired how talented all three women were, and how they made it in the very difficult world of entertainment.
I remember reading about Naomi Judd’s work as a nurse before she became a star. Later, in 1991, she temporarily gave up performing because she had contracted Hepatitis C. I even remember reading a letter she wrote to the editors at People Magazine about her illness. She mentioned in the letter that she had been a nurse, and her statement came from a place of knowledge as a healthcare provider. That was impressive to me on yet another front. She never forgot her roots, which made her seem like someone with depth and character.
I also recall that the Judds had a reality show at one point, which highlighted the sometimes difficult relationships she had with her daughters. I also know that Wynonna’s own daughter, Grace Pauline Kelly, also had serious issues with drug addiction and spent some time in prison. She was apparently released last year. Her son, Elijah, seems to have been less troubled. He got married to his longterm girlfriend in 2020.
I never got to see the Judds perform, but I did see Wynonna at a short concert at an Army ball back in 2003. I have always respected the talented duo, and their music always brings back a lot of memories for me in my younger days. I don’t know what specific issues led to Naomi’s death, but I always thought of her as a very beautiful and gifted lady. I know she served as a role model to so many people, especially given how they all made it against the odds. Naomi, Wynonna, and Ashley were a feminine force to so many of us who grew up during the time when they were huge stars. They seemed to flourish together. I know her family is heartbroken to lose her.
Anyway, I’m sure we’ll hear more about what happened and why… not that it matters that much to anyone, except to satisfy their curiosity. Naomi was a beautiful, gifted woman, and my heart goes out to all who loved her. She gave a lot to the world and her legacy will continue every time someone listens to her sing.
As for me… I can chalk this up to one more celebrity who has passed away while I’ve been living in Europe. I’ve been over here when a lot of the world’s biggest stars have moved on to the next realm…Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, Prince, Aretha Franklin, etc. Now I can add Naomi Judd to the list. This may seem like a strange comment to make, but then, I’m kind of a strange person. 😉
I’m kind of ready for this trip to wind down. I love traveling, and vacations are always fun for me, but I’m also a bit of an introverted homebody. So this excursion will probably hold me for awhile until I need another trip.
2 thoughts on “Rest in peace, Naomi Judd…”
My friend Juan Carlos Hernandez, the character actor/film director who is in “Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss,” was a supporting cast member in a movie titled “High Crimes.” Naomi’s daughter Ashley is the female lead, and she is billed above Morgan Freeman. Juan has nothing but praise for Ms. Judd, which is a tribute to Naomi’s skills as a parent and a human being.
Although I have never read “River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope,” Naomi’s death was, more likely than not, self-inflicted. Someone on Facebook said last night that it was a result of her Hepatitis C (this was, of course, in the comments section of an article about Ms. Judd’s death), but apparently, she did not read the article or its headline. I think it might have been a side effect of antidepressants; when my mom was prescribed medication for acute depression back in 2013, she also had suicidal thoughts and the meds had to be changed.
I’m glad you are enjoying your trip to Italy. I know you are having an enjoyable time, but I also know how happy you’ll be when you get back home to your own bed and your two “boys.”
Yeah, it does sound like Naomi Judd’s death was caused by suicide, but I try not to speculate about such things unless I know. I took Prozac for a few months and, to be honest, I did have some problems with side effects, to include suicidal ideation. I was a lot better when I switched to Wellbutrin. In fact, that was like a miracle cure for me. Sometimes, I wish I still took it.
In any case, I hope Naomi is now at peace, wherever she is. Mental illness is definitely no joke.