Wynonna and Ashley Judd Make Emotional Tributes to Late Mom Naomi for Mother's Day

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It's been exactly one week since Naomi Judd died. Not enough time has passed to process such tragedy, but Wynona Judd and her sister, Ashley Judd, mustered up the strength to honor their late mom on their first Mother's Day without her.

Ashley penned an emotional op-ed for USA TODAY in which she paid tribute to her mother while also championing women's rights and shining the spotlight on the value of motherhood. Ashley opens her essay with, "This Sunday is abruptly, shockingly, my first Mother's Day without my mamma."

Naomi died last week in Nashville, Tennessee, and just hours before The Judds were scheduled to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame

"It wasn't supposed to be this way," Ashley continues. "I was supposed to visit her on Sunday, to give her a box of old-fashioned candy, our family tradition. We were supposed to have sweet delight in each other's easy presence. Instead, I am unmoored. But my heart is not empty. It is replete with gratitude for what she left behind. Her nurture and tenderness, her music and memory."

In the op-ed, Ashley implores readers to look in the mirror and ask themselves one simple question: "Do we value mothers?"

"Motherhood should always be a choice," she writes. "Does that sound radical to you? Does that sound like I wish my sister and I hadn't been born? If that's what you think, I will gladly direct my incandescent rage at you."

Ashley, who confirmed that "we lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness," says the root of Naomi's mental illness stemmed from "wounds she carried from a lifetime of injustices that started when she was a girl."

Ashley explains that Naomi's "motherhood happened to her without her consent" and that "she experienced an unintended pregnancy at age 17, and that led her down a road familiar to so many adolescent mothers, including poverty and gender-based violence."

Wynonna Judd and Naomi Judd

Wynonna and Naomi Judd

Rick Diamond/Getty Images

The 54-year-old actress closes the essay praising her late mother.

"My mama was a legend. She was an artist and a storyteller, but she had to fight like hell to overcome the hand she was dealt, to earn her place in history," Ashley writes. "She shouldn’t have had to fight that hard to share her gifts with the world."

Ashley continues, "This Mother’s Day, I choose to honor my mama for the person she was, a mother and so much more. And I ask you to honor your own mother, if you are lucky enough to have her. Honor her for more than her labor and sacrifice. Honor her for her talents and dreams. Honor her by demanding a world where motherhood, everywhere, is safe, healthy – and chosen."

On Mother's Day, Wynonna also paid tribute to her mom by posting a throwback photo of herself and Ashley with Naomi. 

"I miss her," she captioned the pic.

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