The 57-year-old GRAMMY-winning musician spoke publicly for the first time since Naomi died on April 30, ahead of the emotional closing performance of "Love Can Build a Bridge."
“It’s so strange in a way to be here, but it seems so natural,” Wynonna said after Brandi Carlile, who performed the hit with her, left the stage. “I lived my life publicly since I was 17 so it feels natural to be with my family of choice. Tonight is a celebration. And at the same time, I can’t put into words how devastating. It's the first place I've been publicly.”
She added, “I said goodbye to her two weeks ago, kissed her on the forehead. Her eyebrows were still perfect. She was unlike anyone in our family, and I miss her so much. But I will continue to sing. I said I would.”
Wynonna went on to announce that she would “honor” her mother and continue the tour. “So, I made a decision, that after a lot of thought, I’m gonna have to honor her, I'm gonna do this tour, because that’s what you would want. And mama once told me ‘Give them what they want. Not what you want.’” she said to the sounds of applause from the crowd.
Wynonna was overcome with emotion as she prepared to sing out the ceremony with the closing verse of the ‘90s hit.
“So tonight, as we close. I say the show must go on. As hard as it may be, and we will show up together. And you will carry me as you carried me for 38 years, once again. Because I honestly didn’t think I could do it,” Wynonna said.
“I didn’t know if I could go on without her. Life is so strange, it’s so devastatingly beautiful what happened here tonight so we will continue. That’s what she would want, right?”
Wynonna, who opened the show with a performance of "River of Time" was joined by the choir of the family’s church and the audience as she sang “Love Can Build a Bridge,” as the ceremony ended. Earlier in the program, Wynonna, Ashley and Naomi's husband, Larry Strickland, thanked the crowd, performers and fans for honoring the musician.
In April, Wynonna and Naomi took the stage for the first time in over 20 years, at the CMT Music Awards. Following the performance, the duo announced that they were going on tour in the fall.