Ashley Judd has marked her 55th birthday, the first without her late mother Naomi Judd, with a reflective Instagram post.
The milestone was bittersweet for the “Double Jeopardy” actress, bringing back memories of the country superstar, who died by suicide in April last year after a long battle with anxiety and depression.
On Wednesday, Judd shared a lengthy tribute alongside a photo of a handwritten birth announcement that her mother sent out to friends and family shortly after she was born, and a snap of herself celebrating her big day this week with a birthday cake.
“My birthday. Everyone who loves me is making it as soft (cake in bed) and precious as they can, as my mind can’t help but calculate that on my last birthday, Mom was a scant 11 days from her death by crushing suicide,” she wrote. “So it is my first without her. I think of her constantly.”
Judd shared memories of past birthdays, including “picnics, running charades, Smoky Mountains, conversations about parenting.”
“I am recalling her annual rite of recounting to me the day of my birth, all the details that were so precious to her,” she wrote. “During my birthday at some point she would glow, patting my arm, ‘you were brown when you came out, surprised me so, and the sweetest, easiest baby….how I loved you, I had to swat peoples’ hands, they wanted to touch you,’ and patter on about my baby stories. I hope all parents do that for their children on their birthdays.”
The screen star — who lost her mother days after her birthday last year — revealed that the weight of Naomi Judd’s mental illness meant their festivities were “more muted” a year ago.
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Judd signed off by thanking her mother “for all my birthdays so far, and for celebrating with me,” and recalled the way the singer would tell her, “Ashley, you are an extraordinary woman.”
“What more does a birthday girl need, than memories of a mother like that? And this is how she saw and loved me, first awake, hair never brushed, ready to share our dreams,” she concluded. “For you, Mom. For you.”