In order to grieve for her mother, Ashley Judd had to overcome trauma.

Ashley Judd says she sometimes gets “winks” or “small nudges” from her late mother. Following those soft instincts, Judd has made her way to the Walgreens greeting card aisle, where she will pause, peruse the cards addressed to her daughters, and select the one her mother, singer and songwriter Naomi Judd, would have selected. “I did that for Christmas, you know. During my birthday, I do it. And I choose the one that I would have given her for the holidays,” Judd reminisced in a recent interview for his podcast “All There Is” with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. In the more than 20 months since her mother’s suicide at the age of 76 in 2022, Judd has undertaken a great deal of healing work. “I refer to the area where trauma, bereavement, and transcendence converge as the braid,” Judd said. “I believe I’ve learned a lot about grief and I get along well with it now.

That does not imply a pass for me. Although there is a shorthand, it does not imply that there is a shortcut. It’s a shortened version of what Judd has discovered to be the courage she needs to deal with the hurt she felt as a child and when her mother died. “I believe that we are, at least intellectually, somewhat prepared for the loss of a parent. Judd said to Cooper, “I also knew that she was suffering and that she was walking around with a mental illness.” However, that didn’t exactly get her ready. “My mother died by suicide, and I found her, so it was a traumatic and unexpected death,” the woman remarked. “And so, my grief followed the trauma in lockstep, creating this catastrophic dynamic.” Judd claimed she had to deal with her trauma before she could start grieving for her mother. “Trauma and sadness are not the same thing.

The trauma is persistent and invasive; it emerges without warning. It is not within our control. It’s an unprocessed memory that roams freely in the brain, capturing our attention and requiring correct storage, according to Judd. “Grief is a normal, organic human process with stages that naturally occur and pass with time.” Judd sought assistance in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy in the months following her mother’s passing. EMDR therapy is an evidence-based treatment that can help lessen the unpleasant feelings connected to traumatic situations.

In all honesty, Judd admitted, “I had to work my ass off.” “For three months, all I did was drag my bones over there twice a week to work on my trauma.” Judd added that her anguish came next. A year after my mother passed away, I actually went through the shock phase again, which is the initial stage of grieving. You know, I would be doing anything, like cleaning the dishes or working on my second book, and I would feel as though I had just entered the room again. According to Judd, she is still grieving her mother, but in new ways. She feels her mother’s energy in family customs, such as playing charades during the holidays, and grins when she discovers a folded Kleenex left in one of her mother’s pockets.

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