"My mind can't help but calculate that on my last birthday, Mom was a scant 11 days from her death by crushing suicide," Ashley recalled.
On April 19, the Berlin Station actress turned 55. She shared a note Naomi wrote, a birth announcement possibly, with an adorable poem penned on it in an Instagram post. "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, referring to Naomi, who tragically took her own life in April 2022, per PEOPLE. "So it is my first without her. I think of her constantly."
Ashley then remarked that she glanced over her baby announcement and recalled Naomi's excitement about telling her about the day she was born every year. "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," Ashley wrote. "I hope all parents do that for their children on their birthdays."
The actress remarked that although she and her country music artist mother shared many memories from birthdays, last year's stuck out in her memory because it was "more muted, being so close to her end."
Ashley shared that last year on her birthday, Naomi and her husband Larry Strickland brought roast chicken and cornbread for her.
Naomi, who had allegedly been battling depression and mental health struggles before her death, took many breaks to lie down while the group of three dined together. "We had cake and in spite of being weak and preoccupied with the disease that was eating at her, she had a gorgeous card for me and I knew, as ever, how much she loved me," she wrote. "I know that today, too, even as she breathes in the infinite mercy of God."
Ashley ended her post by thanking Naomi "for all my birthdays so far, and for celebrating with me," and she recounted how her mother would hug her at bedtime and say, "Ashley, you are an extraordinary woman." She wrote, "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 by saying, "For you, Mom. For you."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Frederick M. Brown