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Wynonna Judd says she’s ‘between hell and hallelujah’ as she grieves her mom’s death

The singer spoke to TODAY about continuing to mourn the death of mom Naomi Judd.
/ Source: TODAY

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Wynonna Judd says performing has helped her as she continues to mourn the death of her mother, Naomi Judd.

“I’m somewhere between hell and hallelujah,” she told Hoda Kotb Oct. 24 on TODAY after being asked how she's feeling.

“And these shows are healing me, one show at a time. And all my friends are coming and it’s like the greatest party you throw yourself before the end. I feel like I’m doing a victory lap and the fans are watching me and they’re for me because they grew up with me.”

Naomi Judd died by suicide in April. Wynonna has elected to continue her mother-daughter tour solo and says it’s been gratifying to see all the people come out.

“I’m seeing up to four generations at the shows,” she told Hoda. “It’s a crazy time because it’s not about show business. This is a celebration of life, as well as people going through their own stuff while listening to the songs of what they went through.”

Wynonna also says she is able to power through the pain she feels.

“I will cry and then go right into the next song, and I keep Kleenex right here at all times,” she said, referring to having a tissue inside her shirt, something her mother also used to do.

“Thousands of people are showing up to celebrate with me,” she added about her tour.

Wynonna told Hoda her six-month-old granddaughter, Kaliyah, has helped her stay grounded.

“She doesn't speak yet, but she looks right through me," Wynonna said. "She gives me hope ... so much of what we do is about us, so it's nice to with her because she doesn't care what I look like."

Wynonna also has a strong support system beyond her family.

“I have a grief counselor and a life coach and I call them and I say, ‘I don’t understand why’ and they’ll say, ‘Ask yourself “What? What can you do?”’ she said.

“They help shift me over to another lane and they help me to go, ‘I can do something, even though I feel hopeless right now.’ Instead of asking, ‘Why?’ ask, ‘What? What can I do right this minute to get to the next breath, to the next right thing?’”

Wynonna, who has added tour dates, is performing with Ashley McBryde, Brandi Carlile, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town and Martina McBride. She says having that group of singers around her during this time has been a blessing.

“It’s incredibly overwhelming,” she said. “It's like at a funeral when you have your entire family there and yet you wouldn’t have it any other way, even though it’s the hardest thing to do sometimes, is just to be present and do the next thing that you’re doing, and they’re there to support. Country music is a community.”