Ashely told Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America this morning (5/12), “She used a weapon…my mother used a firearm. So that’s the piece of information that we are very uncomfortable sharing, but understand that we’re in a position that if we don’t say it, someone else is going to.”
She added, “My mother knew that she was seen and she was heard in her anguish, and she was walked home. When we’re talking about mental illness, it’s very important to be clear and to make the distinction between our loved one and the disease,” she said, referring to mental illness. “It’s very real, and it lies, it’s savage.”
Ashley also noted that her family deputized her to discuss her mother’s death to shed light on the disease and shed light on a path for fans who need help.
Ashley told Sawyer that all the adulation of fans and her peers wasn’t enough to fight the disease. She said, “Our mother couldn’t hang on until she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by her peers. That is the level of catastrophe of what was going on inside of her because the barrier between the regard in which they held her couldn’t penetrate into her heart, and the lie the disease told her was so convincing.”
Ashley said of her mother’s final day, “It was a mixed day. I visit with my mom and pop every day when I’m home in Tennessee, so I was at the house visiting as I am every day. Mom said to me, ‘Will you stay with me?’ and I said, ‘Of course, I will.’…I went upstairs to let her know that her good friend was there and I discovered her. I have both grief and trauma from discovering her.”
She also encouraged fans to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) if they need help.