At Live Talks Los Angeles, Diane Ladd and Laura Dern shared a profound mother-daughter journey about a near-death experience that opened the doors within to deeper sharing and greater love.
By John Lavitt
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 5/12/23 – Live Talks Los Angeles delivers another insightful exploration into the minds, hearts, and souls of talented human beings with an exchange between Diane Ladd and Laura Dern. An international award-winning actress, Diane Ladd has received a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Women of the Year award. She also is a three-time Oscar and three-time Emmy nominee, having appeared in more than 187 film and television shows. Her daughter Laura Dern is an award-winning actress, producer, and activist with an Academy Award, an Emmy, and five Golden Globe Awards on her mantlepiece. Together, they are a family powerhouse.
Talking about the genesis of their new book, Honey, Baby, Mine: A Mother and Daughter Talk Life, Death, Love (and Banana Pudding), the mother and daughter spoke with writer Cleo Wade about their coming together to create the new work. Starting with a proposed tragedy, it ended in triumph. Poisoned by pesticides sprayed near her home, Diane Ladd came awfully close to death. The family doctor told her daughter, Laura Dern, to treat her gently: The frail lady of classic Hollywood fame only had six months to live. The medical establishment claimed her lungs had been damaged beyond repair. Asking the doctors what she could do to help her mom, Laura Dern was told that walking was essential to fill the gasping woman’s lungs with fresh air.
However, the exertion exhausted Diane Ladd. Drained of her strength by the modern poisons, she did not feel up to taking long walks. Knowing she had to distract her mother from such difficulties, she shared the unspoken with her. Indeed, they both revealed the stories of their lives they had never told each other. Even though the two had always been close, so much always passes unsaid between a parent and a child. Ranging from love and marriage to divorce and art, the conversations while walking proved to be a revelation.
Breaking down traditional barriers, they came to realize that what they were discussing needed to be put down on paper. However, would they find the time to finish? Four years later, with the book published, Diane Ladd is not only still alive: She is thriving on a book tour with her daughter. It could be said that expressing the truth set her free and opened her body to healing. With her death sentence in the distant past, she celebrates the healing power of the unspoken.
Indeed, at Live Talks Los Angeles, Diane Ladd was on fire with passion and wit. Talking about how pain and love often mix in our chests, she said, “We give love to our partners and milk to our children, but we too often keep the grief within our hearts.” By keeping the grief within, by not processing loss, human beings suffer so much more than necessary.
As a result of such suffering in the past, she learned that people need to “listen not just with your ear but with the ear of your heart.” Hence, you find the courage to love selflessly and listen with genuine compassion. Concerning the journey taken with her daughter, “It was a scary time. We walked to walk through the fear, and we found each other while taking that walk.”
Amazed by her mother, Laura Dern basked in her presence. She celebrates her mother’s revival by honoring her history and their journey together. An essential lesson that Laura Dern learned in life was to keep her eyes on her own paper and focus on her own work. Like her mother, she believes that if you persevere, you continue to grow and evolve. Ultimately, for both mother and daughter, the perseverance of evolvement is the essence of life.