Tales from the Motherland and The Huntingtons Chronicles are two blogs written by the same woman, Dawn Quyle Landau, who hails from the northern-most region of Washington state. Her posts are frequently featured on the Huffington Post.
My friendship with Dawn was sparked when I read one of those posts, in which she mentioned the lack of viral success of any Huntington’s disease awareness campaign.
I wasn’t on the right meds at the time, and (instead of angry verbal outbursts) I was as likely as not to send a long rambling letter expressing my dissatisfaction about one thing or another. It is not a period in my life that I treasure, but I am glad that I wrote one of those letters to Dawn.
Being a pie thrower, I was quick to fill her in on the HD Pie in the Face Challenge and to ask how she could deny that something was being done.
After I pressed the submit button, I reread her blog, realized that she was merely stating the fact that more can be done. I looked for the undo button. There was none, so I wrote another long, rambling comment apologizing for the first comment and explaining my propensity for writing reactionary letters.
I was surprised to find that she completely understood why I did what I did. She was able to separate me from my disease. We have been reading each other’s blogs ever since.
One of the best gifts of my life I received last week when Dawn, who was in my neck of the woods, traveled to New Bern to meet me.
She spoke of HD in her family with the same conflicted emotion with which I spoke of my own. We laid ourselves bare over shrimp and grits and unsweetened tea.
Dawn is barely older than me, and I, having no sisters, imprinted on her like a baby bird and even suggested she move to New Bern.
But Dawn has a wonderful home-base in Washington, and leads a life filled with travel and adventure. The kind of life I’d wish for any friend.
Having someone in my hometown to talk to with firsthand experience with HD who was so open and frank was a first for me. Sitting in a coffee shop, talking about our mothers’ HD seemed like a new normal for me and even though it can’t be with Dawn, I want more of it.
There is a woman that I have met in New Bern who has firsthand experience with HD. Dawn’s visit left me wanting to reach out to this woman and, if and when she is ready, to share the new normal with her:
Feeling understood in our hometown.