Life Is Funny That Way…


There are treasures to be found...

There are treasures to be found…

Recently I learned something that changes virtually everything about how I’ve always seen my childhood, my family, and myself. Like so many things, this shock came entirely unexpectedly. I thought that I was immune to blind sides at this stage; there have been so many– but this one has knocked me on my butt. I’ll write more when I’ve properly dissected and digested it. For now, my head is still spinning and my emotions are raw, as I try to make sense of things that don’t add up the way they once did.

As it were, I had an opportunity to take off for a week… or, however long I wanted, to lick these wounds and start to work through all of this. This is my happy place: in a quiet, Mayberry’ish, Pacific NW town, where people really do know your name; folks walk and say hi when they pass you; bald eagles soar and dive outside my window all day, and there are miles and miles of beaches to walk… in precious solitude. I brought my sweet pup, Gracie, but aside from her, I can pass the entire day with little to no spoken words.

IMG_9469On our first day, we walked 13.5 miles on Sea Glass Beach! I hadn’t had breakfast, and I headed out at 10am without water or food, thinking I’d only be gone a couple of hours. We returned at 4:30. We ran into a brief storm: rain and winds; we had eagles dive down after Gracie (she weighs all of 9 lbs.) and watch us for miles, and I had lots of time to begin processing things. We came back exhausted and hungry, but it was an amazing day on that wondrous beach. The next day, we headed out even earlier, to catch the tides and be the first ones on the beach. This time I had a backpack, food, water and Gracie’s sweater. I walked 16 miles on Sunday (day 2); Gracie wriggled her way into the backpack, after lunch and I carried her over most of the rocky bits, but that little warrior walked beside me for much of the day.

IMG_9511

Monday we were both crippled. My legs and feet would barely hold me and my poor wee dog was limping. It was raining and gusty; I figured it would be the perfect day to catch up on writing and enjoy a full day of quiet. Not to be… because life is funny that way. You can have all the expectations in the world, but life has its own game plan.

Instead, of a quiet, contemplative, restorative day 3, I opened my emails– an after thought– to find that I’ve been named one of BlogHer’s 2015 “Voices of the Year!” (VOTY) I read the message over and over, sure there was a mistake. But there it was:

“We’re thrilled to inform you that your piece, “On My Father’s Birthday: A Letter to the Man Who Killed Him,” was nominated in the Impact category and made it through three rounds and six judges to be selected as one of the top honorees.

We’d love for you to attend the Voices of the Year ceremony at the New York City Hilton at 4:30 pm on Friday, July 17, and of course we hope you can attend the entire conference…”

BlogHer.com

BlogHer.com

I was stunned. I was thrilled. I cried. I cried because I am a believer in signs, and the fact that I, won this incredible award for this particular piece: On My Father’s Birthday, A Letter To the Man Who Killed Him– as I spend this week processing, is magically ironic in more ways than I can presently explain. It was as if my dad reached down and gave me a hug that I desperately needed, at just the right moment. I know that the judges who chose my piece, chose it because it spoke to them, but what so many people read in that piece, or took from it, is so very different from what it means to me. Not even I knew how fragile I would be feeling, a few months later, when that same piece would be acknowledges in such a big way. I believe in “signs.”

And that would have been enough. That piece of incredible news would have been enough to shake my quiet, and keep my stomach filled with butterflies– as I imagine reading my VOTY piece on July 18, in New York City. Butterflies and bats! But there was another email. Huffington Post wrote to let me know that they had published a piece I did about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and my mother’s family’s very painful struggle with Huntington’s Disease. Generally, I’m happy if a HuffPo piece has 30-50 likes, early in the morning on the day it’s published. When I clicked the link the piece already had 456– by bedtime it would reach 1,500!

Seeing great stats is always a perk, as a blogger. There’s no doubt that writing is cathartic for me, that it’s my calling, but I write to see my work read by others, plain and simple. This piece is particularly special to me, as it highlights the lack of support by pharmaceutical companies and big donations, for a genetic disease that is always fatal– and which has claimed the lives of my grandmother, my 49 yr. old aunt, and my mother… so far. However, reading the comments from other people living with HD was truly humbling. This is a disease that doesn’t discriminate: men, women, all races, most ages, can be impacted, and the outcome is always devastating. It was extremely moving to read those comments throughout the day yesterday. While I hope readers of this blog will take a look at my piece (here), I really hope you will scroll down to the comments and show some support for people who really deserve it.

And so, what was to be a quiet, contemplative day of writing and processing, imploded. A constant stream of friends and family wished me congratulations of Facebook; my Twitter account was swamped with messages about HD, the VOTY award and new followers. My email pinged all day, with messages, and my head was swimming in the attention my work had brought, the distraction and the deluge of emotions I felt.

I came to this special place, this haven, to dig in old places and find some answers. I’m picking at scabs. The fact that my day was disrupted by a convergence of the two worlds: my mother’s and my father’s, that I’m trying to make sense of, is a cosmic nudge that I can’t ignore. The dichotomy of these two people who impacted my life in such enormously different ways is something I need to work through. As I unravel old threads and figure out how to make sense of it all, I have to remember that there is no one answer; there is no single truth.

Today the sun is out again. I have reclaimed my silent contemplation: I’m writing and thinking, and later I’ll walk some more. My legs have recovered and I’m stronger. I’m still digging in old places– there’s no expiration date for grief, and growth should last a lifetime. It took two emails to remind me that life is full of beauty and grief, struggle and growth, rewards and losses; it is full of love. Two emails reminded me that while it may take some time, I’m ready to heal… Life is funny that way.

*     *     *

GIPYHelp Me Reach My Goals! I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 700 likes in 2015. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, where I’m forced to be brief. Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
This entry was posted in Aging, Awards, Awareness, Beautiful places, Blogging, Honest observations on many things and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Life Is Funny That Way…

  1. Wow, that is incredible. Congratulations. You get a “like” from me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shivangi says:

    wow….great….congrats. Hope you keep writing such wonderful blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Valery says:

    Thy cup truly overrunneth… but you’ve always had such a knack for knowing just how to handle it all with Grace and style. Hugs to you, Dawn – for so many different reasons! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t mean this lightly: it’s all good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    Congratulations on your successes! They are well-deserved, and it sounds like they came at just the right time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mike Lince says:

    I love following the many accomplishments and milestones you achieve through your writing. I also learned something about me following you that I did not realize before. You wrote, ‘I write to see my work read by others, plain and simple.’ It struck home for me that your words are not just compelling blog stories of your life like some people would put into a diary or a journal. You express your thoughts and feelings through words artistically woven into stories that MUST BE READ.

    While it is a treat to recall moments we have shared, it is equally a treat to anticipate your posts and to absorb all the delicious details you craft into compelling stories — stories that must be read. And I do read. – Mike

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike… I’ve said it all, but each time I read one of your comments, I am nearly moved to tears. You are such a lovely supporter of my writing, and so very kind. It means the world, and I appreciate all of your effort. Thank YOU! xox

      Like

  7. Congratulations! This is so amazing to hear! I’ll be taking a look at both those pieces right after this comment. I’m so glad to see that it was all a happy ending – a small pessimistic side of the Duck was ready to siren for encroaching bad news further on into the post when you said your one quiet peaceful writing day was disrupted – thunder the heavens, what else could it be?!

    Plus, it’s quite astonishing for you to have walked all of 29.5miles in two days..I stand in heels all day and my toes are bruised. Life is indeed so very funny that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was so excited to see your name on the VOTY list, and I CANNOT WAIT to meet you in NYC!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I felt the same way when I saw yours. It was so deserved, Katrina. That piece that won, is one of my favorite (ever) of yours… So raw and vulnerable, just beautiful! We’re gonna have a blast!! (and I happen to know THE best donut place in NYC!! Trust me… ) 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. wildbilbo says:

    Congrats 🙂 Recognition of your writing is encouraging, and in your case well deserved. I think the articles I’ve read of yours are exceptionally well written and frequently heartfelt.

    Growth & healing are painful, take time, but are necessary. Good luck in ‘digesting’ your recent issues.
    Cheers
    KT

    Like

    • Thanks KT. It’s always special when FF friends “crossover!” it’ is avery exciting time for me, even as I face some giant challenges. As you pointed out, it’s necessary… not easy, but necessary. I have a feeling there are very good things on the other side. 😉 Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. 2015 is a year of change and transformation. It sure is underway for you, and I’m thrilled to follow your successes. Holding a space for you for your healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Honie Briggs says:

    Healing will be its own reward, but I am with all of the other well wishers…congratulations, Dawn. Validation has a way of sweetening the pot, doesn’t it? BTW, I love the tulip shot in your header.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Honie/Steph…I’m never sure which to use, as I see you as both. 😉 Validation IS important… I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. That said, this writing, this bleeding on the page I do, deserves some attention I suppose, and I’m grateful for every comment, every kind word.

      As for the personal work… it’s just so very hard. I really do believe that it will all be better. I see that silver lining, but getting there is epically hard. Thanks for the support; it is, as always, much appreciated. xo

      Like

    • PS) the tulip shot is one of MANY I took about a month ago, just 20 minutes south of where I live. The annual tulip festival (which is just ending) here, is one of the biggest in the world! I love going to see the fields each year!

      Like

  12. Cathy Ulrich says:

    May your healing continue as you recognize the awesomeness that you are, Dawn. Congratulations.

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Dawn, Your writing is so inspirational to me! You always have the perfect words to fit the occasion. Your stories are so moving! Congratulations on your well deserved awards! Nan

    Liked by 1 person

  15. storydivamg says:

    Dear Dawn,
    Thanks so much for sharing your world the way you do. And congratulations on your recent accomplishments. They are as well deserved as they have been hard earned.

    Peace be with you,
    MG

    Liked by 1 person

  16. hbksloss says:

    How wonderful I that all the work and effort you have put into your writing is being recognized. Your story is inspiring! I love your posts as they help me think through things in my life, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You deserve all this recognition and more for your talented writing.
    Hope you’re finding your inner peace, Dawn.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ruth Lerner says:

    This is so terrific, Dawn. Congratulations on these latest successes. I’m very, very proud of you. You’re writing future is getting brighter and brighter. Love you, Ruth

    Ruth Lerner

    On Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 5:17 PM, TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND wrote:

    > talesfromthemotherland posted: ” Recently I learned something that > changes virtually everything about how I’ve always seen my childhood, my > family, and myself. Like so many things, this shock came entirely > unexpectedly. I thought that I was immune to blind sides at this stage; > there “

    Like

  19. Katalina4 says:

    Wonderful news!!! Great stuff. So happy for you 🙂

    Like

  20. Congratulations, Dawn, both for your VOTY award and for the terrific response to your piece on how Huntington’s Disease affected your family. I hope all works out well for you. You’ve have so many ups and downs. I hope there are mostly ups for you in future. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Like

  21. sara says:

    Wow Dawn, just wow. What a day! What a week! I must say I am intrigued as to what bought you to sea glass beach in the first place…

    Like

    • I’ll probably write about this at some point, Sara, but for now, it’s too raw and difficult. I’m working out some very tough stuff, but I’m confident that things will be much better on the other side. Thanks for taking the time to read and ask. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Doesn’t that often coincide in life, Dawn – the highest of thrills and the hardest challenges. I wish you the best in every aspect of your life. Congratulations on your award! Your writing touches people deeply: it’s not just a writing skill, although you have that, it comes from a compassionate heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. susanissima says:

    Congrats, Dawn! Your hard work and talent are paying off in spades. Bravo!

    Like

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