Children’s author Dr. Seuss once said, “To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.” In our latest Kupuna Life, we meet an author who hopes to inspire other caregivers to make memories with their loved ones.
Gerry Yahata watches a room full of kupuna with a warm smile as the seniors enjoy early morning music in Palolo. Yahata understands the importance of group time for the kupuna and alone time for those who care for them.
“No, it’s a not a job,” said Yahata. “It’s important to really to enjoy the experience.”
Five-and-a-half years ago, Yahata made a selfless decision when he took an early retirement to become his mother’s primary caregiver.
“It started with a lot of oh nos,” said Yahata. “Things happen and I just had to realize that these things will happen.”
94-year-old old Kikue was once an independent and strong-willed woman. But as the years went by, she became disorganized, forgetful and a hoarder. Dementia was stealing her identity and personality.
“I love laughing, laughing not at the thing or the situation but to laugh with and to have it and enjoy that process,” said Yahata.
And that process has lead him to writing children books. His latest, “The Spirit in Caregiving” was written with hopes of inspiring and encouraging other caregivers.
“There came a peace that came about and I thought let’s write a book about these share the experiences that I had,” said Yahata. “We initially published or paid for 500 books and I wanted to just to distribute it not to make any money but to share those experiences.”
And those who’ve read it, have laughed with him and cried with him.
“If you can, can and if you no can, no can and so I think that’s a really really important concept to understand that there’s no perfect way and there’s no right way and that you just do the best that you can and always don’t forget to ask for help,” said Darlene Nakayama, Palolo Chinese Home Chief Operating Officer.
Asking for help doesn’t mean failing. It gives you a chance to make more memories.
“Memories are the treasures of the heart and those memories through this process it brings gratitude into your heart,” said Yahata.