Something very special happens whenever I’m among caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and my session for the Hawaii Child and Family Services, Gerontology Department was no different.
Valorie Taylor of CFS and their sponsor, 15 Craigside (a continuing care retirement community), turned out the Aloha Mat with style.
Rod, a caregiver for his mother, attends all my sessions in Honolulu, and greeted me with a white ginger lei, Hawaiian style. Then he put his hand out and fixed my hair. He shook his head in embarrassment and added, “That was automatic. I’m always fixing my mother’s hair and when I saw your hair sticking out, I just had to fix it. Maybe I should carry a hair brush with me the next time I attend your session.” Yes, caregivers are a special group of people.
The session ended with participants writing and sharing their poems, followed by a bento lunch complimentary of 15 Craigside. I felt at home with flower leis and gestures of aloha. Thank you everyone who was at the session.
My publisher, Watermark Publishing, donated sets of my books, including Kapoho; Mosaic Moon; Teacher, You Look Like a Horse!; Wordsworth the Poet and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz to CFS and to 15 Craigside as resources for their communities, and I presented them to Howard Garval, president & CEO of CFS, and Suzie Schulberg, COO of 15 Craigside, before my presentation.
I read several poems from Mosaic Moon and Breaking the Silence and talked about how to preserve dignity in those we care for. Here is a recording of one of the poems I read, “Oscar Time.” There will be more videos later, as my publisher edits them.