Thank you, Chris Ridley of Alzheimer’s Association, for hosting my lecture “The Gift of Caregiving.” It was a rainy afternoon, but there is something about Hilo’s rain that brings special people and stories to share.


A woman from the audience came to introduce herself but I finished her introduction.

She said, ‘You were my teacher, my name is Laurie…” and I interrupted, ‘Laurie Kiyota, you were in my first grade class at Waiakea Elementary.” It was so heartwarming to hug her again after more than 50 years. She still had that first grade look on her face, how could I not know her?

I would be fibbing if I said a couple from Sacramento followed me to Hawaii specifically to attend my lecture. Harold and Linda Murai, on vacation from Sacramento, giving up their afternoon to be in the audience.

Kapoho came to me again. A young couple from Japan came to meet the author of Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii. They live in Kapoho, still without electricity and indoor plumbing. When he said, “I wished I could have lived in Kapoho…the Kapoho from your book,” I knew I had met a very special person.

So thank you, all of you who came out on a rainy late afternoon, and to my niece Tammy for capturing moments on her camera.

With Chris Ridley of the Alzheimer's Association Hilo office.

With Chris Ridley of the Alzheimer’s Association Hilo office.

I will be in Hawaii during May and June and in West Covina, CA in July. I hope you’ll drop by to say hello. I’ll also be introducing my new book I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity and Compassion to Alzheimer’s Caregiving.
This is my schedule:

Hilo HI
The Gift and Legacy of Caregiving
Time: 5-6
Site: Aging and Disability Resource Center
1055 Kinoole St, Hilo, HI
Contact: Chris Ridley: 808-443-7360
Sponsor: Alzheimer’s Assoc.

May 23
Maui HI
The Art of Caregiving
Time: 9-11 a.m.
Site: Hale Mahaolu Elima Community Hall
11 Mahaolu St. Kahalui, Maui
Contact: Lynsey Capone: 808-242-8636
Sponsors: Alzheimer’s Assoc

May 30,2015
Hilo HI
Book signing
1:30-2:30 pm
Site: Basically Books
160 Kamehameha Avenue
Ph: (808) 961-0144

July 18
West Covina, CA

Keiro Health Conference
The Art of Caregiving
Time: 8:30- 4:00 (all day conference)
Site: East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Comm. Center
1203 W. Puente Ave
West Covina, CA 91790
Contact: Kanako Fukuyama: (213) 873-5709 direct

To Caregivers: Do check my monthly Dear Frances advice column for caregivers in the Hawaii Herald.

I’m in the news today! In the Hilo newspaper, an article about my upcoming caregiving session at the Aging And Disability Resource Center​ on May 19, 5-6pm. (Call Chris Ridley of the Alzheimer’s Association​ at 808-443-7360 to reserve a seat.)

Hilo article May 19

I will be back in Hilo at the end of the month and will have a book signing and reading at Basically Books​ on May 30 at 1:30pm.

You can find more details on my Event Calendar on my blog. (IMPORTANT: My event calender displays time in California time; click the event to see the correct Hawaii time for the event.)

caregivers capture
the ah-ness of a deep breath
a haiku moment

There is often, a magical process occurring among the caregivers in our poetry support group.
Who would have thought a few minutes devoted to haiku writing would evolve into a
haiku marathon. Within hours, an email arrived with a haiku written by my caregivers.

Their haiku poems which appear below, show what happens when a simple form of poetry is put into the hands of caregivers, post and present, whose minds have no locks. Just as they have taken every aspect of caregiving with diligence, bravery and love, they have taken their pens to still another level of being artfully human. Caregiver Julia Couzens insightfully called haiku writing, “the art of distilling the now.” Ah Basho, Shiki, Buson, are you smiling as you see how this art form has added still another dimension to caregiving. A haiku pause that takes only 17 syllables; a very affordable pause, time-wise, in their busy lives. Here are a few from their incredible spirit…

Is this the last time
We will watch spring unfurling
Or will he remember?

Mary Swisher


She seems unaware.
Will she know that he’s her son?
The answer? Her smile.

Judy Weldon


Caring for Papa
Also working remotely
It must be Friday

Michelle Johnston

The door squeaks softly
A sound “anybody there?”
Morning has started

Penny Manson

Alzheimer’s owned me
Until I picked up my pen
And wrote poems, poems, poems.

Frances Kakugawa

Dear John Letter

 Am having problems posting…a new page jumbles up all my lines…grrrrrr…..

A good friend received a two-line Dear John letter. How to send comfort? I sent him two poems written during my youth.

Dear John







From six separate pages

Of Webster’s Third,

A death more brutal

Than iron and steel.

From The Path of Butterflies by frances kakugawa

A Poem Speaks

I am poem…

Mender of broken souls…

I file the edges of jagged nails,

Torn and clawed by human toil.

I take the salt from human tears

And wash out human pain.

I flow the blood caked deep

Beneath each punctured wound.

I take the weary off their feet,

Washing sand grains between toes.

Come, my child, and walk my shores…

I am poem, mender of human souls.

©Frances Kakugawa

I will be making my first visit to offer a caregiving workshop session on Maui next month. For those of you on Maui (or with family or friends there who could use some insight), please consider attending. Thank you to Lynsey and the Maui chapter of the Alzheimers Association for inviting me.

May 23, 2015 |  9am to 11am
Hale Mahaolu Elima Community Hall | 11 Mahaolu St. Kahului, Maui
(Please park in unnumbered stalls or outside of the housing facility along the road.)
For more information call Lynsey 242-8636 or Kathleen 871-5804

Refreshments provided for attendees
Open to the public. No reservation required.



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