Frances H. Kakugawa
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist

Omoiyari . . . Think of others first and good karma will return to you. — Frances H. Kakugawa

A former kindergarten student of mine sent me the following email. She was in my class at Laupähoehoe School, located along the Big Island’s Hämäkua Coast, when I was just starting my teaching career. I must have done something right to have my former student — from kindergarten, incredibly — come to support me after all these years.

Dear Frances,

I met you in Honolulu on Aug. 27, 2016, at Nä Mea Hawai‘i when you read “Wordsworth, It’s In Your Pocket.” I bought two copies of “I Am Somebody” that day and you were so kind to autograph them.

Two of my friends and I have read your book on caregiving and we all LOVED the poems, stories and memories that were shared!! Thank you for compiling the stories into this book. Two of us became emotional as we read the poems and my friend for whom I bought a copy said they were “beautiful” poems. Coming from a male, that was an impressive reaction. He read the book in one night and shared with me his impressions the following day.

Also, I continue to read your articles in The Hawai‘i Herald. I admire how you perceive every day caregiving tasks and take it to a higher level of understanding, giving so much dignity to the responsibilities. Will keep this book for my family to read since we all need to be compassionate and understanding of the needs and feelings of those afflicted with Alzheimer’s.

Once again, thank you! Hope to keep in touch with you.

Sandie Kubota

Honolulu, Hawai‘i

Dear Sandie,

Thank you so much. It’s always so gratifying that something I do can make a difference for others. Please give my thanks to your friend, too — and stay in touch. You continue to touch my heart.


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Frances Kakugawa was her mother’s primary caregiver during her five-year journey with Alzheimer’s disease. A native of Kapoho on Hawai‘i island, she now lives in Sacramento. Frances has melded her professional training as a writer and educator and her personal caregiving experiences to write several books on caring for people with memory-related illnesses. She is a sought-after speaker, both in Hawai‘i and on the Mainland, sharing strategies for caregiving, as well as coping with the stresses of caregiving.


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