Poetry As a Usually means to Negotiate Alzheimer’s and Other Dementia Linked Disorders

Book Critique:

Kakugawa, Frances H. Breaking the Silence: A Caregiver’s Voice. Nevada City, California: Willow Valley Press, 2010.

In spite of hanging achievements of science and engineering, the issues of human life and destiny have not finished, nor have the answers been severely influenced by scientific understanding. Alzheimer’s sickness, which presently affects about 10% of men and women above 65 several years of age and 50% of people more than 85 several years of age, has no remedy. As a lot of as 5.3 million People are now living with the devastating sickness. In accordance to a review, until new treatment plans are created to lower the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease, the amount of persons with Alzheimer’s disease in the United states might increase to 14 million by the stop of the calendar year 2050.

Go through from this qualifications, Frances Kakugawa’s e book, a blend of poetry, story and functional manual, is a recognition of the companies rendered by skilled and voluntary corporations that look for to limit the pangs of Alzheimer’s victims as effectively as the sufferings of their in close proximity to and pricey ones. It pays tribute to caregivers who have been untiringly doing work for creation of a environment without dementia, stroke, or most cancers just as it seeks to support them endure the innumerable crises of caregiving.

Breaking the Silence: A Caregiver’s Voice merges Frances Kakugawa and her poet-colleagues’ different encounters with a broad human point of view, engaging both head and heart. The caregivers seek out to share their compassionate spirit with a sense of gratitude to all these who help the victims of Alzheimer’s condition negotiate their mentally vacant existence. They are not only aware of the sufferers’ sizeable reduction of brain cells or progressive decrease in their capacity to feel, recall, motive, and visualize, or their language troubles and unpredictable actions, confusion, or reduction of sensory processing, but they also know well how the Alzheimer’s victims put up with a type of dwelling dying, turning out to be a mere physique stripped of its humanity. They have been witness to caregiving loved ones members of ever more baffled and helpless victims by themselves generally becoming the disease’s exasperated and exhausted victims:

” Is she the mom who nurtured me?
Is it the dementia taking part in havoc with my intellect?
Or is this really my mother? I really don’t know.”

(‘More Glimpses of a Daughter and Mother’)


“I am torn between two needy factions.
Mom unaware, daughter pushing all boundaries
Both equally out of manage.”

(‘The Sandwich’)

For Frances Kakugawa, caregiving is a mission even as the memory and impression of her Alzheimer’s struck mother persists in her daily life as a “loud presence”. She provides voice to many caregivers who are ever nervous about their liked kinds not even equipped to carry out the easiest tasks and/or are fully dependent on others for their treatment. She expresses the really haunting worry of death:

“Is she breathing? Is she alive?
Is she last but not least gone, freeing me as soon as once more?
I keep on my sentinel enjoy.”

(‘Unspoken Mornings’)

Frances not only articulates their worry but also learns to negotiate it by boldly dealing with it as aspect of lifetime. In fact, she turns the metaphor of demise as integral to everyday living, be it in the type of “an ache of emptiness”, “unfulfilled dreams”, or “unlived times”. In her further silences, she explores the pretty indicating of lifestyle:

“A next gust of wind
Lifts yet another fistful of ashes.
Be however and hear.”

(‘Song of the Wind’)

It is hearing the interior silence, which is a little something meditative, Biblical, and religious. It is awaking to the self, the Holy Spirit, the Divine himself. When the soul peaks into silence, human results in being divine. She seems earnest and remarkable, looking for harmony with the optimum ideals, irrespective of chaotic personalized encounters. As Setsuko Yoshida states in ‘Can I?’:

“Poems by Frances this morning
Expose the feelings of ‘divine’
In caregiving.”

In fact, as ladies poets, Frances Kakugawa and her caregiver colleagues (Elaine Okazaki, Linda McCall Nagata, Eugene Mitchell, and other people) existing a feminine and still really humane perspective to the dementia-related illnesses. Jason Y. Kimura, Rod Masumoto, and Pink Silver, while male poets, display the ‘Prakriti’ or ‘Yin’ factors in rhythm with other contributing caregivers’ sensibility. They variously switch the Alzheimer’s into a metaphor for the reduction of language, the reduction of memory, and the loss of voice. Their poetry, normally short and own, and prosperous and insightful, results in being a signifies to communicate the sufferers’ decline of feeling, adore, dignity, honor, identify, and relationship in shorter, their isolation, or threat to residing alone:

“All my lifestyle I have lived
With crayons in one hand,
Filling in spaces,
Spaces left by departed fans, family members, friends,
Leaving me crayons smashed against walls
Producing extra grief than artwork.”

(‘Empty Spaces’)

They also use the metaphor for problem to endure, to exist, without fears and anxieties:

“I am lady,

(‘Nissei Woman’)


“I am not merely heaven, person and earth
Rooted by cultural hands.
Sift those people sands. Certainly!
I am no cost!
I am tossed into the winds.
I drop my kimonos.
I unfold my legs.
I am free of charge.”

(‘Lesson #3’)


“When I am 88
I will continue to be girl,

(”When I am 88′)


“I am even now below
Assistance me keep on being a human remaining
In this shell of a lady I have become.
In my earth of silence, I am nonetheless below.
Oh, I am nonetheless here.”

(‘Emily Dickinson, I am Somebody’)

They change the Alzheimer’s into a look for for reprogramming the brain, the imagined, and the mind-set to triumph over the irreversible suffering and helplessness. As Frances pretty feelingly asserts: it is the research for

“…the same umbilical twine
That once established me no cost
Now pulls and tugs me back again
To exactly where I had started.
There should be concealed
Someplace a gift really divine
In this journey back.”

(‘Mother Into Baby, Youngster Into Mother’)

They are genuine to them selves as they voice their look for for the whole. With an empathetic awareness, they disclose their innate goodness, believe in, and compassion to make a “symphony of truth of the matter.” At the core of their musing lies a wish to integrate on their own, to stay in time as well as in eternity:

“What other route is there
Other than the divine
Where by enjoy, kindness, compassion,
Help me explore very little parts of myself
That make me smile
Deliver me this sort of quiet joy
At the conclusion of each working day.”

(‘Bless the Divine’)

They reveal the functioning of the primal impulses of the human soul which rises previously mentioned the distinctions of race and of geographical place. In small, they give vent to the believed of all people today in all lands.

As poet-caregivers they cope with their tensions, fears and anxieties through introspection, and accommodate their internal and outer conflicts, sufferings and celebrations through imaginative perception. They mirror the broad social or familial problems as nicely as their have personalized state with perceptions that are usually diverse from people of the male poets (or male caregivers). Their quest is for serious reality vis-à-vis degeneration, privation, insecurity, helplessness, anonymity, and dying. They lookup for everyday living and live with consciousness of what lies beneath the pores and skin of items close to, the psycho-non secular strains, the ethical dilemmas, the betrayals, and the paradoxes:

“Why do you say I am sacrificing
Excellent yrs of my lifestyle
For caring for my mom,
When it should not be a magic formula
That I am really residing
In a way I have hardly ever lived in advance of?

No, this is not sacrifice.
It is just reality.
I am actually dwelling
In a way I have never lived right before.
I am dwelling enjoy.”

(‘What I Know’)

Towards the complexities of ordeals, they demonstrate a perception of values such as like, religion, reality, tolerance, endurance, peace, charity, harmony, humility, and wholesome associations. They are inclined to feel intuitively and/or turn own, inward, spiritward, or Godward, without having indulging in intellectual abstraction. They produce with poetic sensibility. Their metaphors and images replicate their interior landscape as much as their responses to what they notice or experience externally. They are generally reticent and straightforward in their verbal expression, and their internal vibrations contact or elevate the readers’ senses. As they build discourse of themselves as caregivers, they also seem committed to their household, family members, kids, motherhood, and community, normally voicing their individual vision and being familiar with which cuts throughout cultures and regions.

They search for to transcend their overall body or femininity and respect the lady in them selves, even if affected by the Alzheimer’s surroundings. They change inside of out and expose what is own however common in their unique roles as mother, spouse, daughter, and experience the agony of the spirit even though striving to know “Who I am?”, or “How I should are living, who I ought to be”, or “What am I on the lookout for? Why did I occur?”

As they glimpse back or reflect their existing, they also voice the need to have for robust perception of togetherness vis-à-vis their inner conflicts, non secular hunger, loneliness, or dependence. They sound challenging the Alzheimer’s by itself:

“You could not rob us, while we forgot.
You could not erase us, though we could not generate.
You could not silence, although we could not converse.
The tales, the laughter, the moments that passed
Into their continue to keep, you could not steal
Into a night time of silence.”

(‘Hey Alzheimer’s’)

As they fill 1 with hope for ageing with grace and dignity regardless of the problems of loss, they build an different motive and impulse for social action at a pretty particular level:

“Through this deepest darkened evening
I will hold the light
To acquire away all your fears.
Just know I will generally be near.”

(‘To My Mother’)

There is an urge for transforming the circumstance for them selves, or for becoming in peace with oneself. The poets and caregivers of Breaking the Silence request to make a new lifestyle as they rationalize how we ought to live in long run.