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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, January 3, 2009

Learn to accept what life gives you

By Takashi Omiya

At a recent AARP Caregiver Conference, a poem found on the Alzheimer's message board was read during the opening address.

"I NEED YOU"

I need you

Do not ask me to remember,

Do not try to make me understand,

Let me rest and know you're with me,

Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I'm confused beyond your concept,

I am sad and sick and lost,

All I know is that I need you,

To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me,

Do not scold or curse or cry,

I can't help the way I'm acting,

Can't be different, though I try.

Just remember that I need you,

That the best of me is gone.

Please don't fail to stand beside me!

Love me till my life is done.

As a caregiver, it reminds me of my 83-year-old wife saying silently what is in her heart.

It reminds me to try to be patient and kind the teaching of the Christian faith of love. It reminds me to speak softly and clearly with a gentle voice the teaching of the Buddhist faith of saying "pure and beautiful words." It reminds me to accept the things I cannot change.

What motivates me is my wife's expression of gratitude. She says "thank you" many times for the little things I do to keep her comfortable.

I believe she embraces the 2008 slogan of the Honpa Hongwanji Mission temples, "Embraced by the vow in gratitude."

I also embrace this slogan for the support and kindness given us.

Our family members, relatives and friends provide food for lunch or dinner, our neighbor cuts our lawn grass and hedge, and he brings our rubbish cart up a driveway more than 100 feet. I'm thankful to our God who has kept me healthy and strong for 82 years.

Each day is a blessing for my wife and I in our golden years. Let us observe gratitude not for just one day

but make it part of our daily lives to express our gratitude for our many blessings.

What motivates caregivers? Is it a legacy of compassion, doing from the heart, or the teaching of our religious faith?

Mohandas Gandhi studied different religious scriptures and found commonality among many religious teachings.

May the teachings of your religious faith guide you to happiness and a good life.

Takashi Omiya is a member of Aiea Soto Mission and Pearl City Hongwanji Mission. Expressions of Faith is a column that welcomes submissions from pastors, priests, lay workers and other leaders in faith and spirituality. E-mail faith@honoluluadvertiser.com or call 525-8035. Articles submitted to The Advertiser may be published or distributed in print, electronic or other forms.