I met an elderly Japanese woman during my stay in Hawaii, through a Kimono wearing class, that she had hosted at an art building/ center in Manoa. I am lucky to have spotted that advertisement in the local newspaper, as you will see……………………….
The ladies were chatting away wildly, like young honey bees, about their beautiful Kimonos, I looked around to find myself to be the only Asian Indian American in that rendezvous.
There was chaos in excitement, and when my turn came to try on the kimono, it was the most exhilarating experience, to know that the kimono was as intricate and delicate as the elderly!
I paraded around in sheer delight, but no photos, as none of us had a mobile phone. It was 2003 summer.
When it was time to leave, the elderly Japanese woman named J S presented me with a cotton kimono, which is still my cherished possession. We became friends, went to local concerts in the evening at times, and one evening she called me to her home on the 9th floor of the high-rise building in downtown Honolulu.
We discussed about aging in America, our families, food, culture, habits, shopping etc. I was sad to know that behind the smile and blinking eyes, she longed for her daughter who had eloped with a Middle East man and now lived there. She proudly showed me her photos, her grandchildren, family and wished she could see them often. Her husband had just died a year ago.
I asked her why Japanese people lived longer, an answer I was not sure I should have. Upon further talking, I came to know a lot more………………..all elderly are grateful for their aging, but do wish and long for their bygone days. Mortality for men surpasses women in almost all countries of the world, the mystery is still a mystery! Nutrition and eating simple, local, fresh, seasonal food is still a win win for most seniors. Love is unconditional, and seniors are the most versatile in the society- look at the ways they have coped vs ourselves with the decades of change! The era of depression, bombing, scarcity has amassed personal growth and insight that robots cannot decipher. Time and machine do not stand still.
Lessons learned: Nutrition is nourishment for your soul, mind, and body. Technology is not just for youngster or millennials or mid adults but also for seniors. Family tree and family recipes are cues to your past, present and future. Making friends with all ages will grow your intelligence! There is indeed always a new chapter for us all. Caring for the elderly is not simple, nor is it easily available, but it is the most rewarding of all. Flaunt your skills, not your material possessions. To rise and beyond the occasion takes a skill set that cannot be mastered in any school! So whatever our professions are, growing old unarguably teaches us and defines us!
Thank you Ms JS for your unconditional love, support and insight the time I spent with you in Honolulu HI. Memories that never fade!
Thank you, from the desk of Health Aim Inc/ Purnima Sreenivasan