I was never truly adrift.
A fragmented childhood filled with heartbreak and disappointment left Valdeane Uchima Odachi feeling lost at sea, at the mercy of unseen currents. In this moving collection of personal reflections and whimsical poetry, Navigating Change follows Odachi as she discovers moments of grace and synchronicity while struggling to reconcile her multiple roles as daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher and caregiver. Her journey’s unanticipated reward is a renewed self-identity and the realization that she has always had everything she needs to live the life she wants.
Odachi unexpectedly took on the role of caregiver when her husband was suddenly diagnosed with complicated and frustrating medical problems. “Initially, I thought I would write a book for my children and to document the challenges of having an older spouse with health issues and dementia,” she says. But, upon reading her early drafts, “I found my writing was so focused on the unhappiness I experienced—I didn’t enjoy reading that version of my memoir.” Instead, Odachi chose to shift her mindset and her book’s focus to recognize the moments that changed her. The story of her life transformed as she wrote and wrestled with complex and layered emotions concerning events in her past and her life’s current path. “Writing both versions allowed me to process the ongoing grief and recognize the grace that occurs in my life,” she reflects.
In Odachi’s heartfelt vignettes, readers will recognize the pain of adolescence, the joy of motherhood and the conflict inherent in reconciling the role of caregiver with maintaining a sense of self.
Valdeane Uchima Odachi is a postsecondary academic counselor and educator who hated school as a child but now holds various credentials ranging from a Hawai‘i state license in massage therapy to a master of arts in teaching from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Raised in Wahiawā, O‘ahu, she currently lives in Volcano, Hawai‘i Island, with her family and their two dogs, Bowie and Mika Shrimpface. She enjoys teaching the art of Zentangle®, organizing and removing clutter from her home and spending time with family. Navigating Change is her first book.
Release Date: May 2022
Download the Navigating Change media sheet here