I am Alice Yokota. I am very lucky to be one of Auntie Eiko's nieces. It has been a great honor to share a lifetime with our sweet Auntie Eiko. And now it is an honor to share some of my cherished memories with you today.
Auntie Eiko and our Father, Hiroshi, were sister and brother, the two youngest in their family.
But more than that, they were best friends.
Auntie Eiko used to tell us stories about growing up in Sacramento. She loved telling us about her family and especially about her parents…….how they raised their children with such love, kindness, patience and understanding. Sadly, our paternal grandparents passed away (even before our parents met) so we never knew Izumi and Kinuye Yokota. But Auntie Eiko would tell me, “If you want to know your Grandfather, look at your Father.” And likewise, I feel as though I know my Grandmother through the eyes, heart and spirit of Auntie Eiko. I am eternally grateful to Auntie Eiko for allowing us to touch deeply our Grandparents and all Yokota Ancestors through her loving spirit.
Growing up, we always felt loved by Auntie Eiko. She nurtured us
With hugs and kisses
With spunk, wit and laughter
With praise and encouragement
With her VERY PRESENCE.
She always made me feel special and important – just as I am. She would hold my hands and look into my eyes and tell me that I was smart and beautiful…..and that she was proud of me!
Every time she came to our home, she spoiled us kids by giving us little gifts. As I grew older, I realized that her true gift was not the “thing” she brought, but it was HER, her energy, her Essence, her True Self that she shared freely and unconditionally.
As a child, I remember the children at our family gatherings used to “compete” – who would get to sit next to Auntie Eiko! Yes, children know when they are in the presence of Love.
As adults, many of us were lucky enough to travel and share great adventures with her…..
Dog sledding on top of a glacier in Alaska,
Returning to our Ancestral Home in Japan
Exploring Peru - Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca
Auntie Eiko made every day, even the ordinary, extraordinary, a great adventure. The universe revealed itself through her eyes. Her vibrant spirit, her love of life, her positive attitude touched everyone around her.
Auntie Eiko used to tell me: Alice, Do what YOU want to do! It doesn't matter what other people think!
And she modeled that for me as she grew in years and wisdom.
She used to say: Alice, Don't be afraid of growing old. It's not what you think. Growing old is WONDERFUL! Look at me! I haven't a care in the world! I am so grateful to my parents, my family. They've given me everything I need.
Recently she told me: Alice, you're in your 50's. Enjoy yourself! Don't worry! You are in the prime of your life, although you can be 90 and be in the prime of your life. It all depends on your ATTITUDE! Auntie had this ATTITUDE and she lived life with gusto!
Auntie Eiko also told me: Alice, Don't be afraid of dying. Dying is easy. You just … let go. Just let everything go. It's not scary. It's not hard. In fact, it's beautiful.
Auntie, I want to
Thank you for showing me how to live and how to die, with great acceptance, ease, peace, joy and gratitude.
Thank you for showing me what is important in life, not the things you have, but the people you touch.
Thank you for showing me
The beauty of living a simpler life,
The power of gratitude and prayer,
And the importance of family.
I am grateful for all the ways you love me, even now.
to the family of Eiko, my hearfelt syphathy and condolances of a lady full of compassion and love of life and love of her neices, nephews and sister-in-law and before his passing, her brother. I have had known this lady for going on 70 years and it has been an extraordinary journey....I will miss her candor and icredible smile and hospitality....in gratitude and gassho....frank