The Path of Life 

The Presence of Time by Josie Parrelli

Where the clocks are beating
The journey starts
Life is a sense of timing
Who we meet, who we see
What we do
Each step we take
Guides us upon our path
Confused, we question
The clock keeps beating
With no rythym or rhyme
That’s where the confusion has started
We fear the clock beating
As if it’s a mocking call
Eyeing your every move, seeing your falls
Be still in the moment, the clocks are not your foe
They are beating
In your rythym
Your time
For the clock beats differently for all of us
Our steps, our journey
The presence of time is your friend
Listen to it, hear the beats 
For when the time hits
You realize that the clock was always beating
In your time, your tune
For the presence of time is never to be feared
Never to be questioned; never to be argued with
Listen to it, hear the beats
Hear the melody, sing the song
Strum the beats
For within the melody is where your destiny lies
Believe and trust 
For the presence of time
Is a gift, unique to us
This is your Life Purpose
For here is where your story is told


We each walk our own path through life. We can control some of the direction of the path, but there are many other things that control the direction of the path too. In the end, you live on the life path that is uniquely your own.

We attended the memorial for our friend Joannie’s uncle, Takashi (Taka) Togashi, in Palo Alto, California last Monday. Our friends Tim and Joannie helped take care of him in his final years. He was 89 when he passed away. He was born and raised in Modesto, California. He was in high school when he and his family were interned during World War II when the U.S. government evacuated Japanese Americans from California. They were relocated to the Merced Assembly Center and shortly thereafter to the Amache Relocation Center in Southeast Colorado. He graduated from the Amache Relocation Center high school in 1945, then moved to Boulder, Colorado. In 1946, when he was 18, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. After basic training in Texas, he was sent to Tokyo, Japan and held an office position at the U.S. General Headquarters there and received his honorable discharge in late 1947.

His main career was with the U.S. Postal Service, starting in 1956 at the Denver Post Office, and transferred to the Palo Alto, California Post Office in 1970.

At the beautiful memorial service, which was coordinated by Joannie, several relatives spoke of their memories of Taka, starting with Joannie.

Joannie spoke of taking her Uncle Taka swimming at 24 hour fitness several times. She said when she was finished with her swim workout, he never wanted to get out of the water. He told Joannie one of his favorite childhood memories was swimming in the Modesto irrigation canals, which were locally referred to as the Modesto Beach (Modesto, California is landlocked).

She also spoke of his interest in technology. In 2010, he invested in Tesla stock because he liked Elon Musk and the prospect of electric cars being better for the environment. He wanted to live long enough to see self-driving cars made by Tesla driving around safely. In early 2017, Joannie arranged a Tesla test drive for him. She said the salesman parallel parked with his hands off the steering wheel, and that was good enough for Uncle Taka. He was very happy.

Then Joannie’s husband Tim spoke of driving Uncle Taka around to appointments. As they passed local horse race tracks in San Mateo and Oakland, Taka told Tim stories about his love of Thoroughbred horse racing.

Joannie’s sister, who is a doctor at Stanford and claimed to have never spoken extemporaneously before, told of her memory of visiting Uncle Taka in Colorado as a little girl and wanting to hold his hand all the time. She thought he liked it.

Then another cousin said he also remembered visiting his uncle in Colorado and going fishing with him.

At the graveside service, the minister spoke eloquently about Taka’s unique path in life: how he didn’t have control about being relocated or drafted but those things became part of his life path and how he didn’t know that holding his little niece’s hand or fishing with his nephew would cause a lasting memory for the children. He also said Taka probably didn’t realize that swimming in those canals would be a lasting favorite memory. He spoke of the social nature of going to the racetrack – connecting with friends while enjoying their horse race betting. He even mentioned the Tesla salesman, who may not have realized the significant life event he created for the old man. He went on to say that we are each on unique paths, and we also may not realize the impact we are having on others.

The service was a wondetful tribute to one man and his life path and how it was influenced and how it influenced others. Stan and I really enjoyed visiting with Joannie’s family and friends (connecting).

Through Facebook I have heard from people in my past that I didn’t even remember who told me what a lasting influence I had on them. One was a guy one of my sisters dumped and he said he remembered how kind I was to him sitting on the front steps right after that. Another was a high school classmate who I didn’t even know who said my leadership of the high school newspaper helped him believe he could succeed in journalism, so he started down that path in college.

Every day we come into contact with people, and any interaction could make a difference in someone else’s life.

Thinking about my own life path, I was a member of Soroptomist International of Truckee Meadows about 25 years ago, and through a speaker at one of our luncheons I had the opportunity to mentor foster teens. I think I was drawn to that because my own family was disrupted in a pretty big way when I was 18 (divorce and death of my brother) and I couldn’t imagine launching into the world at that age without even divorced parents to support you. I still keep in touch with both of the teens I mentored and they have both told me how much I impacted their lives at a time when they really needed support. Those are relationships that have a positive symbiotic significance in each other’s lives.

Keia, one of the teens I mentored, is now a holistic health specialist. She came over to our house last month for a family healing guided meditation. I asked her if she would be willing to come to an ALS Support Group meeting and do a mind based stress reduction presentation, and she readily agreed.

Keia, talking at the ALS Support Group meeting (while eying me taking photo 😉) with Taryn Joyner, the ALS Association of Nevada Care Services Coordinator, listening.

Coincidentally, one of the people at the meeting had recently lost her husband to ALS and we figured out that we had been in Soroptomists together so long ago. There was also an ALS patient who conference called in to listen. Keia did a wonderful guided mind based stress reduction with us. She had researched ALS and gave us tools we can use at any time. 

In the guided meditation Keia emphasized our own unique hands, and feet, etc. and the importance of honoring these body parts that have served us for so many years. And she spoke of our one true path that included both happiness and sorrow, and how that’s ok – it is our own path no matter what route it takes.

ALS is on my path and that’s ok.

3 thoughts on “ The Path of Life 

  1. Don’t you really mean “not ok…it stinks”.
    I guess you’re talking about acceptance, and of course, that’s helpful and necessary.
    But I guess it would be helpful to hear you once complain bitterly that you don’t deserve ALS.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Meg,

    Thank you for this posting and the poem that starts it. Was it read at Taka’s service? If not it would have been fitting. I want to keep it. If you can find a photo of Uncle Taka, it would be nice to see him, as it was his family members. I have often heard you speak of your friends Tim and Joanie but I think this is the first time I’ve seen their faces! With the context you gave, it was like meeting them, extended connection through your blog! And I remember when you were tutoring. I wonder who the OPRF boys were. Maybe you can tell me privately.

    Keep up the great work. I love you.

    Liked by 1 person

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