A farewell to an Angel

Angels sail back to God on the sea of joy.

– Terri Guillemets

I would like to dedicate this blog to my beautiful sister-in-law, Lisa (aka my little sis), who recently passed away at age 39, too young, too soon.

A few short months ago my husband and I visited, my sister-in-law, at the hospital. I recall we had a rough drive back, thinking the worst was to come. My husband shared with me at that moment that God needed Lisa up above, to keep things in check. If you had the opportunity to meet Lisa, you know she was tough; tough at work, tough at home always keeping everyone in-check. Lisa must now be looking down at us from above, guarding us all  being a light always to her precious sons, and of course to her loving husband.

I met Lisa 18 years ago, she and my brother-in-law had just started dating. My brother-in-law brought her to the hospital; an hour after I gave birth to my youngest daughter on this very day; April 14th, back in 2001. It would be the first time she and I would meet. I recall thinking what an awkward way to meet someone for the first time; feeling so tired after a 17 hour labor. She sat near the foot of my hospital bed and flashed me that cute shy smile. I remember thinking she is someone special to remember.

Lisa had extremely large hands – often the joke whenever we got together. She was always conscious about how large her hands were, always making fun claiming they were manly compared to my tiny bony hands (size 5 finger). Her hands were a representation of her personality – she was so strong; a warrior.  Her hands often herding her loved ones to where they needed to be, protecting, and loving.

Naturally, the home she would pick for her family would be in the country where she would enjoy the openness; a place to express her creativity; a place where she would enjoy riding her horses. A home she actually took on as a project, having it custom built to her taste, her personality, being involved in picking every detail of that beautiful ranch.  It was wonderful to watch her ride, she seemed so free. Her hands were meant for farming and for tackling the roughness and toughness of life.

Everything about Lisa was unique, her sense of style, the way she tackled life in general -she was truly special. Here I was now, sitting at the foot of her hospital bed one October evening sitting in awkward silence not knowing what to say or do to comfort her. There was a moment when we locked eyes for what seemed like an eternity, I was at a loss for words, as I stared into her beautiful deep green eyes and watched a tear roll down her cheek, as she expressed how she had done all she could in the slightest whisper. As they wheeled her away for a CT Scan I kissed her on the forehead and we both whispered: “I love you”.

On April 1st, 2018, my uncle passed away; Lisa would have already received her medical report a few months earlier and a few weeks after his passing, would now receive devastating news that would forever alter her life and the lives of her loved ones. I must say, this one is definitely leaving a big hole in my heart.

We said our final goodbyes on April 11th, 2019, when she was laid to her final resting place.  We shed tears for her feeling it was too soon, but our hearts will be forever filled with the warmth of our eternal love for her. 

I would always address Lisa as my little sister in greeting cards and in text messages. So, little sis: “you came into our lives for a brief moment and we thank you for blessing us with the gift of compassion and love. You fought a tough fight like a warrior leaving two beautiful boys as your legacy and we shall return that love eternally. Your departure has brought a special bond between two families that share a common love – you.  You are now another angel we can call upon to protect us and keep us safe because in the end that was always your purpose to stand like a warrior; protecting, fighting for a cause, as on earth you now fulfill your purpose up above.

God bless you little sis, may you rest in peace.

FAMILY

Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.

– Michael J. Fox

Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed my first blog. I am having fun embracing this writing venture – truly, a long-time passion of mine.  This Blog is a tribute to family and the importance of family values. Today, we are celebrating Family Day, here in Canada, we are given an opportunity to enjoy Family Day; a statutory holiday recognized by our government, created to spend more time with family – precious loved ones in our lives.

When we think of family, hopefully we all visualize harmony, love, bonding, and all the beautiful loving feelings that are deep rooted within us that fill us when we have the opportunity of getting together with our immediate families and our extended families as well.

Today, it seems that we have lost the value of what family signifies.  Gone are the days of getting together with grandparents for Sunday lunch or brunch, now being replaced with dance, soccer, hockey and whatever sport is up for the season. We no longer connect with our families in a way that is meaningful, through conversation, through touch, that makes us feel the inevitable- love. Instead, we spend most of our free time being plugged into our devices, always distracted, distancing ourselves from the ones we love.

Where have our traditions gone?  Life today has us on such a whirlwind with all the toys and whistles that we have forgotten the true meaning of what being a family is truly about.  Have you ever heard the expression: “a family that eats together, stays together? Or is it a family that prays together stays together,” whatever the phrase is, the operative word is together.  What happened to sit down dinners?  Are the tables in our kitchens and dining rooms just space fillers? 

As society gives in to the ever growing technological day-to-day demands, we have simply forgotten to make family time.  Sure, there has been a rise in family vacations. Families are now working harder to be able to afford that family trip at the end of the year.  But are you really bonding as a family when you get to your sunny destinations?  Or are you simply taking a trip because it is the trendy thing to do all the while fulfilling your thirst for envy by those around you? While you are out there working on your tan and shopping for that expensive bag or jewelry are you truly bonding with your children and partner?

Reading today’s media, we read articles filled with these young larger than life idols but where have they gone wrong?   What is truly keeping these young idols from achieving their true dream of family, and staying grounded, after all isn’t that what we all dream of achieving anyway?  Fame is wonderful as long as you have your family supporting you every step of the way.  It is your family that will catch you when you fall, not the paparazzi or the box office.

Putting it in perspective, a family is the bonding of a group of people whether blood related or not who will go to bat for you when things are just not going well.  A family will hold you when you need to be held, they will, more often than not, get on your nerves, but that is what makes us grow closer together once we have ironed out our differences.   They will make you laugh when you need a little cheering and they make you shed tears when things are said and done that are close to the heart—that is what makes family so sacred and truly special.   Therefore, don’t families need celebration?  Perhaps, some gratitude for all that they put forth as a unit?  So why not celebrate by spending some time together to really truly bond and show the respect it deserves.

Some few years back, pop idols: the “Jonas Brothers”, created a media frenzy with their innovative sound and talent, writing and producing their own music and lyrics, this was a band composed of three brothers all with a talent that had girls as young as 4 to age 20 and their mothers, enjoying their talents on stage and off.  Their secret: a strong family bond.  They are in fact, four brothers, one of which was too young to join the band at the time, but either way, received some recognition in many interviews—this shows a great value for all members in this particular family.  They show a tremendous amount of respect for one another, each holding an important role in the band and this is truly what sets them apart; in my opinion, from other performers.  What really stood out in this particular group were their family values.  In the end when the mania wears off, these young men will continue to be brothers sharing the same bond they always shared on and off stage. That’s how dated this paragraph is as this was some time ago, back in 2008. My husband and I joined our girls during their fan frenzy era if this boy-band, attending concerts, watching them on the Disney Channel, but that’s what you do, you enjoy, you support, you create memories together. My girls are now age 21 and 17, their flavor for this year, Rock Band: Greta Van Fleet; a talented Rock Bank composed of a family bond: three brothers and a childhood friend – here we go again!

It is the family values having been instilled in us from a tender age; the unbreakable bond, that is going to make a difference on how our children will raise their families and commit to long term marriage.    It is the families that truly enjoy each other’s company, quirks and all, that can talk about everything from daily events, politics, music to what’s on the Disney /Family or Netflix channel, or sometimes just chilling together, that will succeed in achieving a true harmonious family bond.

My immediate family, consist of my husband of 28 years, my two beautiful daughters, and my dog – because yes, she participates in family occasions, she gives the most awesome cuddles and loves us unconditionally, so of course she is very much a part of this family unit. Like my children, my dog knows when she has done something wrong; she will do anything to get our attention, to make us laugh. She understands I like to keep a clean house, so she will try very hard to keep her area clean although at time fails, just like my girls and that’s ok – she adds a certain element of responsibility to this very tight family unit, we cannot remember a day when she was not part of our lives!

Regardless of how you choose to define your family unit, when an opportunity for a get together with your loved one arises, whether it be for a summer barbecue, or a quaint popcorn and a movie for 4 or 5, maybe 10 on the comfy couch, just remember that aside from creating memories, it is these moments that make an impression for the younger generation and help mold their values, set a solid foundation on what a true family should be and that is: a sense of closeness, love, compassion, empathy, respect and lots and lots of good times. Set your technological devices aside, enjoy the outdoors or cozy up by the fireplace and enjoy family time, perhaps play a game board – too back in time? Then, just do what your family does best and enjoy making memories together!

Being part of a family is the ultimate gift in life because it is to experience love, to be a part of something truly wonderful, to be love and forever be loved. You can do anything and be anything knowing your family has your back!

Enjoy your family today and every day, enjoy your OHANA!  Cherish your family, it is truly the greatest blessing in life!

Life can be challenging, people are most definitely challenging, how can we learn to look at these challenges as positives, it all depends on your perspective! I hope you join me on my next blog as it will give you a sneak peek to my almost finished book on perspectives that I hope will serve as a tool teaching us that we grow in times of adversity, to embrace your failures and be the light after a moment of darkness.

Until then, be kind and true to yourself.

To the powerful you,

Ana Spano


If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. Thank you!

Welcome to my first Blog post

Hello everyone, I finally made some time from being busy to dabble at writing. I am currently working on a book and I hope to share some of my thoughts, experiences, opinions through my Blog and hope some of these pieces will make it on my book. Coming from a legal background I am embracing this literary world which is totally new and foreign to me.

Law is very black and white I have learned, but it all heavily relies on interpretation – a perspective, if you will. This is how I view life. It is all about perspective isn’t it? A medical perspective, a legal perspective, an artistic perspective, a political perspective – the list is endless. When  an opinion is asked of me on a legal matter or case, I cannot just give you a superficial response one that is on the surface only – I must go deep. My colleagues are fully aware that there is no quick answer or simple question. When they come into my office for a consultation – they must have many facts on hand before they can even approach me for an opinion. You see, when contemplating the facts of a case and before I can even begin to process an opinion or an assessment of a case – there is a checklist that must be satisfied. I will require to know, details of the accident, damage to vehicle, injuries reported from the outset, occupation of the victim, family life, medical history, etc.Why you ask is this so important? It allows me to have a better understanding of the victim involved.I will have a better understanding of the damages already visible and the damages that might arise in the future based on past case analysis and just simple experience in the field.

I have the same approach to life. Whether I am meeting someone new or going through new phases in life – I apply a checklist.  I will always ask myself a series of questions that might go something like this:

  1. Why am I meeting this person?
  2. Why is my meeting this individual imperative in my life right now?
  3. Why is this happening to me right now?
  4. What am I learning from this experience or from this person?
  5. Why might I have attracted this person or experience in my life right now?
  6. If I think with my heart, what might my next step be? Is knowing this person good for me? Is this experience good for me?

The above are samples of some of the questions. You might say – well Ana that is quite annoying if you have to analyze everything but I assure you the experience is so much more pleasant for me when I go through this analytical process, rather than just going through the motions, an experience that might leave you unsatisfied or uninterested in that someone you just encountered simply because of lack of understanding or an unwillingness to want to understand the experience, the person or whatever the situation is.When meeting someone new, I always embrace the experience knowing that we are interacting with so many different people with different backgrounds and from so many different walks of life on a daily basis – which is why every day should be different and beautiful! As soon as you step outside your front door you must be ready to embrace whatever the day holds for you. Keep in mind that everything has a cause and effect. Just like you want to be understood, so does the individual you just met.

This is just a small taste of the type of blog conversations I hope to hold with my readers. Listen, life is already complicated and quite frankly it shouldn’t be – we make it complicated. If life has thrown something at you that you currently don’t understand, sit down and apply the questions I shared in the paragraph above. We all need to understand that life is a series of adjustments. It’s the recipe to keeping alive! Without these adjustments – life is dormant, no growth – slowly dying. If you feel that perhaps the people you have surrounded yourself are bringing you down, you must as Robin Sharma puts it: “Let go of the relationships in your inner-circle that steal your joy. Your highest life depends on this one winning move.”

I have a library of books that are my absolute treasure. I will share with you what I have learned from these beautiful brilliant minds. If there is a topic you wish to discuss it could be work related or simply your view on any given topic, I definitely would like to hear about it. It will give me material to future posts and we can certainly tackle together what might be troubling you or if it is simply a positive thought that everyone should hear about – I am most certainly open to that.

Listen, you get one chance at life. Whether it be short or a long life – make it count. Fill your mind with the richness of beautiful words, your days with positive experiences, filled with adventure, be the type of person you would want to meet – create the ultimate you! Make all this possible, while keeping true to yourself!


With Family Day around the corner, I hope to share my thoughts on the importance of showing up when it comes to family, setting differences aside, or at least learn to look past your differences, to simply enjoy precious moments with those who count in your life. No compromise just simple compassion and empathy.

Until then, be kind and true to yourself.

To the powerful you,

Ana Spano

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or LinkedIn. Thank you!