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What Makes Family More Than Blood? A Story of Friendship and Love

I am truly grateful to have you here.

This is a personal share, but with a powerful message. Last week, my daughter, Athena, handed me a letter. It was dated February 16, 2017, and it was addressed to me. This was a surprise—I couldn’t recall writing or receiving a letter on that day. But when I saw the return address, it all came flooding back. It was from Lasagna—known to everyone else as Lison.

Lison was a regular at the gym where I worked, a retired teacher with a radiant personality. She was the kind of person who could light up a room with her energy and humor. I’ll never forget the day she corrected me with a playful firm growl, “My name is pronounced like Lasagna.” From then on, that’s what I called her, and it became a nickname she embraced.

Lasagna was more than just a gym member; she became family. We would joke about her husband, who never actually worked out but always tried to get a cheaper rate for his membership. He'd end every conversation with, “I’m a cheap bastard,” his words, not mine. Lasagna and I shared many laughs about him, amongst other things and a hearty sprinkle of honest conversations—she was never afraid to give me the hard truths and still show me love.

But Lasagna's health began to deteriorate. I'll never forget the day I visited her in the hospital. I had to mentally prep myself before going in. She was a shadow of her former self, her voice husky, her radiant energy dimmed. When her eyes met mine, she whispered "Sunshine," my earned nickname from her. That was what I called my daughter, but she did not know that until I wrote to her in early January of 2017.

It was hard to see Lasagna like that, but even in her frail state, she still managed to share wisdom and perspective. "Embrace the moment," she told me in her letter. "We often forget in our fast-paced lives the things we hold dearest."

Reading her letter today (it took me about a week to brave reading it again) reminded me of how precious these connections are. Family isn't always about blood; it's about those who see you for who you are, even when you're not sure yourself. It's about those who give you a nickname that makes you smile and who make you feel like sunshine in their lives.

After 35 treatments for cancer, she was finally home and exhausted. In her letter, she promised to write back when she felt better, but better was not in her cards for this lifetime. Time is precious, and so are the relationships we build.

I felt Lison's love again today reading this letter.

So, I ask you: who do you need to reach out to today? What do you need to share with them? Don't wait for the perfect moment; embrace the time you have and let them know how much they're loved.

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Thank you for having me be a part of your journey.



Life and Transition Coach

Meet Jess Fraser, a vibrant Life Coach, retreat facilitator, podcast host, blogger, and avid book lover. With a passion for adventure, personal growth and transformation, Jess guides individuals on their journey towards self-discovery and empowerment. Her insightful writings and engaging podcasts inspire others to embrace change and embrace their true selves. If you enjoyed this article and would like to stay connected, join Jess at to explore her latest projects, including her empowering guided journal, "Courage to Change Journal." Together, let's continue the journey of self-reflection, growth, and creating a life filled with courage and purpose.

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