Honor Ana Sarasti


Share your stories about Ana

We’ve set up a Google form to collect stories that will be used to build a timeline of her life and impact. If you’re good with dates, please share dates as it will help tremendously.

Share a Story

Make a contribution to the Alzheimer’s Association

Last year, I teamed up with my dear friends in the Sotelo family to create Team Ana. Ana Sotelo and her family have also courageously fought ALZ.

Make a Contribution

Taken from Facebook:

Hello friends. Today, I deliver the hardest news I’ve every had to deliver. My mother, my forever North Star - Ana R. Sarasti - passed away on 10.20.20 after her long-fought battle with Alzheimer’s. She was at home surrounded by lots of love and care.

In the past, I have comforted others in their times of loss. I now see myself as ill-equipped to have done that, because until now… I have never felt a loss so deep. The void. The truth is that yesterday, the feeling of emptiness was so severe that i could not even feel her spirit. It was just gone.

And then… through the presence of loved ones and various messages, you all reminded me how loved she was, what an important figure she was for all of you. A friend. A helping hand. An inspiration. A source of joy and exuberance. Strength with a healthy dash of stubbornness (more on that later). And in this way you all lifted me up enough to hear her voice in the wind again. I stood up a little straighter and remembered what a force she is. Death is but a transition. It is not an end, even less so for someone like Ana Rosa Sarasti.

She was an adventurer. Experiencing travel was at the core of her soul. Some of you traveled with her over the years - recreationally or at conferences. I remember the story of the time she jumped in a Cessna with her cousin Ariel and flew up the coast to New York. Me, by the way? To this day, I grab the arm rests and take a shit every time I’m taking off in a plane. Meanwhile, Mom had to do an emergency landing in someone’s backyard half way to NYC because the plane was running out of gas. For her, no biggie. I am lucky that i have a recording of her nonchalantly sharing this memory.

She spent a life time shattering glass ceilings and taking others along for the ride. She and her cohort of badass friends from back in the day showed ‘em all how women run the world. Let there be no doubt. She was a boss. And not just because she was a Director of Financial Aid at FIU and Miami-Dade for 30+ years, but because service to others was at the heart of everything she did. Service to the community, to friends, family, my father, to me.

Mom was everything you could ask for in a mother. But she was so much more than that. We were a team from day. She was my teacher, my juror, my proofreader, my patron of the arts supporting my creative impulses. We share many qualities, but she was also the yin to my yang. The preparation to to my procrastination. The order to my affinity for a little dose of chaos. She was the sense to my dreams, and her many dreams became my reality. I am everything I am because of you, Mom. You have given me everything I need.

And with that reminder, I want to make sure everyone understands that Ana’s work is not done. Alzheimer’s put a pause on her service in some ways. She was officially diagnosed a little over 7 years ago. Having noticed the signs and being the ever-talented planner that she was, she pulled in her teammate to start figuring it all out. We were quiet about it, but we fought hard. No question, ALZ is a cruel disease - in mom’s case, tackling one of her most powerful weapons - her mind. Ironically, her recurring, steadfast words of wisdom to me were, “Your knowledge is your power. No one can take away the things you know.”

But like all things in life, there are many sides to even the worst things. It’s a worthy reminder for all of us in these polarized times. In the middle years of her illness - she eventually forgot she had it. I found that the disease actually eased her stress and made her more carefree. Those that worked with her knew how she could wield that Ana Sarasti intensity - an intensity and will to fight that most certainly reared its head again, particularly in her final days. A few nurses and aides came face-to-face with Ana’s stubbornness while trying to get her to do things she didn’t want to do. But in the middle years, she was able to throw more and more caution to the wind. Ultimately, it wasn’t just her mind powering her forward. It was her heart and her spirit. Her joy. Her endless love. Even in her last few days, she always knew it was me and called me by my name (or "Viejito").

I have a few things up my sleeve in 2021. I will be calling on all you to keep mom’s legacy alive. Basically, she’ll be coming out of retirement. (We all figured she would at some point anyway.) That’s all on that for now, but stay tuned.

Regarding services this week. She will be buried this Friday at noon at Miami Memorial Park, close to her home and resting with my beloved grandmother and grandfather. I know many of you would like to be there, but none of us want a super-spreader event. I am mostly discouraging attendance due to the weird times we are living in, but If you feel compelled to be physically present, I understand and you will be received with empathy and compassion (and instructions to mask up and be socially distant).

To ease all of this, I am working to livestream the burial online so that people can participate from home. I will update this post with details as I finalize. Also, I will be organizing a proper retrospective event for mom next year when we can all be in the same space again. I will have time to review pictures, collect stories… and we can give each other proper hugs.

For now, while the power of this moment is fresh, I have to two things you can do to honor mom.

1) First, share your stories about mom. I’ve set up a Google form to collect stories, and I’ll be using this build a timeline of her life and impact. If you’re good with dates, share dates. It’ll help me assemble her story. You can share here: https://forms.gle/215bEA627YCVw58w5

2) Second, you can make a contribution to the Alzheimer’s Association. Last year, I teamed up with my dear friends in the Sotelo family to create Team Ana. Ana Sotelo and her family have also courageously fought ALZ. TeamAna2021

I love you all. On behalf of my father, my brother Jorge and my sister Nani (words fail to describe how grateful I am for their carrying me though this impossible time) and on behalf of our entire family - we stand with you in this difficult time as you also experience great loss. But again, remember. This is no end. Only transition.

“You belong among the wildflowers
You belong somewhere close to me
Far away from your trouble and worries
You belong somewhere you feel free” - Tom Petty