“The Love They Leave Behind”

The holidays are fast approaching and so many of us are missing the people that are unable to be around our table. I’m missing three of my five children, yet I know that they’re only a phone call away.

And then there are those that have passed away that we miss. I miss those people yet I smile when I think of them. 

And as I was thinking of them the other day, I thought this: “When they passed they took my love with them, yet they left so much more than they took.”

What I mean by that is this: They took the love but they left me with the precious memories, the sound of their laughter, the stories they told year after year, the image of their face when they smiled, and the remembrance of the feeling of their hugs. They left a piece of themselves in everyone whose life they touched.

And they left all that love for me to carry in my heart until I see them again.

I smile when I think of them or laugh out loud when I remember something funny that they did or said.

I tell my children the stories that they had told me.

I look at old photographs of them and remember that exact moment in time when they were here.

I don’t cry bitter tears over them leaving this world, but cry tears of joy in knowing that they left the best part of them behind with me.

I honor their memory by living my life to the fullest because that’s how they lived theirs. 

I embrace the love that they left with me and carry it in my heart.

And I am grateful and blessed for the time I had with them.

After all, they loved me enough to leave a piece of themselves behind with me.

And it’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

They Left More

Photo by Anne Dennish copyright@2019

 

 

 

“The Godfather”

I lost someone very special to me two years ago today. He was an amazing man and while I wasn’t in his life for very long, he made an impact on mine to last a lifetime. Tom Contreras was “the godfather” to me and always wanted me to write about him…and I not only wrote about him, I published his story in my last book. This is my story about “The Godfather!”

It’s not very often in this lifetime that you meet someone who makes an impact on your life, yet I met such a man who left this world too soon on a Saturday night late in December after a night spent with family and friends.  He’s my love’s cousin, Tommy Contreras, and he became one of my closest friends ever since I was introduced to him. I touched base with him by phone daily, and my love and I would “conference” call him together a few nights a week, and believe me, those calls were nothing short of belly laughs, off color jokes, and love!

I didn’t know him as long as his family, yet with Tommy you felt like you knew him a lifetime. He had a way of making you feel like you were his family and I am forever grateful to him for making me feel that way. I used to call him “the Godfather” because I could call him for advice, or even better, his opinion! He loved that title, especially belonging to a big Italian family!

He had a smile that lit up the room, and a laugh that made you laugh right along. He had an amazing singing voice and an incredible sense of humor with just the right amount of sarcasm. He had the ability to make fun of himself just to make you laugh, and he was famous for opening up a conversation with “you won’t believe what happened to me!” And then he’d proceed to tell you about the craziest things that I truly believe could only happen to him!

He was a “gentle giant” with a heart as big as the ocean and enough love to go around the world.

Tommy left too soon, yet it was an honor, privilege and a blessing to have known him, and to have been with him, surrounding him with love, as he closed his eyes and left this world.

He was my “words with friends” partner and I was finally winning! He was the “go to” guy when I needed advice about his cousin and he was my friend. I’ve been missing him, but as his family and friends all gathered together at one of his favorite restaurants in Point Pleasant, Frankie’s, two days after he passed, his presence was felt. I felt the emptiness of him not being with us, as did his family, yet the night belonged to him, filled with stories told through laughter and tears. And truth be told, his body may not have been there but his spirit and soul was. It still is.

He left a legacy to his family and to anyone lucky enough to know him and not everyone is able to do that. I don’t think he ever realized the important place he had in the lives of those who knew him; I don’t think he truly knew how much he was loved; I don’t think he understood just how much he meant to the people he met.

But I know that where he is now, he does know. And he’s smiling, he’s not in pain, he’s happy and he’s watching over all of us…even me.

I hope he knows now how much he’s missed, but more importantly, that he’s remembered with love and laughter, stories and memories. I’m absolutely sure that the immense amount of love we all have for him followed him straight up to Heaven!

I miss this man and think of him often, yet I know he’s around. I feel his presence during a family party and hear his laughter when someone tells a good old-fashioned, off color, funny joke!

He always got on my case about being in one of my books, always saying to me “I’m in the next book, right?” I always answered the same way: “yes, you will be, just waiting for the spirit to move me to writing it!”

And his spirit moved me.

I will forever be grateful to this man for allowing me the blessing of being part of his life; it was both an honor and a privilege, and I’m grateful to be part of some of those great family stories and memories now….

There are moments now that I want to call him and say “Hey, you won’t believe what happened to me!”

But I can’t.

What I can do is close my eyes, think about him and hear his voice.

Yet every so often, my heart feels a bit selfish and I can’t help but think that he should be here; he should be here to be a part of our lives, of our dreams, of our laughter and tears; he should be here with hugs at family parties and to celebrate our successes. He should be here…

But then again, I have to remind myself that he is here and always will be…in all of our hearts and all of our minds.

This one’s for you, Tom Contreras

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

tommy-memorial

Tom Contreras – The Godfather

 

 

“Under The Tree – Just Me”

under the tree uncle bobI sit here this morning alone  with my coffee while all my loved ones are asleep, thinking to myself that I can’t wait for this month of March to be over. I lost a very close friend two weeks ago and last night I lost my “favorite” uncle. It seems that throughout my life this month of March has brought pain and heartache, and sadly, I have the proof to back it up. Anyone who knows me will joke and say to me”ugh, it’s that month of March for you.” And so it is, and so I try every year to change it. This year has been a tough one, and this morning I’m grieving and my heart is hurting.

I  hadn’t heard from my close friend, Rosamond, in almost two weeks, so my love and I trekked over to her house, only to find that the car hadn’t been moved and the house was locked up. I came home, called the local police and received the phone call I was dreading an hour later: they found her in her home, and she had passed away.

She was just 70 years old, but one of my closest friends and my greatest spiritual teacher. She was the one who introduced me to this amazing circle of “Angel” people that have been my teachers as well. I miss her everyday and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up the phone to call her…yet she’ll never answer.

Last night I received a call from my cousin on the West Coast. He called to tell me my most favorite uncle had lost his battle to brain cancer. I knew it was coming but I wasn’t ready to

uncle bobby 8

My “favorite uncle” with his “favorite niece.”

know it. He was just 68 years old and a man that had a life of love and passion, excitement and adventure. No matter what life handed him, including cancer, he made the best of it. I’d love to believe that this part of him is part of me.

I’m feeling the loss so deeply this morning, yet I also believe that when someone passes we can still hear them…and sometimes still feel them. I’m grieving at the loss of the physical touch and the sound of their voice.

This morning I’m sitting quietly outside while the rest of my house is asleep; I’m sitting under my “magic tree,” which hasn’t yet bloomed, but it’s still magic. It’s under this tree that I wrote a poem which turned into a song by the same name; it’s under this tree that I can hear my loved ones on the other side; I can hear their reassurance of them being okay and that I will be too; I hear them whisper “I love you and always will” to me; I hear them that they take our love for them with them and that their love for us will always be a part of us; and I hear them assure me that they will always be with me, and that all I need is to speak to them, and they will listen and answer.

It’s this belief that helps me grieve and heal and brings me a sense of peace that while their physical body may be gone, their spiritual soul lives on. And it lives on in me.

Today I remember Rosamond, and I wish my Uncle Bob well on his travels to the other side, knowing he’ll be whole, he’ll be healthy, and he’ll be carrying all our love with him.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~”

*I wrote this song over a year ago and today I dedicate it to my “favorite uncle,” my Uncle Bobby and to my dear friend, Rosamond

 

“Breaking Apart”

break apart 2We’ve all broken apart at one time or another in our lives. We may have endured a broken heart, loss of a job, loss of a loved one, or the brokenness of a good friend showing their true colors. Whatever the reason, it’s caused us to “break apart.”

I’ve had my heart broken, endured cancer, gone through divorce, and been hurt by people who I thought were my friends. I’ve been broken many times, yet through it all I learned that all these moments that “broke” me were all lessons I needed to learn. I learned to take the pain of each moment that broke me apart and make peace with it; I learned to be grateful for them because it taught me something about myself and my life that was for my Highest Good; I learned to see it as a blessing in disguise.

So what do you do when you break apart? How do you get through it all? You make a choice. You make a choice to put the pieces back together, and you put them back together stronger. It’s the lessons you learn through them that enable you to put them back differently; stronger, smarter and tougher.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll never “break apart” again, but what it does mean is that the next time you’re faced with a “breaking apart” moment, you’ll be able to handle it differently. You’ll handle it even better. And the time it takes to put the pieces back together get’s shorter and shorter…and that’s because you learned a lesson from each of those moments.

Life is all about perspective and if you can learn to embrace those “breaking apart” moments as a gift towards you having the life you deserve, then you will understand that those moments aren’t forever…just for the time it takes for you to understand the lesson.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

“The Man In The Moon”

man in the moon

It’s amazing what you can see when you look at the moon; it’s amazing what you can see when you allow yourself to believe in something bigger than facts and reality. It’s amazing to understand that there is life after death, and even more amazing to hear and feel your loved ones after they’ve passed.

It’s a gift to believe, and a gift of comfort, yet for some, if not most, fear prevents those very things we need to feel that comfort from coming in. Fear keeps us in the facts, unable to fathom that there is a spiritual world and spiritual realm outside of that. Fear of the opinion of others’ thinking we’re crazy because we can see and feel things that they can’t keeps the door from the other side closed, when in reality, we want to keep it open.

So we start with baby steps; we open it a crack. We want to see and believe, but we want proof. And trust me, proof is there, but it’s the programming of our human mind that tells us it couldn’t be so.

But it is…it is absolutely so.

I’ve lost many people I’ve loved throughout the years, and two in particular in the last few months. Did I cry over their passing? Absolutely. I cried at MY loss, not theirs. I believe that the other side, which I believe to be Heaven, is the place where they are whole, they are young, and they are not in pain. Why would I cry over them being in a better place? Why? Because I miss them; their passing changed my daily routine and changed my life; it left a void in my life and an ache in my heart. I miss them because I want them here. I want their voice, I want their touch, I want their human connection.

But the human connection is gone, and thanks to my many spiritual teachers throughout my life, I’ve learned that while a human connection is personal, a spiritual connection is even stronger, and will last until our last breath. A spiritual connection means that they know the answers to the questions; they have our back as our guardian angel; they see us all the time and come to visit at the times we need them most; and that their love for us was made stronger on the other side because of our love for them here. Love is the strongest emotion there is, the one that gives us strength; the one that fills us with light; the one that can never be taken away. Love is truly all we need.

On the other side we don’t need to call on them, they always know when to come. They come through our dreams, our thoughts, our memories; a familiar smell or favorite song; they come through a laugh and they come through a smile; they can even come in the moon and the stars, the ocean and the mountains. It’s your love here on earth that keeps them connected to you in heaven. Love never dies with a body; love lives on within the soul.

The messages of loved ones can be heard when you can still your mind and believe that when you hear them, it’s truly them speaking. When you feel a random touch, it’s them. When a tear rolls down your face thinking of them, it is they who dry it. When you feel scared and lonely and miss them so deeply, it is them that brings you a memory to think about to lessen your loneliness.

Talk to them; listen to them; feel them and love them. Miss them all you want, because they understand, yet they want you to know that they’re okay, and that you will be too. Love isn’t meant to be painful; love is meant to bring joy and peace. They understand your missing them, but they also know it’s through missing them that you talk about the memories, and that is what keeps them alive. That is what keeps their spirit alive, and it’s their spirit that you carry within you. On earth they were in your presence; in heaven they’re in your soul.

I’ve seen the man in the moon with his silly smile, his loving eyes and his tilted glasses on his nose; I’ve seen the woman in the stars with her arms stretched out to hold me; I’ve heard my friends in the sunrise and the sunset with their voice of reason and tone of reassurance; I’ve felt the touch of my loved ones as a gentle breeze blew through me.

I’ve seen them all and they were all at peace.

And they wrapped me in all the love they have for me…now and forever.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

Lyrics by Anne Dennish – Music and Vocals by Sutton Thomas 2016

“See You On The Other Side”

I said good-bye to a dear friend last night. His passing came as a shock to all who knew him, yet while sitting at his memorial service last night, I couldn’t help but think of all he taught me…taught all of us. And last night he was still getting his message across, as only he could do.

Charlie was a man that lived larger than life, and embraced every day of his life as a gift. He never liked to sweat the small stuff, and believed that the good always surpassed the bad. I can remember talking to him on the phone about a situation I was going through. He listened, he offered support, and then he said, “Ok, enough of all that. Tell me all the good stuff that happened today.”

That’s who he was, and that’s who he still is.

There were tears shed last night as his family shared beautiful memories of him, yet the laughter and smiles were much more prominent than the tears. As each story was told and each memory shared, those of us that knew him smiled at remembering our own memories, and laughed with each funny story told about him, because we knew them to be true!

Charlie and I had many conversations about love and life, and our spiritual beliefs. And last night he had the last word with all of us as we paid our final respects…yet then again, death isn’t final. It’s another journey for a soul to take, and while he left too soon, he left peacefully. He did what most can’t do: he left a legacy, he left a lesson, and he left a lot of love.

His passing was a “waking up” moment for all of us to realize how precious life is and that there is no day planner to tell us when our last breath will be taken. And Charlie knew that.

His gift to all that knew him was to love long and hard, cherish those that you love, and laugh every single day of your life. I believe that his gift to all that knew him is something that we can give to others, and that’s who he was…and is. And that is what he would have wanted.

I know that last night he was sitting up in the Universe with a drink in hand, smiling down on all of us, and having a good laugh at all the memories being shared! As for me, I could hear him telling me, as he had so many times throughout the years:  “Yeah, life can stink sometimes, but why worry about it? You do the best you can, you love the best you can, and you live the best you can. You can’t ask for more than that. So be grateful everyday and know that you’re blessed.”

Thank you for being my friend, Charlie, and no worries… you did get the last word in, as always, and you’ve left us with your legacy to share with all those we know.

My message for all of you today is simple:

“Live life to the fullest, love big, and laugh as hard as you can!”

It worked for Charlie, and it’s working for me. Give it a try!

Wishing you extra love and light today,

~Anne Dennish~

charlie

Rest in peace, my dear friend!

“Live on Love”

“Live on love.” That’s what my grandmother always said, and it’s how I try to live my life every day.

As I celebrated my birthday yesterday, I got the call to tell me that she had passed away, just two weeks before her 99th birthday! Wow, what a blessing to live that long!

Most would think I’d be upset that her passing fell on my celebration of life, yet I’m not. Yes, I shed some tears, but I also thought it was a beautiful thing that she chose that day to go home! She taught me to love life and live it! Up until the day she died she was living her life to the fullest, and isn’t that what we should all be doing?

I watch and listen to all this drama in other people’s lives and I can’t help but wonder what the point is. Life is precious and life get’s shorter as we get older. Why would anyone want to waste one precious moment on anger, drama, gossip and pettiness? Why wouldn’t you choose to live in the moment and walk away from such nonsense?

I’ll tell you what, as I get older I’m appreciating every day and every wonderful person that is in my life. I have so many teacher’s in my life to remind me of that, and my biggest one is my love, Rob. He’s seen me in moments of tears and hurt that someone has caused me, yet always reminds me that it’s their problem, not mine; that it’s their unhappiness and misery that makes them resent our happy life. And he’s right.

I ask you today to honor my Grandmother and “live on love!” Live your life through, around and with love. Live your life to the fullest and walk away from the people that cause you any less happiness and love that you deserve! The more you love life, the more life will love you back. Thank you, Grandma, for teaching me that.

“Live on love” today and watch what life hands you back!

 

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

love life

Author of “Waking Up”  copyright 2016

“Motherhood”

I wrote a story called “A Letter to My Children,” which can be found in my new book, “Waking Up.” I remember the day I wrote it, and I remember WHY I wrote it.

It was a balmy, summer night and as my kids were floating in and out of the house, and those that didn’t live home had called me, I started to think about all the things they don’t yet know about parenthood…what they don’t know about “motherhood.”

Being a mom has been the greatest role I’ve had in life, and as much I love being a writer, I believe I was born to be a mom. I wasn’t perfect and I know I made some mistakes along the way, yet everything I was as a mother was born out of love.a letter to my children

“And on the day the first of you was born, I was re-born. I was not longer just a married woman; I was born again as a mother. Life changed from that exact moment that you took your first breath, and with that breath, I held mine. I held my breath out of excitement of a new baby placed in my arms, and out of fear to all the responsibilities that were not a part of my life, from that day forward.””

“The love of a mother never dies, not with time, not with distance, not with death; the love of a mother grows stronger with each passing day, with each new milestone you reach and each heartache you encounter. Your mistakes become lessons for us, and with each mistake, together we become stronger and better for it.”

“There is nothing that can or will break or lessen the love a mother has for her children; the heart of a mother is the heart of her child.”

I love my five beautiful children; they’re all unique in their own way, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d like to think I gave them the strength to be who they are and to dream big. I know I made mistakes, yet my children and I learned through both their mistakes and mine. We’re all stronger for it. And isn’t “strength” one of the greatest gift we can give our children?

“There is the proverbial knowing that our children are not here to love us; we are here to love them.”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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