“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

 

 

“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