“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

 

 

“My Voice Is In My Writing”

just for today

There’s so much in my heart right now and so many thoughts in my head. I want to talk to someone and let it all out, yet it seems lately that no one wants to listen. No one wants to hear my thoughts and feelings, no one wants to hear my truth. I need to ramble, to vent, to let it all out, yet it’s all tucked inside me and it’s driving me crazy.

Talking to someone is my way of figuring things out; what I’m feeling, what I’m thinking and why. Talking helps me to get it out and hear it in a new perspective; talking to someone allows them to be a gift that I need at times: a different perspective or a voice of reason.

Yet no one is listening and I find myself literally drowning in my own thoughts, in my own heartache. I find myself feeling alone and unable to feel love or happiness. Losing two loved ones in a short amount of time last month had a profound affect on me. I always appreciate each new day that life has to offer, yet when a life is suddenly taken and you’re not ready for it and didn’t see it coming, it certainly changes you.

And it changed me.

I’m sure the changes are temporary, but lately I’m not sure…I’m not sure of anything. What I need most right now is a listening ear and someone who can allow me the time to heal, the time to figure this all out, and who can do it with love and compassion.

I’m a strong person and I’ve been through worse than this, but something is different this time and I can’t seem to put my finger on it. I’m a spiritual person who understands death and knows that all these emotions are simply things coming to the surface; that this was all meant to happen this way and at this time.

There’s a lesson coming from all of it and I know I can’t rush it along. I know I need to be patient and realize that this journey I’m on now is leading me to another chapter in my life, one that will be different and better.

I know  in my heart that it’s not just the loss of two loved ones that is causing this; it’s so much bigger than that and so much more.

I’m standing outside of myself as a spectator, observing all that is and isn’t in my life right now. I’m understanding that I have put so much time and effort in to loving those in my life that I forgot to love myself as well. And I know to my toes that in order for someone to love me the way I need to be loved, I have to love myself that way first.

One of the greatest blessings of being a writer is just this: that when my voice can’t be heard, it can be read in what I write. When no one wants to listen to me, someone may want to read about me. My words are my heart and soul, whether they’re spoken or written, yet I know they need to speak out loud.

But they can’t.

Not right now.

Not until someone thinks I’m worthy and important enough to listen to, and not until I know that I am.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

balance my darling

 

“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