News & Blog

Dennis’s Passing

January 24, 2012

I’ve tried to write this a few times and even sitting here now, it just feels wrong.  Where do I begin and how do I end something that has one of the most profound beginnings in my life and something that I still don’t want to admit has ended.

As you can tell I’m not a huge fan of writing everything personal in my blog. I keep it mostly business or major events. So many of you write me asking about my family and personal life. Some of you also ask about Dennis and his story since it used to be up on my site. Our love story was on the site for a long time as well. It’s posted below for those of you who have never read it.

Dennis passed away last year. I’m still devastated and find it hard to believe. I’m not sure how to be okay with losing him or how I even move on from this. He was my soul mate and I loved him more than anything in the world.  We were connected on so many levels. 

  Along with his death came many changes. I’ve been busier than ever having to deal with the many things that he did for us.  I’ve recently moved back to Massachusetts to be closer to family and friends. There’s been so much upheaval and change in the last year. I’d like to say I’m finally settled and have stopped crying at least once a day, but just when I think I’m through the worst part, a new wave of grief hits. I’m not sure when or even if this ever goes away. Maybe time just makes it easier to deal with.

Many of you have been writing about classes and asking what I’m doing next. My two assistants that answer the business phones, Lisa and Jessica are not sure what to tell people, so I’m writing this blog. I’m sorry if it seems cold and emotionless, it’s the only way I can get through writing it.

I wrote 5 months ago that I would not be doing classes for at least a couple of years.  Now I’m not so sure. The last two classes in October and November were truly a healing experience for me; of course, the people that showed up had wisdom for me as well.  It was difficult and emotional for me to teach but already having people signed up, I did the class. It was a magical 3 days.   It made me realize what I’m supposed to be doing and why I am still Here without Dennis.  My focus was on others instead of myself. When I helped other people that weekend and saw the breakthroughs they had and felt their love, humanness, gratitude and joy, it made me feel alive again – something I haven’t been feeling very much. I think after all of these years of “stage fright” and thinking that writing books, opening restaurants, etc. is my calling, I have to admit that it’s teaching and being in front of a crowd that is my true calling.

The last 8 months have been a time of mourning and healing for me and I’m going to take the rest of the winter, spring and the summer to try and find my “spark” again and remember who I am. I’m not sure what the future holds, (which is different for me since I’m a visionary and not real great about living in the details of now).   Some days I think I still remember and can find moments of happiness, other days I’m still not sure who I am without him and can barely function from the sadness and pain.

– —Flash-forward a month… I wrote the above a month ago. It seemed disjointed and not very eloquent. I’m usually pretty good at expressing my emotions on paper but there really is no good way to express what I’ve been through with losing Den.  I was trying to hold it together while writing and just give the information and not go to deep into the pain of loss.  I’m sure many of you can understand.

There is a huge influx of emails and calls from those of you wanting classes– I’m just taking the next 8 months to heal and find peace again.  I’m thinking I will do more in the Fall of 2012, a year after the last class. I will announce them much earlier this time as many of you expressed frustration at only having 2 months of notice to plan.  Many of you also expressed frustration at not being able to register because they fill quickly. I will probably add two classes after September. But you will have plenty of notice. I will announce it well ahead of the summer since many of you are also away for the summer months and have told us you do not see the emails for end of the year classes before it’s too late. 

I’m looking forward to having the next 8 months to do a lot of soul searching, now that I can at least see some light streaming though. Seems to me I am constantly called to do this, but this was the biggest for me. I’ve never gone through anything this painful and devastating before. Not being able to do anything about it is frustrating for me also. All I can do is BE. I know there must be a reason, but not being able to bring Dennis back to me has been a hard thing to come to terms with. I talk to him every day and feel him with me and know he is guiding me.   It’s not the same as being able to feel his touch, hear his laughter and see his beautiful shell. I keep reminding myself though that that’s all it is, his shell that was here with me, and that his spirit is still shining bright through me. And when I listen really hard through the tears, I can even hear his laughter and beautiful voice again. Those are the moment’s I’m trying to focus on, the joy of who his spirit is and will continue to be. I know he is on to important work and without the constraints of a broken shell. That’s what is bringing me true peace, knowing that he is okay, more than okay… free.


Back Together

Our Story that was posted on my site almost 10 years ago:

Back in time
Twelve years ago, when I was 24, I met someone who I fell totally head over heals in love with.

Dennis and I dated for 2 years.

I felt like he was my soul mate and we had a great relationship for most of that time. Eventually though, family commitments and a difference in lifestyles took its toll and we broke up. But I never stopped loving him.

I often thought of Dennis and wondered what it would be like to see him again. I knew though, that we were at different places in our lives and I had much to do. So, I eventually got over him, but I never forgot him!

Fast forward 12 years later
I was living with a boyfriend but getting ready to move out within the month. I knew he was not the one for me.

One afternoon, as I was walking out the door, my phone rang. The voice on the other end asked for Alissa Cohen. This is Alissa, I replied. Dennis Marciello, the voice on the other end said. I believe my reply to that was a big, WHAT?. I couldn’t believe it. 12 years later and there he was on the other end of the phone line. I hadn’t spoken to him at all, in 12 years.

So as he began asking me how I was, where I was, and what I was doing with my life, my brain was spinning! Nervously, I began to babble on and on but eventually calmed down enough to ask where he lived and what he was doing.

He owned a restaurant on the waterfront and lived close to that, only 45 minutes from me! And he had been thinking about me for years. (Always nice to hear) He tried to reach me a few times over the years to no avail. Eventually he contacted someone who knew me and they told him I had a web-site. He immediately got my number off of the site and called me that day.

At the end of that conversation Dennis asked if he could take me to lunch. (I began to explain what lunch for me would be, but that didn’t seem to deter him) I told him I was really busy and he told me he was going to Italy over Christmas, so I said I would call him after new years which was a few weeks later.

Well, as I hung up the phone my mind was on overload. All of the memories from t he past came rushing forward. For the next few weeks as I tried to focus on my business, thoughts of Dennis were distracting me to no end.

Finally, after the first of the year, I decided to call him. January 3rd 2003 to be exact. I asked if he still wanted to go to lunch, and if so, how about 2 days later on Sunday. He said absolutely and we planned a date and a time.

As I hung up the phone I had the most startling intuition. I knew that Dennis was going to ask me to marry him. I had a picture in my mind of seeing him again and felt that within an hour of our meeting he would be asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. Now, part of my brain was telling me I was crazy, but I just couldn’t shake this feeling or that image.

I had no idea where Dennis was at in his life. I knew that he never wanted to get married again, nor did I ever think I would. I just never thought it a necessary thing to do. I thought I was crazy for thinking all this and tried to let it go. I even started thinking I wouldn’t go, but I knew I had to, if only to establish that there was nothing still there between us and so I could get on with my day to day life and stop thinking about him!

Well, by the time Sunday came, 2 days later, I was a nervous wreck!

I couldn’t believe how I felt. I hadn’t seen him in years. What if he had changed? What if he hadn’t changed? HA! What if he was involved with someone and just wanted to take me to lunch! Ok, I needed to forget all of the inane chatter inside my head about marriage and getting back together with him. After all, I was working too hard to get distracted now. I was on a mission with raw food and healing the word to think about such minor things, right?

Well, the phone rang that morning. It was Dennis. Could I meet him earlier, he asked. He couldn’t wait. I knew I was in trouble. That’s what I kept thinking the whole way while I was driving to meet him. It was all over. My life was about to change. No mistaking it. I didn’t know how this was going t o play out, but there was no doubt after hearing his voice that day.

As I walked in to the place where we agreed to meet, I saw Dennis standing, waiting for me. I was stunned that within minutes it felt like we were never apart. After 5 minutes of conversation and small talk, Dennis sat me down and said he had to tell me something. He said he always felt that I was his soul mate and he felt like losing me 12 years ago was the biggest mistake of his life. He said he thought about me everyday for the last 2 years and finally had to try to find me. Sitting there that night looking into his eyes, it felt so different from anything I ever felt before. I knew that I never stopped loving him.

As we spoke and got to know each other again, I talked on and on about raw food and what I was doing with my life. Within an hour he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. I told him how I was living my life and what I wanted from someone and he said he was ready to change.
Call me crazy, but I believed him.
And I’m glad I did.
Two days later he asked me to marry him.
We were married Feb 1st 2003

After the wedding
Dennis has changed more (and more quickly) than anyone I have ever seen. He has changed his entire life. He has become the person I always knew he was.

I really wasn’t sure if I would ever find that perfect person for me. I was almost giving up hope about finding that person with all the qualities I wanted in someone. The person that I thought I would love and want to be with and someone who was eating this way and living this lifestyle. I never in my wildest dreams thought that Dennis and I would not only be back together and married after all that time, but that he would become absorbed in this way of life, traveling with me and learning, and sharing this experience with me.

It’s so amazing to be able to experience this way of living with someone you love. Sharing food, preparing it, eating it, is such an intimate act and one we do so often throughout the day. It’s so often been a lonely act for me when ever I have been in other relationships. I’ve had to keep that part of myself separate.

It’s not just the food preparation but the actual sharing of food. Food for me is linked to love in so many ways. I love making food for people; it’s my way of loving them. And sharing a meal is a way to connect with people you love. And serving healthy, healing food is a gift for me that I feel honored to be able to give to people.

Does that sound funny? That food could be such a big part of a relationship? But its so much more then just the actual food. Eating healthy and taking care of, and loving yourself is essential to being able to care for and love other people. I’m reminded of a favorite quote I had hanging on my refrigerator for many years: You have a responsibility to yourself and others to make yourself happy!

There are so many things that partners experience, share and do in a relationship, but for me, sharing a healthy lifestyle just makes all of those other things happen so much more smoothly. When you feel unhealthy, overweight, sick, depressed, moody, irritable, etc, its makes it more difficult to feel and give love and have fun with your partner.

It raises your quality of life to another level when you’re operating at optimal health.

It’s so nice that I have someone who will inspire me to be healthy and fit and happy and that it’s not always me having to try to inspire and motivate the person I’m with. Having someone in my life that jumps out of bed at 4:30 in the morning ready to work out, meditate and then make a smoothie is so refreshing for me. (Although, yes, I have to admit, sometimes a bit annoying, its true. 4:30! Every morning! I think I’ve created a monster!) Now let’s see if I can keep up. Ill keep you posted!



  • SAB

    I think you experienced what few people have in a lifetime. Cherish the memories. So sorry for your loss Alissa!

  • Faith

    Thank you so so much for sharing about all of that! I send you hugs to help you feel some comfort, and really appreciate you and Dennis. I’m in Northampton, figuring you are closer to Boston?   take care, Faith Lubitz

  • Heather Gibbs

    Thank you for sharing! You have always been an inspiration to me.  Hugs and prayers to you for your lost.

  • Jennifer

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Alissa.  I was one of your students in the spring of 2010 and your class changed my life.  When you spoke about Dennis, the love you felt for him was evident.  My prayers and best wishes for you,  Jennifer Wegryn

  • Monkapotapus

    Thank you so much for sharing Alissa~
    You are one of the strongest & most inspiring women that I know.
    I am sorry for your loss, but I can see Dennis’s spirit is helping you heal~
    Monkapotapus (Heather)

  • Katie

    I’m so sorry.  I, too, lost someone so very dear to me last year.  A friend says it takes 3 years to feel normal again.  It’s good to have a time frame for reference, although it will surely be different for everyone.  Almost 10 months later, I still find myself realizing he’s gone and breaking down.  But this does happen less frequently now than it did at first.  Good luck to you, and surround yourself with your family and friends.  Knowing that he’s with God has helped me, even though I didn’t really believe until he passed.  Hugs to you.

  • Elizabeth Fraser

    I think of you & send love your way every day, Alissa. I’m so glad you shared this with your raw food community/family.  One moment at a time is all we can do.  You are such a gift & I send warm hugs your way.  XOXO

  • Vm4him

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, Alissa.  Is it okay for me to ask what happened?  I’m wondering how he passed away. 

  • Susan

    From the moment I got your DVD and you were preparing raw food, your beautiful personality shined thru! I remember thinking, what a great friend you’d be & how lucky friends and loved ones are to have you in their lives. Your husband was blessed to have you, and you, him. Somehow you’ll make it through, day by day, and your teaching and sharing with others is a fantastic, selfless act which will continue to inspire others!

  • Devotedwife

    Although your story ended differently than anyone would have liked, it’s still a beautiful love story.  I hope that sharing this helped in someway.  Praying for you!

  • Haley

    I’m so sorry about your loss. I will keep you in my prayers.

  • Lskein1

    Hi Alissa,

    I am so very sorry for your loss.  I can’t even imagine the depths of your sorrow after losing your soul mate.  I had the fortunate opportunity to spend several days with you both in your house in Florida.  It was so very apparent the love that you both shared.  I remember you telling me your story and how lucky I thought you both were.  I hope you find comfort in knowing that you are better today for having loved so deeply.  I have no doubt that you will get to experience great joy in your life again.  Please hang in there and know that lots of happy thoughts are being sent your way.  My best to you!!!

    Liz Klein   South Dartmouth, MA

  • Cherie Oden

    Dearest Alissa, my heart goes out to you.  I do know the kind of pain you are experiencing, and I know you will get through it, as difficult as it seems right now.  Remember all the good times, and know that what you had with Dennis was rare and wonderful.  The time you had together was much too short, but you were truly blessed to have had it.  Never forget that.  Much love and many hugs!  ;)

  • Deb Kloosterman

    ..I am so very sorry Alissa…sending gentle hugs and prayers for comfort and strength during this very difficult time. The rawness of grief will get less intense over time..though it’s edges may still pop up at times. It is good to find what activities, people etc., strengthen and support you..and you will find yourself again, not quite the same, but enriched by the love you and Dennis shared..warmly, Deb

  • Timelessspirit

    Blessings and love Alissa – I know Dennis filled you to overflowing with both. They will carry you through this.

    In light,

  • Rhonda

    My thoughts and prayers are with you!  You shared very openly and that is very healing, and beautiful – because it is so real!  You are so blessed to have experienced such love!  You will heal!!  There is a lot of love surrounding you and you are a light!!! 

  • Renee

    Hello my Friend!

    You have been in my thoughts and prayers for many, many months…as you know!  I am very sorry for your loss.  My heart just goes out to you!  I’m glad that you are taking time for yourself.   I wish I were there so that I can just give you a BIG BEAR HUG!!!!!  Thank you for still being such an inspiration to me!

    I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Caryn F Ginsberg 83

    So sorry for your loss, Alissa. Wishing you continued strength at this difficult time.

  • Joyce

    Alissa, I am so sorry for the pain you are experiencing because of the transformation your husband has acquired.
    Soul Mates are never apart. They are like pieces of a puzzle, fitting together in all kinds of ways, seen and unseen. Even though you cannot see his crystallized human form, he is still with you… now and always. When you feel the pain, you are feeling his presence. Be Happy as I am sure he would want… spread your happiness in the space and time you have here.Many Blessings, Light and Love goes out to you today and always.You are a beautiful person.

  • taragonegreen

    I wish you much presence with yourself over the next months. I was able to get through death by living my life greater. Doing what it was that gave me passion that gave me life and energy.Paying his life forward. I took him with me, I pictured my loved one smiling and cheering me on. To take that energy of grief and allow it to transform into love and passion. Grief can become like a heavy yoke. And stunt our spiritual growth. This does not serve you or his energy. living greater does not mean you will not have tears for years to come. I chose to dedicate one thing to him that first year to bring his memory into my life. on hard days i worked on my project harder with more energy and more tears. I chose a way to help others. And five year and a 1/2 years later Every time i tell this story or help others through living my life greater, i honor him and myself. Psychologically this just gets us back to living. but spiritually it has kept me connected to my love in wonderful joyous ways and i can always feel him smiling. You live such an inspired life already,find a way to take him with you and live even greater. I wish you blessings peace and joy as you move forward. Thank you for showing us your heart

  • Fdc1128

    My heart goes out to you.  You have obviously been through more than most of us can imagine.  Please know that my sympathies are with you and I know you will eventually rise above it all and move forward.  So sorry to hear to your loss. 

  • Jen Ridge

    Hi Alissa. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I gasped when I saw this post. I know and remember how much you loved him. Know that you are definitely doing what you are supposed to be doing. Stay strong. I look forward to hearing all about what you are up to, but for now, know that you deserve to continue to take the time to heal. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I would love to come see you and work with you again. The 5 days I shared with you in your class was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I think about your raw bagels often. :) They were the yummiest! Take care for now. Give yourself the time you need. Your fans and followers will always be here.
    xoxo -
    Jen Ridge

  • rawkaczie


    You were so blessed to have a wonderful man in your life, count your blessings and know that he is with you forever.  Thank you for sharing, I am sure “we all” look forward to hearing from you again.

  • Cheryl

    Dear Alissa,
    My heart goes out to you during this difficult time in your life. You were so blessed to have Dennis the beautiful man in your life while so many others can only dream of such an experience. Believe me I can testify. I’m 43 never been in love haven’t ever really been intimate with any man more less my soul mate. While I am still hopeful, you are so fortunate in more ways than one. Even though Dennis is no longer here on earth you can still feel his presence and his love surrounding you. You are also extremely fortunate to take all the time you need to heal when so many others when they lose a spouse can barely take 5 days (in the real corporate world). You are one of the most inspiring, gracious knowledgeable, visionary, gifted and beautiful person I have met who has more teaching and learning to share. And once you are ready we will be here, ready and waiting with open arms. Keep your head up as life goes on. J Love to you…. 

  • Bonnie

    Thank you for sharing a sacred and beautiful part of your life.  I truly believe that this life is not the end.  You can and will see your love again.  I appreciate all you are doing in regards to helping others realize the blessings that come from feeding our bodies the right fuel.  I have been inspired and motivated to make positive changes.  My prayers go out to you.  

  • Sharon

    I was your class in the spring of 2010 with my niece and we enjoyed it so very much.  I am so sorry to hear of your loss.  Is it ok to ask how he died and if it was sudden?  I cannot even imagine the pain you are feeling.  I will keep you in prayers.
    Blessings and Love

  • Mary


    So sorry to hear of your loss.  May he rest in peace, and may the love and good wishes of all those whom you have touched, comfort you during this time. You are such an inspiration to so many. Blessings, prayers and Love. ox

  • Whoa-Raw

    So sorry for your loss. My heart deeply goes out to you. No words can express how tough it is to lose a loved one, 
    Just know that I will always be keeping you in my prayers for Healing Hands from the Above to help you through and through. May the road ahead of you be filled with strength, peace, and comfort.
    Lots, lots, & lots of love from me to you!! 

  • Skywalker4975

    Dearr Alissa, I have followed your journey since I moved to Maine and we stopped working out together in Gloucester MA. We connected briefly on the phone years later when I was desperate for coconut butter, as I have been making raw foods for people up here, and your company had some.
    My dear there are no words I can express nor wisdom I can send you but I will tell you this. I know you well enough to know that your connection with Dennis will continue on. I know that the spark that is Alissa is still there. And I know that over the next couple of years you will be very here and now. I hope you find comfort in the talks you can still have with him. I hope you find comfort in some of the old Lazarus material. And I hope you find comfort in the love and light I am sending you.
    Linda C. Prichard

  • Lina Sims

    omg – i cant believe i missed this post and all the other email correspondence. i just accessed an email account that i hadn’t used in a long while and and saw your thank you note  – and was shocked to hear that Dennis had passed last year. I am so sorry to hear this so late, but know that I along with many other raw food teachers truly feel blessed and honored to have been a part of the magic that he helped to create at your workshops. I pray that you continue to find peace, calm, love, and happiness — and that you would be “anchored in new experiences” going forward.
    Lina Sims, Level 3 Instructor

  • Budd Anne

    First of all I am so sorry about Dennis then read your story here, so beautiful inspiring as a whole…. I am going to share this with my husband Kevin the true meaning behind being in love relationship. I am so glad to read this, I dont know maybe a very good mentor to learn from one another. So gratitude to have you in my life through the raw food lessons on website and your books. I do hope one day to meet you in person at one of your classes that what prompt me to look it up here till I read your letter. Hugs with loves to you.

  • Anne

    I was looking up here for the certification Raw Cooking classes and came up to this letter. I am so sorry about Dennis. Very heartful warming sharing your letter explaining about how you two met. I believe in fates so much. ….so gratitude to have you part of our life through your books and website videos/links. You and Dennis beautiful soul and great mentors for others… I do hope to enroll your classes one day. Thoughts are with you and thank you for sharing with us. Hugs with loves…. <3

  • Mary

    How could anyone not love you, Alissa?  You’re a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL person inside and out, and I love you for loving Dennis as you did and caring about him.  May G-d richly bless you now and forever.  I believe that you will see him again in the next world.

  • 052999

    Thank you so very much. You sharing your gift, your life and your loves.
    I hope you feel the love you have shared with the word enveloping you in return during this time of healing.

  • Linda

    I am so very sorry for your loss Alissa.  I took your class in Beverly 12 years ago and then later read your story about Dennis and thought it was so sweet.   It’s nice that you got to reconnect and spend the time with him that you did.  But I’m so sorry to hear this.  Take care.

  • Anonymous


    I met Dennis   when you lived in SoFl and you were hosting the Boutenkos. Dennis  was directing cars and seemed a bit
    peeved…well…wouldn’t you be if you had to direct cars in an area
    where there was virtually no parking?  :-)   My sincere condolences. I am happy to hear you are trying to move forward despite a devastating loss.