If there ever was a photo of the word mirth, it would be a photo of my cousin Frankie.
Frankie passed away very unexpectedly yesterday afternoon, from a presumed aneurysm. He was 32 years old. We should know later today exactly what it was. I am confident in my use of “presumed”, because Frankie had Marfan’s Syndrome. Marfan’s Syndrome makes you tall and skinny with long fingers and toes. Those are the outward signs. The most serious effect of Marfan’s Syndrome is thin, stretchy veins and arteries. Weakened blood vessels cause a heightened risk of stroke and aneurysms. This syndrome does come with a shortened life expectancy, but not this short. He hadn’t been feeling well and was scheduled for an MRI tomorrow. It turned out that tomorrow would be two days too late.
That’s enough about his passing though. I would like to focus on his dash. You know the dash, the one that lives between your date of birth and your date of death. Frankie’s dash, albeit short, was full of love, full of joy and as the dash that belongs to each of us, full of challenge.
My cousin Frankie was born into a house of love on July 6th, on a sunny day full of promise. He was the first of three boys that my Uncle Frank had with Aunt Lisa. Joey and Nick are his brothers. I’m am so sure that all of their hearts are filled with profound sadness. I wish I could absorb some of it for them, but my heart too aches with this loss.
Later in his life, Frankie got a sister, Ashley and another brother, Matt. And although they do not share the same mom, I know Frankie loved them just the same as if they did. He also had a step brother and three step sisters. There were no halves or steps in anything Frankie loved.
Frankie was my first male cousin on the mafia side. There are many more, but there are no more like him.
He attended Holy Rosary School and Lincoln High School in Tacoma. Frankie went on to follow in his fathers footsteps and was a Master Painter. He spent much of his past few years of work, painting the new high rises popping up all over Seattle. He was very good at his craft. Being tall is definitely an advantage as a painter. Frankie was a dependable worker, meticulous and thorough, I’m sure he will be missed by his employers.
He has painted many a family accent wall and several of the bedrooms of the little cousins. There are purple walls and Seahawks striped rooms all over the area that exist just because of Frankie.
Frankie was definitely a family guy. All the littles I’m sure are hurting very much. Frankie always played with them at family functions. He really enjoyed making them laugh and squeal. He was the cousin they went to when they wanted to roll down the hill, hula hoop, start a game of tee ball, blow bubbles, do chalk art on the sidewalk, or get thrown into the air. He bought them the best gifts for their birthdays and for Christmas and I dare say that he was the only adult often invited to their friend parties.
Frankie was an accomplished bowler. He has been bowling in tournaments for years and had reached the elusive 300 many times. He went to Reno for the nationals, I don’t know how many times…….
He loved the Mariners and especially the Seahawks. Last month he went to Green Bay with his brother Nick and his friend Ben to witness the Seahawks (unfortunately) lose to the Packers. I bet it mattered to him that the Seahawks lost, I know he had a great trip anyway.
Frankie was a little awkward and had trouble with the ladies. I think he just got too nervous. Our cousin Josh told me that he used to always try to set him up, and while sometimes the girls were all about it, Frankie would get nervous and he would act kind of jerky, ending any promising “unions”.
But this past Christmas, Frankie brought a beautiful woman with him. She was his first “real” girlfriend and I know for a fact he was very happy and excited to tackle that part of life. He was also so proud that she was a boobie girl, and unfortunately arrived a little over/under dressed to meet the family. It doesn’t matter. He was happy. They were in love. Her name is Carmella, I know that she is suffering this loss as well.
Just a couple of weeks ago, he bought himself a brand new Ford Mustang. He has always driven Mustangs, I don’t think he ever had any other kind of vehicle. Every five or ten years, he bought a brand new black Mustang. Nice car. He became an angel right beside it.
Frankie recently told our Grandpa that he didn’t think he would be around much longer (Frankie, not grandpa). Our Grandfather, wise beyond his many years, told Frankie that the statement was bullshit and that he would live to be a very old man, at least to 80. I love our Grandpa. As for Frankie, he obviously felt it coming.
Our whole family is blessed to have had the chance to know and love someone as wonderful and unique as Cousin Frankie. And I know that he was happier in the last few months than he has ever been in his life.
Frankie is survived by a gigantic family and many friends who have nothing but great things to say about him, and happy memories to share.
We are blessed with a new angel to look over us, and likely prank us (though I’m sure our Mafia Grandma met him at the gate and will keep him in line). Please pray for our family in this time of tragedy and loss. We appreciate it.