Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Losing a friend!

Photo of snow on the ground in the mountains o...Image via Wikipedia
Yesterday I lost a lifelong friend. My cousin Frank. Well, we were almost related. He was my cousin's cousin and in an Italian family that means we were cousin's too. So, as we grew up together we always referred to each other as cousins. When he was around seven his mom and dad decided to move out to California. Every summer he came home and stayed with his grandparents. We would spend time together when he was home and the rest of the year we would write about the things going on in our lives. Life got busy and while raising our families we lost touch. But a few years ago we reconnected. He brought his kids out to meet everyone and they spent a few weeks visiting. They stayed with us for a few days and it was just like old times. He was the same old Frank. Funny, loving and I was so happy to be able to spend time with him again.

Frank was the most kind and tolerant person I have ever know and probably will ever know. He was accepting of everyone and there was not one person in this world that he wouldn't help. That was his legacy.

Life isn't easy for most of us but he was gay and grew up in the seventies. He faced quite a few challenges along the way. But I never saw him let the negativity of the times control him. I remember a few instances when I was furious with some of the people around us, he just shrugged his shoulders and let it be. I know he was hurt but he didn't show it. He remained loving and kind and moved above the anger. He taught me about acceptance and tolerance. I will miss his laugh, his smile and his love.

Sometimes it seems that death won't leave us alone. It comes calling in the loss of another person we care about. It is a very real part of life. We may ask---why him, why now, or even why not me? Is it a part of a bigger plan? None of us know the answer. Believing we will all meet again someday is what helps me keep going. For now, for whatever reason, it is my time to live. And I am going to live the rest of my life trying to be more like Frank. To honor his legacy by being more forgiving, more tolerant and kind. For it's true "everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle". 

Think about the legacy of those you have lost. What did they leave behind that you can learn from and use in you life? What made them special? What do you want your legacy to be?

Peace to all,

R.I.P Frank Otello
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  1. Annette,
    I am so sorry to hear about Frank. I remember you talking about him and the fun times you had together. Know that you are in my prayers.
    Linda Harrity

  2. Thanks Linda. He was one of a kind and i will miss him terribly. See you soon.

  3. annette, i know the cousin you eulogized so well........i read your blog to michiko and we enjoyed it together......in our sorrow we need to remember that infectuous laugh and the memories....frank will hurt no more and he went home to our savior,and reunited with his parents dom and jo frank was my adopted big bro and i will cherish him in my heart forever love julie spaulding

  4. Dear Julie---Thanks so much for reading this with Michiko. It means so much to me that you shared this together. Frank was one of a kind and lucky to have so many caring friends. Being an only child myself I always thought of him as kind of a surrogate brother so I can relate to how you feel. He is reunited with his family in God's great kingdom and it is our responsibility to keep him alive in our hearts and memories.
    Peace & Love, Annette


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