Francene Cucinello was a friend and idol to many. And she’s surely missed today. So I want to take a moment to express my gratitude at having had Francene in my life on a personal level. Please forgive me for getting personal and making this a bit about myself. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not always a piranha ready to strike at a moment’s notice. Just want to get this off my chest and I figure at least a few people out there will read this and remember my friend and the impact she continues to make on this world.
For most, Francene was a glaring voice of reason and excitement on the radio. That was our beautiful Francene in all that she did. Her life charmed many and she left an amazing trail where ever she went.
Being in her presence was cathartic and comfortable. She brought an unexpected and most welcome bit of calm to this hectic life. She always allowed me to (or insisted, if we’re getting technical) leave work at the door. She always knew when something was wrong. She always knew how to get it out and how to handle it. She was that kind of person.
Who knew that meeting her for the first time a few years ago as a guest on her show would lead to such joy? I certainly didn’t it. I’m not embellishing in the least when I say that I smiled inside and gave thanks to some higher power each time I was around her. Her personality was just that intoxicating.
We planned to spend my upcoming birthday together watching the premier of LOST (she never forgave me for not inviting her to meet William Mapother the last time we sat down – she would have hogged the entire conversation, if you’re wondering why I didn’t allow that to happen – I’m sure she’ll get the last laugh some how). All the while cackling over how embarrassingly both political parties were running their special election on the same night. She wasn’t sure if she’d be in Charlotte or Louisville, so our back-up plan was to hang out via iChat or Skype. You can imagine how excited we both were to cause a little bit of a political stir.
She’ll be heavily on my mind that night. I’ll honor her by doing exactly what she wanted.
I started this morning by listening to Francene’s last voicemail and reading through our text message archive. Her catty remarks were a necessary reminder to never hold back. A reminder that being oneself is important. I hope I live to be half the courageous soul she was at her young age.
Sitting through the memorial service was no simple feat. Listening to people like Congressman John Yarmuth share their love of Francene didn’t make it any easier to accept this physical absence. But it certainly reminded me of what’s important in life. Of the important role Francene played in everyone’s life.
Today I said goodbye to a friend. I miss her.
Please send your memories of Francene to: FranceneMemories@gmail.com