Frankie was the big brother I never had. He cared about me, and I cared about him. He made me laugh uncontrollably and was the biggest tease you'd ever want to know. He was the worst to play board games with- a compulsive cheater. He threatened the life of every guy I pursued and freaked out when I told him I was failing a college class on account of working too much.
I nicknamed him Frankie G and Frankie G-Ski. We would lay next to each other at night and share secrets- me, my insecurities and hopes for the future; he, his love for his wife and newborn baby and his feelings on marriage.
In 2008, when his barracks were bombed, Frankie saved the lives of several of his Army brothers. Tearing at the rubble piece by piece to uncover the men who'd been buried. I think he was changed after that- he did his best to explain to me what he had experienced that day, but there was no way for me to truly understand.
Frankie loved the women in his life more than anything. He would have sacrificed anything for his wife, baby girl, Momma and little sister.
I never understood why Frankie cut ties with me. I blamed it on PTSD, but it still left me with no peace. And years after our last conversation, I still grieve the loss of his friendship.
And today, I grieve the loss of his life. Frankie was KIA on May 4, 2013.
He will forever be my fake-big brother. He will forever be my friend. He will forever be in my heart.
I love you, Frankie.