Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Rest in Peace, Fran  

I got a call late 2 nights ago from my brother. He was calling to let me know that a girl I went to grade school with, Francesca Opre, had been hit by a car and killed a day or two earlier. Seems someone ran her down-and kept going, the asshole. She was on life support for a day or two. Since she was brain dead, they decided to pull the plug, and Fran passed away.

I hadn't talked to Fran in years. Maybe not since grade school, I'm not even sure. But she ran into my brother a year ago (I am not sure) in Chicago-she ended up working at a bar pretty close to the place Stu works, so he saw her pretty often, and he is good friends with people who are good friends with her. She approached him for the first time because she thought he was me (pretty damn impressive on her part, either way). I guess she would ask about me every time she'd see Stu. I had been hoping to go say hey to her the next time I was back home, but I've missed my chance. According to Stu, she was the sweetest girl, and a great person. Goddamnit.

Stu did tell me something that made me feel really good, but also made me feel worse for not having made it home to see Fran before she was killed. I guess she had told him that in grade school she didn't really fit in, and that she got a lot of crap from the other kids (big damn surprise). But she told him that I was always nice to her, and didn't treat her like the others did. I feel like I am bragging by bringing this up, but in the recent past I've found myself wondering how I treated others back then, and whether or not I was one of those asshole kids. I may have been, though I hope I wasn't. But hearing Stu tell me that after, hell, nearly 14 years Fran fondly remembered how I treated her way the hell back then....makes me feel pretty damn good. And also sad.

Fran, I'm torn up that I didn't get a chance to get reacquianted with you before you passed. I'm glad you had a chance to make an impact on my brother, and bring some light into his life, as well as into the lives of everyone you knew. It's too late now for me to reconnect with you, but I am glad I don't have to live with regretting the way I treated you. I'm glad I could have a positive impact on your life, and I hope it made a difference, no matter how small. Maybe we'll meet up in whatever comes next, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Sidenote: I am searching the home page of my grade school/home church to see what news they have of Fran's passing in the bulletin. What is the first thing I see? A list pops up of upcoming services, and the people they are being dedicated to. The first one I saw was being dedicated to Janina Braune, a girl I was very good friends with my senior year of high school. She went to Georgetown, and I was on that campus after my first senior year of college. I didn't get a chance to stop by and say hey (and reconnect), but figured I would do so soon enough. She died a couple months later-she slipped and fell off a cliff out west, on a trip celebrating her grduating from college. Another opportunity missed. I have to stop putting off calling old friends. It's depressing when that option is no more.

On another note, I'm sad as hell for my brother who has to go thru yet another death of a friend. This shit happens to him way too often. I'm sorry, Stu. I'm always here for you when you need me.

Francesca Elizabeth Opre

Francesca Elizabeth Opre, 28, of Chicago, died Sunday, June 20, loving daughter of Jim and Carmel Opre; and loving sister of Elena Opre of Downers Grove; also survived by her grandmother, Agnes Opre of Toledo, OH. Fran was born in Hammond, IN and lived briefly in Wilmington, DE and Flint, MI before moving to Downers Grove. She attended St. Joseph's Grade School and Downers Grove North H.S. Fran moved to Chicago in 1997, employed as a bartender at Delilah's Bar in Chicago. Fran had a very loving heart and will be dearly missed by her family and many, many friends. Visitation Wednesday 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Funeral Thursday 9:15 a.m. from Adams-Winterfield & Sullivan Funeral Home, 4343 Main St., (1 block S. of Ogden), Downers Grove, to St. Joseph Church. Mass 10 a.m. Interment Mount Carmel Cemetery. 630-968-1000 or www.adamswinterfieldsullivan.com.

Hi, my name is Natalie. Fran was a really good friend of mine, I found your blog in a weird conincidence. Franny was the most amazing person I have ever known- just totally sweet and fun...I miss her so much. I thought you might want to see some of the things people have been writing about her: http://www.legacy.com/ChicagoTribune/Guestbook.asp?Page=Guestbook&PersonId=2351886&MailType=Guestbook
My name is Akiko, my younger brother Mark dated Fran for a couple of years and lived together for most of that time. He getting married this fall but him and Fran stayed friends. He is extremely broken up which is expected because she really was an awesome person. I will miss her greatly.
I was very fortunate to have become friends with Fran though the girls that worked for me. I used to call her my "mun chee chee". How could anyone ever forget her smile, or the intensity in her eys when she told a story or was just being her mischieveous self? She will always hold a special place in my heart.
A couple of us are trying to get flyers out to help catch her killer. They are in english and spanish. The problem is that the media gave out the wrong car. I was able to get the correct information from the Chicago Police. I am begging anyone that can help to please go to my link and print out some of the flyers that we have made. It has been very difficult to to do since the city is so big, and I feel that it is important to get to more neighborhoods.
This is a better spot to print the flyers. I did not realize that the print quality would be so awful on yahoo.Thank you!
God, I miss Fran.

I found out that she had died about a week after the fact. I was stunned. I guess that I was lucky to see her about a week before she passed away. Fran was always a highlight of a stop into Delilah's and I was there this evening and saw a poster for a benefit for her memorial fund and a pic of her next to a candle and it really hit me and the tears started flowing. She was such a good person and I'll never forget her.
One cool thing was that she was able to take a trip w/ her sis to Italy shortly before she died. That's something that I've always put off and motivation not to wait because we don't know what's coming.
She was the best and is sorely missed.
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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

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