I am writing this blog entry with a sad and heavy heart. While I am typing these words my whole being is crying and I am searching for the right words to start telling you about a beautiful and gentle soul called Frank.

On Valentine’s day, just a week ago, while I was working at the yarnshop CloseKnit on Alberta Street I received a phone call. When I heard a young man’s voice telling me that one of our co-workers had committed suicide, I genuinly believed that the caller had dialed the wrong number.

The caller introduced himself as Dwayne and told me he was Frank’s roommate. As the harsh reality of Dwayne’s words finally set in, I broke down in tears.

Friendly and Gentle Soul

I vividly remember the first Sunday I had to work with Frank at CloseKnit. It was the end of Summer 2007 and I myself had just started working for Sally. I was nervous and therefore a bit aloof toward Frank, but soon enough my heart was warmed by this incredibly friendly and gentle soul. He would smile all the time, and he had this grounded way of being, quietly walking around the store, gently straightening out unruly skeins of yarn.

One time when I was observing his interaction with a costumer, it struck me how gracious his moves were. The way he would lower his head to better listen to the needs of the knitter he was helping, the way he would open a book and turn pages, every single gesture… so gracefully.

I began to really like this intelligent and eloquent young man and I also very quickly noticed that he knew a whole lot about knitting! Many a time I would consult him about a certain technique. And it was Frank who told me with how many intervals I should pick up stitches for the border of my choli.

I became very fond of Frank and every time I had to work on Sunday, I would look forward being with him at the yarnshop.

We all loved Frank at CloseKnit…

Left with a lot of questions

I am deeply deeply saddened and I am having a hard time to accept that Frank is not with us anymore. As the case with many of us, I am left with a lot of questions. Why did he do it? What was hurting him so bad in this life? How come I never sensed that our cheerfull co-worker was hurting so bad? I did not sense it… my God I did not sense it at all.

If only I had paid more attention. If only I had looked deeper into his eyes, listened better to what he had to say… just maybe I could have reached out and done something….anything

Finding peace in Frank’s death

Over the past few days I have done a lot of searching. Soul searching but mainly searching about who Frank was.

Through Kelly Moe, who works at Bishop’s above the yarnshop, we found Frank’s Myspace account. I have been visiting Frank’s account every single evening and by doing so, I found a blog called “the Portland Periscope“. Robert, the writer of this blog, wrote an incredibly beautiful post about Frank.

While visiting Frank’s account again a few nights ago, I heard this incredibly beautiful song called “Exactly” by Amy Steinberg. The words of Amy’s song blew my mind and I am listening to it every single day.

Amy Steinberg knew Frank. She wrote about him in her latest blog entry.

Both Robert’s post and Amy’s song are helping me to find peace in Frank’s death.

Gathering this Sunday, February 24th

Yesterday I read on Frank’s MySpace account that there will be a gathering this Sunday February 24th, at Irving Park at the intersection of Fremont and 7th at 5.30 pm.

All of us at CloseKnit will be attending.

More and more it becomes clear to me that Frank was and is still loved by so many people.

Frank, I am so fortunate to have met you and I truly hope our paths will cross again in another lifetime. I will always remember you as a beautiful, sweet and gentle soul.


In Loving Memory

Frank F.C. Strong

1981 – 2008

8 Responses to Frank

  1. This was lovely and quite heartfelt. Thanks for sharing it with me and everyone.

    I never, ever saw Frank sad or outwardly feeling down. He didn’t let people see that. He suffered alone, silently. I do know that he liked going to work and enjoyed being there. And of course he loved his knitting. What a talented guy.

  2. Marianne says:

    What a sad news you got ! And what a loss to his friends and family, hes sounded like such a nice and charming young man with a whole future ahead of him.
    Veel sterkte met het verwerken dit verlies Nancy !

  3. shannon says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, for everyone’s loss. I went to Frank’s MySpace page and he was a kind, gentle soul. He seemed like someone that I would treasure to call a friend. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you whose lives he has touched.

  4. Edith van Dijk says:

    Mijn oprechte deelneming. Het blijft elke keer zo mysterieus als iemand die zo dierbaar is zelfmoord pleegt. Veel sterkte en dat je de mooie en leuke herinneringen van Frank zult koesteren.

  5. chayo says:

    Nancy, sending love and care towards all touched by franks life and his death. For you to see such kindness, grace and gentleness in others, Know that kindness, grace and gentleness is also you.
    Much love friend

  6. Renna says:

    What a heartbreaking tragedy that the enemy of our souls convinced him his life was not worth living. Though he’s a stranger to me, my heart is full of grief that the young man you wrote about is no longer a part of this world. 😦

  7. Kim says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I found out about Frank on Sunday at my knitting group and was trying to decide if I had interacted with him at CloseKnit and one other woman in my group believed she had meet him also. We were very sad to hear that he had died and wondered what happened.
    I have had a very close friend take his own life and unfortunately you wished you could see the signs or had been able to reach out to save them. I just remember my friend and the joy he brought to everyone he was around and that he had touched my soul.
    Frank was always very helpful and nice when he helped me at the shop.
    I am so sorry that everyone at Closeknit is having to deal with such a tragedy. Just know that your customers feel this and are thinking of you all.
    thanks for being a great space for knitting.
    With love and appreciation,

  8. […] on Alberta Street last Summer, I have been contemplating writing about it. I decided not to, but Frank’s death made me come out of the “CloseKnit closet”. On a much lighter note, more and more I […]

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