Francesca
The Ultimate “Graduate”
by Dallas McFadden,
Coworker at Kennedy Space Center

With Francesca's death, we can think of no one less deserving of this horrendous fate, no one less deserving this cruel "timing", than her. No one more in love with, and openly appreciative of, life itself, than her.

She was at the beginning pinnacle of her adult life. And, unlike others in this same situation (others, that in many cases can't seem to recognize how fortunate they are, how pivotal this time of their live is). In contrast, she clearly and continuously did recognize and appreciate it.

Unlike many her age, she had long since learned (or perhaps in her case, her behavior was not learned, but instead perhaps her natural trait) to appreciate and love others on an equal footing regardless of age, appearance, or class. And, as we that grew to know her soon learned, she could not help but (due to her lack of shyness) have her appreciation show through:

She could not help but show continual, thankful, and joyful awareness of this world.

Her continual and fearless curiosity about all things mechanical, electrical, natural, colorful etc. was such that, when it came to "work", anything that would be thrown her way, she saw as an opportunity, a challenge, a curiosity, a chance to learn. Never something to be feared, or dreaded or looked on as drudgery.

She (and us that knew her) knew that she'd found the career of her dreams, the career that matched her interests and talent. Her continuous daily excitement/enthusiasm revealed she was aware she'd found an environment of otherwise unimaginable camaraderie and support. But, in truth, she (without her even knowing it) created the environment of greatest camaraderie and support that had ever been experienced in my group before her arrival.

My group and I are heartbroken over what has happened. We so need her to still be here, to serve as an example of what a young engineer should be like, and aspire to. Now, with her loss, it is all just so infinitely sad! ! !

Why her of all people?!?!

As such, we will never, ever forget her, and always miss her.

In searching for any pattern or useful/positive "meaning" in her death, I have decided that, for me, I need to look at it as follows:

God and the angels, knowing Francesca's heart and actions were so far beyond her years, so far beyond mortal men, that God reached down and "graduated her" to "the next level". So, she did graduate! Not just from college, but well beyond that, well beyond the rest of use, and now resides continually above us. So, admiring her as we all do, and as we always will, let us all young or old, male or female, try in our heart-of-hearts and in our soul of souls, approach life and each other as she did, going by her example; fearlessly, enthusiastically.