Eulogy for Frank J. Cissne


My brother’s life is a love story so it is appropriate that we gather on the eve of Valentine’s Day. Frank was born in Beaumont, Texas January 29, 1939. Life expectancy then was 59 years. Average monthly rent was $28 and you could buy a new car for $700. Gone with the Wind won the Oscar that year as the world prepared for the war that defined America’s greatest generation, which included our parents. Our father was an Air Force officer. Frank inherited his hairstyle and asymmetrical sense of humor. […]

On the Passage of My Brother Frank

Frank Cissne circa 1952

One of the great characters in my life died early Saturday, surrendering to a lengthy battle with bladder cancer at age 76. Frank was staying with our sister Carol so we could look after him. When she called at 7 a.m. I knew his time had passed. An indifferent north wind hurled snow into my face as I crossed her lawn. I walked slowly, taking in each step, knowing Frank was my biggest fan and that I would never hear his praise or see his smiling face again. At the […]

Precious Moments and the Gifts of Fatherhood

Running into my arms

I showed my nine-year-old granddaughter a photograph of a plate of artful Christmas cookies. “I did not eat one,” I confessed. “Can you believe that?” She looked skeptical. “No,” she said. “You probably ate them all.” I laughed. She knows me too well, but in that case I had exercised dietary restraint. In her room there’s a precious wide-eyed photograph of her at age two staring into the camera. “Who took this?” I asked. She smiled. “Probably you.” We hugged and I said, “Someday you’ll be grateful I took these […]

Thanksgiving Praise for the Sacred Feminine


The day my father died my mother did not shed a tear. Aunt Joan guided me, and my little brother Mike, away from the house full of mourners to the backyard where my father had introduced me to Classical Greek mythology and the wonder of stories well told. Joan understood the crushing weight of that moment on a ten year old with every reason to idolize his father. She loved him dearly, too. Days before, in an ominous request, he had asked me to look after Mike and our mother. […]