Tag Archives: dad

Five Years

This is the first of two “five year” posts I’ll write in the next three weeks. It’s been five years since my father died after a too-brief battle with glioblastoma multiforme.

For some reason, it’s hitting me harder this year than the last couple. I don’t know if it’s because my life was in such upheaval last year or because it’s a milestone year or a combination of all these things.

I miss him so much. It breaks my heart that he never got to meet his grandson. I would give almost anything to see them together and eavesdrop on that conversation.

I’ve done nanowrimo every year since he died (except the first year–the PPD was still holding on too tight that year), and just published the first book I wrote after his death.

Even though the book has more adult language and strong sexual content than he probably would’ve preferred (especially in a book written by his daughter), I know he would’ve been so happy to see my name in print (by the way dad, I am the highest ranked Cissell on Amazon…nyah, nyah, nyah).

A small selection of Cissell books…

When I was a sophomore in college and having a really hard time, he gave me my first dragon. It’s been with me ever since. He took that dragon and slayed it in his fiction, I took its strength and made it my own.

Without him, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. It’s been a hard year, but I’m surviving, and I owe a lot of that to my dad.

I wish he was here to see what I’ve accomplished and see how I made the dragons my bitch.

I wish he was here to meet my son–my dad would be blown away by the mind on my kid.

I wish he was here so I could call him up and have him tell me everything’s going to be okay.

I wish he was here.

Dragon Gallery

The poem

My essay on postpartum depression; title (and opening poem) courtesy dad

The quilt square my father embroidered for me, complete with our poem.

My (second) dragon tattoo-this is inspired by the dragon on the quilt and was done in memorium…

Our books and our dragons…they almost kinda look alike…


I wish he was here so I could tell him one more time how much I love him. At least I can tell everyone else…


Happy birthday, old man

Today you should be turning sixty-six. It seems like way more than four years since I got to tell you happy birthday. The last time – way back in 2011 – I bought you Stephen King’s 1963 and a coffee mug that said “Grandfather” in anticipation of you assuming that status in the next few months.

I don’t know if you ever read the book. It’s mine now and I haven’t read it. I just can’t. I don’t know what happened to the mug. I couldn’t take that because you never got to be a grandfather.

It still pisses me off sometimes – today more than any day. I don’t know why your birthday hits me harder than your death day, but it does. Maybe because today is supposed to be a day of celebration and no one expects that on a death day. Maybe because I can overlook your death day with the anticipation leading up to Alvie’s birthday – which you missed, jerk face.

Maybe because this time of year sucks anyway. It’s so dark and I know you hated it even more than I do.

I can’t remember the first birthday gift I ever got you, but I remember the year we got you a cribbage board for your birthday and I totally gave away the secret several times over. I’m not much better at keeping secrets now than I was then, but I like to believe I’m a slightly better cribbage player.

I did nanowrimo again this year. This book is a good one and doesn’t have as many scenes that I’d have to excise before you could read it. I wish we could talk about it because I think you’d really like this one.

I miss you so much today and I would like to kick you in the ankles (which I know wouldn’t hurt too much because they’d be protected by the ubiquitous cowboy boots) for making me cry.

So this year for your birthday I got you a bottle of wine (I’ll pour one out for you – into my glass) and a donation to the National Brain Tumor Society.

Screenshot 2015-12-09 10.36.49


Love you Dad.

60th Birthday Surprise!

60th Birthday Surprise!


– your favorite eldest daughter

Missed It

I have a ridiculously weird memory. I can remember all sorts of things in very great detail and generally lacking even a nodding acquaintanceship with useful information.

You need names and dates and locations of people involved in something that happened 1 or 5 or 20 or 100 or 1000 years ago? Give me a couple context cues and a few minutes and I can pull it out of the vault.

I can remember every grant name, accounting number, title, and budget that’s come through my administrative hands over the last seven years.

I know what day that meeting was on and who was there, even if that meeting was three jobs (and 11 years) ago.

Things I am TERRIBLE at remembering are the things that are actually useful (unless we’re gauging useful by ‘winning pub trivia,’ then my ability to call up random facts is really helpful). Things like what face goes with what name. (I was in a meeting today with a woman who looked vaguely familiar. I watched her surreptitiously for a while, trying to place her. Even after I heard her name, I couldn’t figure it out. Finally, one hour in I realized that I’d actually interviewed her. On Monday of this very week.) And when people with whom I’m currently actively associated with have important dates. You want to know when all my college friends have birthdays? I’m your girl. You want to know when my (hypothetically speaking) nieces’ birthdays are? March *mumble* and May *mumble*.

Where am I going with this, you might ask?

Yesterday was the third anniversary of my father’s death and it didn’t even register until someone I know mentioned on facebook that today was the anniversary of her mother’s death.

I didn’t think of it once yesterday.

I’d thought of it several times in the last month. His death and Bean’s birth are inextricably tied up in my brain so this time of year triggers that memory. But yesterday? Nothing.

My first feeling on realizing this was one of relief. The pain has dulled enough that it’s not always in the forefront of my brain. The second feeling? Guilt. For forgetting and then being relieved that I’d forgotten.

He’s always present – just not as much as he used to be.

I still miss him, though, and always will. I’m just less angry/sad/bewildered by the hole he left behind.

And I guess that’s okay.

A rare winter trip back - dad's sixtieth birthday

A rare winter trip back – dad’s sixtieth birthday


Still miss you…

Happy birthday, Dad. Today you would’ve been 65. So old. Ha!

I finished NaNoWriMo again this year. The website still lists you as one of my writing buddies. You always will be.

I got a new tattoo over Thanksgiving. I know you’d be thrilled.

I’m planning on shopping the first book in my series in a few months. I have all your books on marketing yourself. I don’t know how you did it as you’re even more anti-social than I am.

Most of the time, I’m okay, but every once in a while, it still hits me like a freight train (Alvie loves trains, by the way…although between you and his daddy, he didn’t have much of a chance). We have a book that I got from one of my cousins called “Tickle Monster” and there’s a picture of you pasted inside the front cover with a note saying that he (my cousin) will always remember you as the tickle monster. Whenever Alvie and I read that book we always look at Grandpa Tickle’s picture, and that chokes me up, because you’ll never tickle him.

I’m a little mad, you know. Still. Just a little. Mostly I’m grateful for the time I had with you and the support you ALWAYS gave me.


Your Favorite Eldest Daughter

A rare winter trip back - dad's sixtieth birthday

A rare winter trip back – dad’s sixtieth birthday


Sad Weirdness/Weird Sadness

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I would do NaNoWriMo this year to help me get back into some good writing habits.

I did it (and won!) in 2005, and then gave further attempts in 2006 & 2007 (although I didn’t finish those years), and then I kind of just fell off the map.

But – since this year, I am not in grad school or battling crippling post-partum depression/anxiety, I thought I’d give it a go.

I logged into my dusty nanowrimo account, and updated my info. Then I clicked over to my buddies page, and saw this:


That “cr_james” is my dad. NaNoWriMo was a big thing for him; he did it in 2009, 2010, and 2011, and actually wrote an entire first draft each year. It’s so hard seeing that there; chokes me up every time. I can’t, however, bring myself to remove him from list. (Although he didn’t add me back as a writing buddy, lame-o.)

I’m just so many emotions about this.

So- this year? I’m finishing, and this one’s for you, Dad.