Grace Notes about her brother Fred Sisson

My brother Fred Sisson had a career as a safety supervisor for the federal government and was a husband and the father of three daughters. He was also an avid athlete when he was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease at the age of 40.

Instead of becoming mired in fear and despair he made a decision to seek beauty in every day, and to help other travellers along life's path see it also. He cultivated his interests in writing poetry and taking natural light photographs into passions which have not ebbed over the years as PD brought ever more changes to his life -- passion that drew him outside in the dawn to capture the beauty of another sunrise on film, or bring sweet tears to the eyes of a stranger touched by his poetry.

He was a source of tremendous comfort and guidance to me since I, too, was diagnosed with PD in 1998.

Since Fred was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in 2003, the beauty of his work shines even more brightly.  The images of nature and people lovingly framed by his camera lens wordlessly call us to seek out and savor the beauty in and around us, all the sweeter for its transience.

Fred died on the second of March, 2006.

My favorite of Fred's poems, Passing Thoughts, is on my cd "My Life" in song form (thanks to songwriter Carey Creed who collaborated with Fred to set it to music). It goes:

"Child, you see many things you do not understand
What makes the sun rise? Will you grow to be a man?
Why are we born? Why do we die?
When faced with beauty why do we cry?
And yes, you also want to know why evil stalks the earth
Inflicting misery regardless of our worth.
My answer for each question is that I do not know
But the same hand that makes the avalanche
formed the peaks of snow
The same hand that lets the fighter crouch
and makes him form a fist
As well crafts the lovers' lips and forms the lovers' kiss
Child, when life seems dark and is so full of pain
Choose to look for joy and rebuild with the rain
Know your questions--know them well
Don't hide what you don't know
You will be right and wrong many times before you go
Accept the hand of fate -- don't deny the random chance
Sing life's joy and beauty
Make your fate a joyous dance
© 2004 Fred Sisson

Fred and Grace, Septermber 2003

photo G. Woodcock

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