Sun, moon and the love of a grandfather

“There are fathers who do not love their children;
there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson.”

Victor Hugo


(an older moon shot I’ve used before / Julie Cook / 2016)

I know that yesterday I had given us, or perhaps actually issued is a better word,
a laundry list of “issues” that we were going to need to play catch up with….
all sorts of pressing issues that had come down the pike while I was busy
with all things snow….

And yes, we shall indeed visit those issues…however, I was called into active duty, unbeknownst to my best laid plans, with active duty in my case being
the emergency holiday help at my husband’s store…

So now that I’m finally home, it’s late and I’m trying to prepare some sort of
hot meal of sustenance and get a post ready for tomorrow (which is now today if
you’re reading this), so I think we’ll hold up
on those more pressing topics until I have the proper time to do them justice….

And as life would have it, something interesting arrived in yesterday’s mail
that is now taking precedence.

You may recall that the I have a friend at Plough Publishing House who actually
happened upon my blog about a year ago or so.

That’s how we met.

She has been sending me sample copies of books that she thinks that I will enjoy…
and in turn will perhaps share with others….of which I have as time has allowed.

The small package that arrived in yesterday’s mail was one of those books.

A book that probably has made a bigger impact on my heart than my publisher friend
would have imagined.

Those of you who know me or have been reading this blog since this time last year…
know that I was knee deep in caring for my dad and stepmother.

Dad had an aggressive form of bladder cancer…he was diagnosed in late August and died
in March. Both he and my stepmother had also been diagnosed with varying degrees of
dementia quite sometime before that…
so needless to say we were just all in the middle of a downward spiral is putting it
mildly.

It was a hard road for us all…with dad being an amazing example
quiet acceptance, perseverance and fortitude.

This time last year we already had 24 hour care as well as Hospice care…
plus I was driving over each and every day.

The last time dad had actually gotten out of the bed was on Christmas day when we
wheeled him to the table to enjoy Christmas dinner.
Naturally he didn’t have much of an appetite but he was most keen for the dessert.
So dessert it was.

Dad and my son had a very special bond.
My son was my dad’s only grandchild and Dad was more kid than dad…
so needless to say, they stayed in cahoots most of my son’s growing up.


(Christmas day 2016, Brenton and Dad)

My dad was always graciously generous to his grandson and to say that my son
was dad’s partner in crime was to have been putting it mildly.

I won’t go on as it seems I’ve written about all of this before and if I do go on,
I’ll simply loose focus over my original intent of this post and
cry more than I already am.

The book my friend sent me is actually a children’s book.
And I imagine it came my way because I will become a grandmother soon.
Yet the tale of the book resonated so much with me, not so much because I am
a soon to be grandparent,
but rather because it is a tale about a grandson and his grandfather.

It is a book written by a German author, Andreas Steinhofel and illustrated by a
German artist Nele Palmtag—and yet the tale is quite universal.

Max’s grandfather is in a nursing home because he has what is surmised to be
Alzheimers or some other form of dementia….’forgetting’ being the key word.
And nine year old Max, who adores his grandfather and misses their life together
before the nursing home, formulates a plan to “spring” his grandfather from the
nursing home…
in essence a plan to kidnap his grandfather.

And in so doing another member of the nursing home escapes by accident.
A long and spindly woman who is in search of the sun…as she dances
behind Max and his grandfather on their misadventure.

The tale is not a long read—-
I read it in less than an hour’s time.
Yet it is a deep read by adult standards.
It is funny, it is cute, it is painful, and it is very very real.

I think my 29 year old son would appreciate the story much more than his 9
year old self would have—as he now has the hindsight of understanding
Max’s deep longing.

I know that if my son could have kidnapped his “Pops” from that hospice bed he
would have….and off on one more adventure they would have gone.

But in this tale of last adventures, Max’s grandfather reassures Max, who is now desperately afraid that his grandfather, in his forgetfulness, will forget
he loves Max…explains to Max that he will always be there, loving Max,
even if it appears he has “forgotten.”

He explains to Max that when we look up into the sky we know the moon is there
because we can see it. Yet during those nights that the sky appears to be moonless,
which is only because of how the sun is shining on the opposite side of the moon—
the moon is indeed still there—just as his love will always be there for Max,
even if Max won’t be able to directly see it….

After finishing the story last night, I could not recount the tale to my husband
without crying…finding myself just having to stop talking as I allowed the tears
to wash down my face.

The story as read for a child would be fun, poignant as well as mischievous…
As for any adult touched by the stealing effects of memory loss or just the loss of
a loved one in general, will find the tale heartwarming and very poignant.

Just as I now fondly recall a life that once was…

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.

Psalm 143:8

16 comments on “Sun, moon and the love of a grandfather

  1. atimetoshare.me says:

    What a lovely story and so appropriate for you as you’re reminded of your dad and all the loss you’ve endured this year. Your own adventure as a grandparent won’t wash away the memories. It will only allow you to create new ones by sharing your love with this soon to be grandchild of your own. I believe God gives us second chances through grandchildren and He’s doing that for you too. Enjoy the ride! It looks like you did a great job with your own child too. What a handsome young man.

    • I’m going to give him the book in his stocking with a note—that as he reads it to his daughter, he may share with her the tales of her great grandfather…
      like the time dad had taken Brenton and I to Italy when Brenton was 13—they went out for a pizza while me, my aunt and stepmother were all doing something else….they got their pizza and dad proceeded to drink an entire carafe or two of wine and needless to say was now staggering…so it was Brenton who had to navigate them back to the hotel all the while Pops was telling him not to tell us what he had done…
      Dad being more kid than dad……..

  2. Lynda says:

    Brenton will love receiving that book! How timely the receipt of it in your mailbox. Those are treasured memories for you as well as Brenton.

    • I hope so. Abby text me today from school that she had read the post during class, while her kids were busy, and proceeded to burst out crying…and then her kids wondered if she needed to be institutionalized 😉

  3. I think the story would make me cry, too. What an excellent way to explain the love of a grandfather for his grandson even when Alzheimer’s or demetia come. I’m so sorry for your loss, Julie. You will miss your dad especially this Christmas, I suspect. You and your family will be in my prayers. So glad you have a grandchild on the way. A reminder that God has an ongoing legacy for your dad. ❤ and hugs!

  4. Wally Fry says:

    I just love these stories about your family.

  5. phyllissnipes says:

    I’m ordering it now!

  6. Elihu says:

    Julie, thank you for sharing these beautiful posts about your family. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are heart-wrending and challenging diseases. I’d probably be crying through that book too as I have watched people I love deteriorate beneath the weight of that disease. That book sounds amazing. I think it was C.S. Lewis who said something about a children’s book should be worth reading as an adult too. This definitely fits the bill! May the Lord enfold you with His great love and comforting presence.

    • Thank you Elihu—it’s one of those books that did indeed hit me on a vastly different level than it would had I been reading it to a child—and I think it is for the very reason that many children have yet to either experience or comprehend what it is to lose a loved one to “forgetfulness”—it’s not until they are older that they can, in hindsight, look back and put those connecting pieces together.
      I am given such a “peace” knowing that my son did have a grandfather like my dad—dad may have often failed in the dad department but he more than made up for it in the grandfather sense

  7. RobbyeFaye says:

    Julie,
    What a great post, and sweet tribute to your father. Your father sounds like he would have been a fun person to know. I’m sorry for your loss, both in the literal and in the dementia sense.
    I think the book would be great to read, to.
    Oh, the beautiful memories you’ll be able to impart to your grandchildren!
    Blessings to you~

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