The silver moth

A day ago I was in the pool when this happened:

And then this happened:

And then this happened:

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Now I am a girl who believes in signs and I assumed the first sign was that I now had a new pet.  I was going to name her Mothra but then someone on twitter was like, “Kate Moth” and that was pretty great and then someone on instagram was like, “WING CROSBY” and there’s no way we’re getting better than fucking WING CROSBY but then Wing flew away to a rose bush so it was moot.

The second sign, however, was a bit more concerning.  According to the (never wrong) internet, the moth represents faith.  They are nocturnal creatures that belong to the dark, but they are driven toward the light for some reason.  And I can very much relate to this so I nodded and starting planning my moth tattoo.  Then I read that this specific moth (the sphinx moth) is sometimes considered an omen of death.  And that seemed not so great so I decided to ignore that part.  And then today my mom called to tell me that my grandfather has taken a bad turn and that it might not be long now.


So now my parents are on the way to my house and my sister is flying in at midnight.  And tomorrow we’ll all drive together to Austin to be with my wonderful grandfather.  I don’t think we’ll be able to actually say goodbye.  I don’t believe he’ll regain consciousness.  But we say that we love each other every time because you don’t know when will be the last time so I know he knows he’s loved.

My grandfather is a truly wonderful man.  He’s the most religious person I’ve ever met, but also the least likely to press his beliefs on you or judge you.  He’s the quiet man making furniture for family in his workshop.  He’s the man wearing the “LITERALLY ANYONE ELSE 2020” shirt who is quietly giggling at the grumpy looks he may get from others in the retirement home.  He’s the guy who takes you out for ice cream every time and tells you the same stories over and over but with such love that you want to hear them.  He’s the man who sneaks too much food to the dog and whispers to the dog not to tell anyone.  The man who would never curse but will laugh at your dumb profanity-laced blog and love you unconditionally.  He is a light.  He’s the kind of person who makes you want to be the person he thinks you are.

He’s been struggling for a long time, in rehab after a terrible fall that he never quite recovered from.  He’s been on a vent and I know he’s had a really hard time of it.  So even though I’m sad I know that there will be relief for him in letting go.  And if there is a heaven I have no doubt at all he will end up there.  He makes me believe in heaven, and that is something.  So for now my family will gather will around until we have answers, and we will be there for him and for each other as we wait for the moment when my grandfather will fly away home and when – together – we will move through the darkness and look again for the light.

203 thoughts on “The silver moth

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Oh Jenny, I hope your grandfather remains at peace and pain-free during this time as he moves closer to his Light.

    At first I was going to mention the Bogon moth in Australia which can be eaten, but as I got further into your story, that really didn’t fit.

  2. Oh, Jenny, I’m so sorry – it’s good that you and the rest of your family have each other.

  3. Love to your family. I’m not sure if this helps but then again SURPRISE BOOK BOX:

  4. Wing Crosby has given you some beautiful light during a dark-feeling time. I don’t usually believe in signs, but I believe in the wonder of the universe and the capacity for human love. And I think that’s kind of the same thing. Love to you and yours right now, Jenny.

  5. I think I did this wrong before so here is something to look forward to during this tough time: SURPRISE BOOK BOX!

  6. God speed to your grandfather and may you find strength in each other and your faith. May he feel your presence and may you always feel his love.

  7. May your grandfather go with peace and love, and may his memory be for a blessing to all who love him.

  8. This is both sad and beautiful at the same time. I would definitely get a tattoo as a memory of your grandfather, who sent you this moth to let you know that he’s okay with leaving this world.

  9. My heart goes out to you Jenny, but I have to say that I enjoy the craziness that we all share in with your blog. Many hugs for safe travels for your family and do squeeze your grandfathers hand for me as well. He sounds like you were one of the lucky kids who won with the grandfather lottery. Strength in the coming days. Kendra

  10. I don’t know what to say that you haven’t already said so beautifully yourself. Sending love, moths, and light to guide the way for everyone. 💜

  11. Tell him anyway. Tell him you love him. Tell him you’ll miss him. Tell him you release him, that it’s OK to let go, that you’ll never forget him. You don’t know what he can hear. And you won’t believe how much it will help you to hear yourself say it. Sending love. So sorry there’s always something to hurt about; try to remember there’s always a lot to be grateful for and happy about, too.

  12. The moth is beautiful, but oh, Jenny, I’m sorry about your grandfather. Hugs to you and all of your family.

  13. Hugs and love to your family. He sounds like an amazing person. I feel lucky just knowing him through your eyes.

  14. My heart goes out to you Jenny, but I have to say that I enjoy the craziness that we all share in with your blog. Many hugs for safe travels for your family and do squeeze your grandfathers hand for me as well. He sounds like you were one of the lucky kids who won with the grandfather lottery. Strength in the coming days. Kendra

  15. I’m so sorry to hear your family is facing this. Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful man, who will be missed terribly. May his trip into the light be peaceful, while he’s surrounded with love.

    I suggest you move forward with your Wing Crosby tattoo, as a remembrance for your grandfather.

  16. You saved a beautiful moth and it took refuge on your shoulder, which tells us it knows a good soul when it comes along. If that was a sign about your grandfather then it’s a sign about how much you mean to him. I am so sorry and wish your family peace and happy, love-filled memories.

  17. Jenny, I am soooo proud of you! To handle a moth, when you are freaked out by it, to save it’s life, and to then let it sit on you (and warm up) is …….. [too many awesome gushy lovey dovey words to choose from – insert all of them here!!!]. You definitely need a tattoo!
    And so sorry to hear about your grandfather. May his passing be easy, and your heartache lessened by the love and wonderful memories of the life you have shared with him. May Angels Fly Him Home. xxx

  18. I wish I knew words that might help, but I’m afraid I have no better ones than these. I’m so sorry, Jenny. Your grandfather sounds wonderful, and fortunate to have a family as loving as yours.

  19. I totally just cried while reading this. I’m so sorry about your grandfather. I’m not good at giving condolences (or ant social interaction requiring words really) because I never know exactly what to say but I’m sending lots of love and hugs and vibes of peace to you and your family.

  20. What a beautiful man. Thank you for sharing him with us. I do believe that heaven is a real place, but it’s still so incredibly hard to be separated by death. Hugs.

  21. You tied all that together so beautifully. That is truly your gift. Thank you.

  22. Jenny – Every can time I read one of your blogs I laugh, or get a bit sad, but I ‘m always enlightened! I love your musings; I love your books; and ya know what?? I also love YOU (and I’m the straightest old lady in the world.). Peace is being sent to you and your grandfather…..

  23. Your grandfather sounds a lot like mine. I hope the days ahead are peaceful and full of love. Big hugs.

  24. Jenny you described your religious grandfather as a “light”. I truly believe that – especially since you said it. The way you treated that little moth speaks of your own light. I’m glad you wrote such a warm tribute to your grandfather – I’ve a feeling he knows full well how much he is loved. Blessings to you.

  25. Oh, Jenny, peace to you and all of your family. Your grandfather will fly away home surrounded by his family’s love–and you all will be surrounded by his. And this is true whether there is a Heaven or not.

    Your last paragraph made me cry, not from sadness but from the sheer beauty of the words.

  26. Oh Jenny I am so very sorry… love, hugs and light for you and your family. Thank you for sharing grandfather with us 💜

  27. What a beauty. Looks like art deco. I am sorry to hear of your Grandfather. He will feel the warmth.

  28. Prayers to you and your family. When talking about “signs” remember Wing Crosby flew away to a rose, a thing of beauty. So hold on to the beauty in the dark times.

  29. I am praying for your family, and your grandfather. We had the visitation for my mother-in-law tonight, so II know what you are talking about.

  30. Jenny that light is in all of you now. You have already lit up dark places in those of us who read your books and your blogs. May your grandfather Rest In Peace.

  31. It sounds like your grandfather is a wonderful man who lived a long, happy life and got to enjoy a great-granddaughter. By any measurement, he wins!

  32. That was beautiful, Jenny. It sounds like your grandfather was an awesome and loving man. I am sure that special moth was a sign from him to you that he loves you much even if he must head toward the light now. I am glad you have a family that cares about and can comfort each other during such times. God bless you, Jenny -Amy

  33. May you find peace and love when you gather around this wonderful man. Hugs and love to all.

  34. I’m so sorry, Jenny. I wish I could hug you. Grandpas are the best. I had one that sounds a lot like yours, and I was 25 when he passed away at 92. They were older when they had my mom, so I was sad I didn’t have more time with him.

    He and your family will be in my prayers, and when he’s ready I hope he goes peacefully to heaven. It sounds like he has great faith, and has lived it out the way we should. Sending all the love and light your way.

  35. Thank you. Thank you for sharing you life with so many people you’ll never meet. You built a land of silliness and joy and absurdity and hard things we decide to walk through… and what you offer of your world, to our world, is invaluable. I lost my grandma last year and it was so, deeply sad and also incredibly full of love and it forged new bonds within our family I wouldn’t have dreamed of. And now I’m losing my cat as you fight for your doggo, and so many friends have been just so lovely and helpful. Anyway. Rambling. But, in whatever ways you can love someone with whom you have a very one sided relationship Lol I love you, and I’m grateful for you sharing your journey right now because it makes me feel less alone. ….also moths are really cool 😉 ❤️

  36. ((hugs)) Love to all. Thank you for sharing this. I’m crying a bit, but it’s ok, and you are all in my heart tonight.

  37. The lipstick be damned. You are truly beautiful at that very moment you captured the exquisite moth on your shoulder. I do believe in signs; I believe that moth came to tell you that it will all be OK. It is as it should be. Blessings to you and your family as you bid “tot ziens” (Dutch for “see you later”) to your grandfather. My Dutch mom is almost 96, on hospice, and we never say good-bye. Always, tot ziens. I know it will be our turn soon, too.

    When people pass, I turn to the song “Safe in the Harbor” by Eric Bogle. It is very moving and brings me solace. Maybe it will do the same for you. If you Google it, it will come up on youtube. (Warning: tissues recommended)

  38. Dear Jenny,
    If this was my waking dream one possible projection on the experience is that Wing Crosby is my beautiful beloved grandfather under water waiting to be released when a beautiful and beloved angel woman helps him to rise and take flight. Before he goes into the Rose (divine love) he stops to rest and say thank you.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. All blessings to your grandfather, you, and all your family in this sacred time.
    Much love and gratitude.

  39. How lucky you are to have had such an amazing grandfather. I see a lot of his best qualities in you. There is no better tribute and no better legacy than for you to continue to spread his love and light with all of us. I hope the sadness of his passing is eased by many smiles as you remember him. 🤗🤗🤗

  40. My heart hurts for you all. Sending you lots of love and light during this difficult time.

  41. Jenny, I’m glad your G’pa knows he’s loved and that you seem to have so many good memories. I hope his passing is as peaceful as possible. He’ll be there, watching over you all and waiting. to be with you again.

  42. As an ICU nurse I want you to know it is truly amazing what people will still hear unconscious or not. I have had people recite entire conversations they should never have been able to hear with all the crazy, awful things going on to them, and patients heart rates calm down. So even if he can’t recite a conversation, he will hear you guys. I’m so glad you guys will be with him, and in some way or another he will know you’re there, and know how much you care.

  43. It’s important to have closure for everyone. Even if he doesn’t awake, he’ll hear you all and know you are there.

  44. I’m so sorry about your grandfather. I wish I could send you what I wrote about my mom who died at 98 earlier this year. I think a lot of it would apply to your grandfather too.

  45. Talk to him. I believe he will hear you. Share your love and thank him for the wonderful gifts he has shared with your family. I hope he passes in peace and you will always hold on to your memories.

  46. I saw all sorts of symbolism and meaning in everyday occurances when my mother was dying. It was a comfort and comfort is what you need when going through this. I cannot say if any of the shooting stars I saw were really her trying to tell me something or just a random happening. But I let them settle my disquiet and help my heart not hurt so much. Prayers and hugs for you and your family.

  47. Moths are drawn to light, so it makes all the sense in the world that it would be drawn to you. And given the way you describe your wonderful grandfather, it’s easy to see where you got it.
    Godspeed to him. I wish you peace.

  48. I’m pretty sure I love your grandfather nearly as much as you. What a wonderful person to have in your life. And I’m glad Hailey is old enough to have had him in her life as well. Blessings and hugs.

  49. Jenny, I am so sorry for you and your family. I’ll be praying for peace and comfort for you guys in the coming days.

  50. I’m so sorry you are having to deal with this, but so happy you had someone that wonderful in your life. Hugs from Cali.

  51. Wow… Very surreal chain of events. I also believe in signs and I believe it;s up to each person to determine what is a sign and what it means to them. Seems like your moth encounter has brought you joy when you needed it – right before bad news – but you didn’t know you needed it until afterwards… And then thinking about your grandfather, you saw a connection to your moth, to Wing Crosby… How poetic. Feeling bad for what you are about to go through, but feeling a sense of peace from you as well. Thank you so much for sharing this experience with us! <3 Lysa from NC

  52. Thank you for the beauty and light you share.My prayers for your grandpa and your family.

  53. perhaps that was Mothra Theresa, giving you bigger shoulders with which to carry this weight. And you have just shown your ability to live & let live.

    we will all hold your family in our hearts. may his memory be a blessing.

  54. perhaps that was Mothra Theresa, giving you bigger shoulders with which to carry this weight. And you have just shown your ability to live & let live.

    we will all hold your family in our hearts. may his memory be a blessing.

  55. Jenny, you so often make me laugh. Today you made me cry. May the peace that passes understanding surround and comfort you and your family in the coming days. Believe…

  56. Sending hugs. It is so hard to say goodbye, I had to say goodbye to my beloved aunt yesterday, I introduced her to your blog and books. She was a huge fan and you made her laugh through many struggles. Thank you so much. I know if you can do that for people who don’t know you personally you must bring such joy and love to those who know you in person, your grandfather included.
    On a humorous note- in my sleep deprived/ grief befuddled state, I read it as “metallic underwear moth” and was like, “well, that adds a whole new wrinkle to the whole naked X-ray story last week. Thank you for that too.

  57. Damn, Jenny, this might just be the best blog post I’ve ever read, and being disabled, I read a fuck-ton of blog posts.

  58. I’m so sorry about your grandfather. Sending prayers for peace and comfort for you and your family.

  59. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. There is nothing I can say that will make this any easier on any of you except,I understand. I lost one grandpa when I was 7 and one when I was in my 30s. Both were amazing men in their own way, both loved me as I am this I know for certain. I’m here for you if you need to talk.

  60. A few years ago, after a two year battle with cancer, my mom slipped into a coma on a Saturday and died at five o’clock pm on Sunday. All of her family was there. I mention the time because she passed and suddenly birds started singing outside the window and sunlight broke into the room through the window. I cried and cried but the beauty of the moment surpassed even that.

  61. I dont believe that this is the end for any of us. I think there is a place after this. A place where you will get to hear your grandpa’s stories again. I hope you know all of your tribe is with you. We are there in spirit because if all of us tried to travel with you, it would just be awkward. We love you Jenny

  62. /Users/helenclaudiaparker/Desktop/2020.html
    I hope you can see this. If not, let me know.

  63. Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful man. I’ve no doubt that he was very proud of you. I hope happy memories and the love of your family and friends gives you comfort

  64. I am the same as you… I don’t know if there is a heaven or afterlife or whatever, but if there is, I hope it’s like this:
    The Sailing Ship – Bishop Charles Henry Brent (1862-1929)
    What is dying?
    I am standing on the seashore.
    A ship sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
    She is an object and I stand watching her
    Till at last she fades from the horizon,
    And someone at my side says, “She is gone…”
    Gone where?
    Gone from my sight, that is all;
    She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her,
    And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
    The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her;
    And just at the moment when someone at my side says, “She is gone”,
    There are others who are watching her coming,
    And other voices take up a glad shout,

    “There she comes!” – and that is dying.

    I am sending you so much love right now.

  65. I’m so sorry about your grandfather. He sounds wonderful. I hope you all find peace being together as a family.

  66. Thank you for sharing a bit of your grandfather with us. He sounds like a wonderful man. I am so sorry for your family.

  67. I’m sorry I don’t know him personally. He sounds like a delight to be around. Much love to you at this hard time.

  68. What a beautiful post and tribute to your grandfather. I’m sorry you have to say goodbye to him and glad there are metallic moths to remind you of his light. I say hell yes to a moth tattoo!

  69. Dear Jenny, I wish for you and your family peace in these final moments. For your grandfather, I wish love, peace, and a world without pain or worry. God Bless all of you.

  70. The moth was your grandfather saying everything will be ok. He’s gonna bebthe light when it’s time for you to cross over in 30-40 years from now.

  71. This is such a tough time and I am glad your family can all be together for it and for each other.
    I lost my grandmother a year ago this week. She was also a very deeply and devoutly religious person. So when she left us on the Feast of the Assumption we all felt that it was Mary calling her home.
    You can be prepared for it but you will never be actually ready. It’s gonna clobber you in unexpected ways. Just know your people are all here for you and many of us have walked the same road.
    Take care and be well. All my love and support to you and your family. And I wish an easy passage for your grandfather. May his memory be a blessing.

  72. I am praying for peace and love and safe travels for your whole family.

  73. Hey Jenny. I can’t imagine you actually wade through all the comments you get. So I might be writing this more for me, really. My mom died at the end of May. My dad had died long long ago, so my mom was our only parent for most of my and my siblings lives. We all knew it was coming. She had been on hospice here at home with us for 7 weeks. Her mobility had dwindled to zero, she slept most of the time, maybe she’d have a few mouthfuls of food a couple of times aa day. Maybe. But here’s how I felt on the morning I found her in her bed that Thursday morning, not breathing: you can know it’s on the way, think it will almost be a merciful moment but then the actual moment of, say, as in my case, opening my mom’s bedroom door and stopping, just looking at her really hard because….I could just tell she wasn’t there anymore, that moment is still like no other. Nothing could have readied me for it. Nothing I had told myself in the weeks leading up to it. When I walked over to the side of her bed, her eyes were closed. I felt deep gratitude that my mom had died exactly as she had wanted to — in her house of 50 plus years, in her own bed, in her sleep. I felt such gratitude for all the time I had just sat with her quietly, holding her warm hand, telling her I loved her, her telling me she loved me, too. And yet, as I took her cool hand in mine that morning, I realized I would have given almost anything for one more day to be able to just hold her warm hand and tell her again and again that I loved her. I was prepared for feeling as though the oxygen had suddenly left the room. I wasn’t prepared for the sense of loneliness that fell over me like a blanket dropped from above. Even with my husband and daughter whom I love more than anything, my amazing siblings, the friends who had stuck by me through these harrowing few years, the loneliness I felt — and, frankly, still feel is almost heart stopping. I mean, I realize sometimes that I literally am not breathing, that I forget to sometimes. All this to say, I guess, is that I know there ISN’T anything that can be said to someone when a person they adore so deeply dies. The absence is visceral. Words can’t possibly change that. The only thing that has helped me somewhat are other people who are honest — and I know you have that department covered well. And that you are surrounded by people who love you who can bear hearing your real feelings and emotions as you go through it. As I said, my family is amazing. I have seen a dramatic thinning in terms of people I thought would always stick by me. Such is the price I pay for living my life honestly, though, so so be it. Sending you and your family huge love. — susan

  74. I can’t help but think of the imagery of the story. The moth (hope) was underwater. You rescued it and brought it up and out, all the while admiring its beauty. It then chose to sit on your left shoulder (left side of body = receiving). And, out of the darkness into light. Nature clearly loves you and spun you a beautiful story of metaphors to help you, as you help so many others. Blessings.

  75. The Silver Moth……the most beautiful post ………much love to you and yours

  76. Much love to you and your entire family. Thank you for sharing your grandfather with us.

  77. Jenny, you bring so much light to the world. Let your heart be easy in the knowledge that nothing will change the love you and your grandfather share, not even death. And when he walks on, may his memory ever be a blessing to you. xoxo

  78. So many hugs to you during this time! Grandparents are the best of people, I’ve found. Will light a candle for him, and for you and the family, tonight. Big hugs across the internet!

  79. Beautiful thoughts and memories. I could only wish for such a send-off. Only good memories to you and yours.

  80. Beautiful post. May be my favorite so far. This: “He’s the kind of person who makes you want to be the person he thinks you are.” That touches very deeply into my heart. I’m just not sure if there is a better way to be known than as this. God bless you and your family.

  81. I grew up going to church and believing, full stop. And then I got older and stopped believing. But what a beautiful portent that came to you. I’m gobsmacked. And will send peace and comfort to your grandfather, you, and your family.

  82. I hope his suffering is brief and he has a peaceful transition. Hugs to you all! <3

  83. So many wonderful memories. Wishing you and your family will find comfort and peace.

  84. Thinking of you during this difficult time.
    Also, I thought your post said “metallic underWEAR moth.”

  85. I’m so sorry honey and so glad you had this wonderful man in your life. I hope this transition is eased for all of you and as pain free as possible. I lost my Gramma two months ago and it’s been hard for me – we’re all here if you need us.

  86. The veil between this world and the next is very thin near the end. Your Grandfather has one foot on each side, which I consider to be an honor-filled process for family to witness. He may not be conscious from his earthly/physical body, but he is very aware and will hear and appreciate everything you say to him.

    Who knows … perhaps his energy visited you on the wings of love.

  87. Love and Hugs to you and your dear family. It’s never easy, I don’t think we’re ever prepared, but I’m glad you all have the opportunity to be together to see your wonderful grandfather together, and to tell him you love him. Please take good care xx

  88. I’m so very sorry, hugs to you and your family.

    You CAN say goodbye. Hearing is usually the last thing to go and even if your grandpa isn’t conscious and able to respond it doesn’t mean that he can’t hear you. We went through a similar situation with my dad. He’d had a major stroke and was unconscious for over a week as his body slowly shut down. When the end was very near I told him we were all with him, that we loved him, that we’d be OK without him, and that it was OK to go and be with mom (she had died many years previously). I swear he took one more deep breath, held it for a few long seconds, and then exhaled almost with a sigh of relief and was gone that quick. I really believe that he was hanging on for us and could hear what I said, and that gave him the ability to let go with the confidence that we’d all be all right together.

  89. It seems that Wing Crosby represents both for you. Darkness for the sadness you will feel when your grandfather passes on, and Faith in knowing that he will be released from his pain and a body that no longer serves him and moving on to something better. I’d say go for the tattoo!

  90. Your grandfather sound much like my own father. When he passed a friend gave me this poem. It helped. I still carry it with me and read it frequently. I hope it brings you some comfort.

    “Give What’s Left of Me Away” Unknown

    Now that I’m gone, remember me with
    a smile and laughter. And if you
    need to cry, cry with your brother
    and sister who walk in grief
    beside you.

    And when you need me, put your arms
    around anyone and give to them what
    you need to give to me.

    I want to leave you something.
    Something much better than words
    or sounds. Look for me in the
    people I’ve known and loved or
    helped out in some special way.

    Let me live in your eyes as well as
    in your minds. You can love me the
    most by letting love live within the
    circle of your arms, embracing the
    frightened ones.

    Love does not die, people do. So,
    when all that’s left of me is love,
    give me away as best you can.

    I’ll see you at home, where I’ll
    be waiting.

  91. I’m so sorry that he’s struggling, but he stopped to visit you for a heads-up and creep you out a little which maybe sounds like something he’d have done while giggling about it. He knows how much he is adored, I’m sure of it.
    Thinking of you and your family during this sad, exhausting time. xoxoxox
    And I say go for the moth tattoo in his honor. <3

  92. You are lucky to have such a wonderful grandfather and he in turn is lucky to have such a special granddaughter. Thanks for sharing his story with us.

  93. Beautiful post. He sounds like a wonderful man. Best wishes for you and your family; it is so hard for those left behind. You honor his life and memory every day; I think he would be proud

  94. Usually I read your blog and chuckle or am moved or inspired. Today I’m crying.

    My Grandpa Slim passed away last November. I live on the other side of the country and hadn’t seen him in nearly a year. He’d had Alzheimers for the past 15 or so years and we all hoped, even though he couldn’t response that the miswired parts of his brain still let him hear us tell him we loved him.

    He was the guy who asked if they had squirrel soup every time we went to Cracker Barrel just to see our usual waitress laugh and roll her eyes. He kissed Grandma Bette to thank her for every meal she ever served him, even if it was fast food. He was an avid bowler who kept the pin that cost him a perfect 300 game. He had a collection of hats on the wall and only ever wore one. He turned down at job at the white house because he’d promised his family they wouldn’t have to move again now that he’d retired from the air force. He grew tomatoes and tiny red peppers that he pickled in old maple syrup bottles. He introduced himself as Slim even though his given name was Edward so he would know when he was in trouble with his wife, since she was the only one who called him Edward once his brothers and mom passed. He helped his youngest granddaughter (me) with her high school photography project and when she messed up the composition of the picture, he told her no one made mistakes, just creative choices.

    I know the kind of sad that you and your family are in for, so I send so much love and light to you all. If there is a heaven, I’ll ask Grandpa Slim to show him around.

  95. Simply lovely. First, that moth was amazing. I was rooting for the name Chandler Wing. Second, I think you made us all wish that we knew your grandfather. You are so very lucky to have had him for however long you get. Sending you and your family so much love.

  96. Sending hugs and vibes to you and your family. My grandpa dying was something I never truly got over, and your grandfather sounds just as wonderful and loving as mine was. You seem to have a good outlook on this though, remembering everything wonderful about him and realizing he will be at peace now.

  97. Something about the parallel of finding an incredibly beautiful and rare silver moth in your pool that finds its way to you – and your grandfather finding his final path…there are indeed signs. Jenny – thank you for bringing us along for your ride and may your grandfather be buoyed in his last moments by the loving words and care he feels around him – what more can any of us ask for? Except for perhaps the caring hand of a lady picking us out of a mystical blue pool…BesosXOXOXStacy

  98. You honor your grandfather with your writing and your life. I believe dying people can hear everything, right up to the moment they cross over and beyond, so keep talking to him. Do let him know it’s ok for him to leave this life with your love, and give him space to do it: leave the room, open a window, open the curtains. Blessings to you and your family. ❤️

  99. I am so sorry . Couldn’t read it all through the tears. Bless you and your family!

  100. i don’t really believe in omens and signs predicting something in the future. Who knows though? But I have heard of so many times when someone is dying that someone else gets a very unusual sign or dream. Maybe we just assign significance to it. But maybe someone with a sting spirit (whatever that is) can really communicate In some other way when they are fading out of their body. I woke up with a start once when I heard my dad say “hello Bonnie” right I my ear. He was in San Antonio and I was in Austin but I soon found out a few days later when he had to go to the hospital he had a heart attack and didn’t know it. Could I have gotten a vibe that my brain interpreted as his voice? He lived several years after that. Many many years ago My mom woke up with a start hearing a choir singing. Moments later the phone rang to say my dad’s father had died. My mom hasn’t had an experience like this before or since. There are so many things like this I hear of. Not always at the time of someone’s death but often when we think their spirit or energy or whatever might be, I don’t know, reaching out? I’m not very spiritual or religious but I do know that there’s a lot I don’t know. And besides, if cell phones and antenna TVs can work and somehow receive an invisible signal from across the world that is picked up clear as day from some little antenna by only using electricity. Why can’t our brains do something like that? They basically run on electric signals. Maybe each one of us has a frequency and our own sort of cell number and if the circumstances are just right, we catch that signal. Maybe that moth carried it to you and you felt the urge to go for a swim just then.
    Or…maybe your grandpa is Gandalf.

  101. Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful man. I hope he passes peacefully since it doesn’t sound like a return to health is possible.

  102. What comes through in your life, your writing and your own family is the love and strength you’ve learned from your elders. It’s in you now, and yours to carry forward. I wish your grandfather a good voyage and I will light a candle for him to light his way.

  103. Danna #120 is surely right. My BF was in a coma. The Dr told us to say goodbye to him but I went in and said You are not going to die and held his hand. He was only 19 and it wasn’t his time so he gradually recovered. But he told me later he could hear us while he was in the coma but he was floating far away and couldn’t make his body respond.

  104. Much love and hugs to you. I know it’s a difficult time. Take comfort in the love that he feels and that you have for each other.

  105. Maybe Wing Crosby was your grandfather letting you know he loves you and saying goodbye one last time. Sending love and support for you and your family.

  106. Your grandpa and your family will be in my thoughts. I hope he gets to ride Wing Crosby to wherever he goes next. <3

  107. I believe in signs from nature and take comfort from them. Hoping you do too.
    Take comfort in this difficult time. ✌️

  108. My thoughts are with you and your family. Your grandfather sounds very similar to my late uncle. A sweet mild mannered Christian man who was always the first to offer to help (except with dishwashing). We all knew he loved us and that he always knew we loved him immensely. Just told his son the other day that I can’t buy an ice cream from an ice cream truck without remembering the one time Uncle bought six year old me an ice cream bar. What an honor to have men like your grandfather and my uncle in our lives.

  109. Sending comforting and loving thoughts for your grandfather and your whole family. Decades ago, just before my grandfather passed away, I was similarly visited three times by a white butterfly with some black spots. Now, every time I see one, I am reminded of how lucky I was to have had such a great person in my life.

  110. I found one of those in my pool skimmer today, but the only death he portended was his own. I hope your Grandpa passes peacefully. You’re lucky to have had him in your life for so long. 🙂 <3

  111. I envy your grandfather his religion. It clearly has helped him be the best person he could be. Also he has a God to thank for all the good things in life. I wanted someone to send thanks to for a magnificent cantaloupe we had yesterday. And today I want someone to send thanks to for his granddaughter, who can steel herself to rescue a magnificent creature, in spite of her creeped out feelings. By the way, where did he get his T-shirt? I think I need one.

  112. Until I started reading about your grandfather I was going to say this is the best sequel to Poe’s The Gold Bug ever, and I’m still saying it in the hopes that it’ll make you smile in this difficult time.

  113. Hi Jen – I totally believe in the sign thing and Bing was sent to you for a reason. I wish your grandfather a peaceful transition and that your family get the answers you are seeking and find strength together. Remember that laughter is an acceptable part of grief, with every giggle, a bit of the sadness in your soul gets to escape. Sending love.

  114. In some Asian cultures, seeing moths symbolize your relatives/ancestors coming to visit you. I’d like to think that that moth was one of your relatives watching over you.

  115. Please accept my premature condolences. Your grandfather sounds wonderful!

  116. Oh Jenny, talk to him, tell him everything, esp about your moth! I will hear you. 🙂

  117. My grandmother was the only person (and Salvation Army bell ringers manning the kettles at Christmas) who could ever say “God bless” to me and really make me feel that I had, in fact, been blessed. In honour of our grandparents at this difficult time for you – God bless.

  118. You said ‘won’t be able to say goodbye’ but sometimes those who are unresponsive do hear, so say what you need to say anyway. If he can’t hear, you’ll feel better, and if he can, you’ll both feel better. Win-win. You should know you’re lucky to have grandparents and parents well into your adult life, and that they know your success.

  119. Sounds like another good reason to get that moth tattoo. He sounds like a gem. I’m sorry you’ll be missing him but glad he’ll be finding peace soon. My love to you all.

  120. Hi Jenny – My sincere condolences on what you and your family are going through. Your grandfather sounds like a wonderful man.

    Wing Crosby is a Banded Sphinx moth – one of the most beautiful moths in North America.

    Much love from Virginia.

  121. Jenny,

    Condolences now and consolation when you all are ready for comfort.Your grandfather will live in your stories about him, and I hope you will tell us more as you relive your memories. Whether the moth was a harbinger of anything, it was certainly beautiful, as was your kindness in rescuing it.

    Do you know James Thurber’s very short story of “The Moth and the Star?” I think you will like it, especially right now:

    Strength and love, Jenny, from us all,


  122. Maybe Wing Crosby is a sign to you that The Divine is waiting for your grandpa and there is a kind loving soul available to accompany him.

  123. Your grandfather sounds so lovely – of course the universe would send you a beautiful moth to help you to prepare for his transition. Seems only fair. I hope his passing is painless.

  124. Thank you Jenny for sharing your wonderful grandfather with us. What a dear man. Hugs.

  125. I sang “Wayfaring Stranger” to my father when he was on life support. He had always loved hearing me sing that song. I didn’t say a lot of things that I wish I’d said now. But I think he knew them and I know that somehow he heard me singing and I am very grateful that I did it. Tell your grandfather all the things you told us, tell him as much as you can. Know that he loved you and I’m certain he will hear all of you, even the ones who can’t manage to get the words out. You will be in my thoughts and I send you love

  126. SO much love to you. <3 I remember the pain and relief of my beloved grandfather passing. I still dream of him often. Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

  127. Blessings to you and your family at this sad time. Some studies have shown that even unconscious/comatose people know we are there with them.

  128. Your grandpa sounds like a beloved, unique man – and I do love his t-shirt. Cheers to him for wearing at the senior place. And I HATE to ever be a person that says “Oh, I had that happen .. and I felt like XYZ” but I had a moment today. Driving home from getting groceries, Phil Collins “In Your Eyes” came on the radio. A singer and a song that don’t usually evoke much emotion. But I lost it. Like full blown ugly cry. I had just been thinking of my dad, wondering if a slice of the cake I was going to bake might brighten his day. Then I remembered he was gone. He left us on April 19 at 95 years of age. He was one of the good ones – just like your grandpa. Love to you…

  129. I found something beautiful in the sign of Wing Crosby, and Wing himself. Then hearing you describe your grandfather warmed my 💗 and filled me with love. He sounds like a wonderful man. I hope that he has a gentle and dignified passing when you all get there. I do believe we will see our loved ones again. He will live in your 💗 till then.

  130. I’m so sorry to hear your grandfather is passing through the veil. Tell him everything you want to, there are connections beyond what science can prove. I’m sure he will hear you.

    When I was 13 I woke up one morning at 5 am to literally a shitload of crows all around the house making an incredible noise. Then about half an hour later the phone rang and my parents went to the hospital and later they came home and told me that my grandfather had died of a heart attack in his bathroom pretty much at 5 am. I remember just knowing in my soul that he was gone even before I was told, it was unexpected and sad but strangely comforting.

    Be gentle with yourself. Grief helps us heal. {{{}}}

  131. Hi! I am not doing Facebook anymore but I am reading your blog, and I’m so sorry about your grandfather. He sounds wonderful, I wish I knew him, thank you for telling us about him. Sending love your way.

  132. I think the symbolism fits beautifully, little moth. Letting you know that passing through from one side to the next towards the light has such beauty, like a moth wing lined in silver. There is nothing to fear – he’s not out of reach. Even if it seems like he’s a world away he’s just beneath the surface – he can feel you are near and hear you. Part of him will always be near you and with you, helping to keep your head (and shoulders) above water.

    You are in good company with moth-whisperers like Gandalf.

  133. May your grandfather’s soul rest in peace, and light perpetual shine upon him.


    Cyndi in Seattle

  134. Beautifully written and felt in my soul. Thank you for sharing your Grandfather with us, Jenny. Love to your whole family. xoxo

  135. I own an early learning center and several of our parents are veterinarians, so I sent an email with an attachment to your bog as well as questioning if we were being taken over by water breathing alien moth like critters . This is his reply….and yes, we love him as a parent.

    The short answer is Yes …. we are being taken over by alien underwater-breathing moths and we should all run screaming into the streets. I suspect we’ll be seeing mass panic by the end of the month, stocks in Raid will go through the roof then plummet as the moths infest and take out the factories, and yes … we will all remember our wool sweaters fondly as they will become historical relics.
    To further inform you … the beastie is question is a banded sphinx moth :
    To further alarm you … there actually IS an aquatic moth that lives in Hawaii :

    The end is near.


  136. So beautifully written. I am deeply moved, dear Jenny. Love AND light to you and your family.

  137. My first thought was “oh! We just named our cohabiting dragonfly Wing Rhames!” But I love your pseudo-eulogy. That’s beautiful. Your family will support each other through the difficulty that is dealing with death, even the death of someone whose life you can legitimately celebrate. (Which is difficult for different reasons.) I pray we can all have that supportive blessing when needed.

  138. Jenny, that is so beautifully written I (a 47 year old man) am sitting here with tears running down my face. I read this only after seeing that your grandfather had passed away. You were lucky to have had him, he sounded like a wonderful man, but having read your words I know he was lucky to have you too.

  139. Oh Jenny, my thoughts are with you and your family. Occasionally, I dream that my grandpa is hugging me. I wish this for you too. Grief is the flip side of love. You take care and feel that love. It will always be there.

  140. Jenny, this may arrive too late.
    Hearing is the last thing to go. They still feel you touching them and they still hear you talking to them. Even when they appear comatose/sedated/ventilated, they can still be aware of you. Always keep talking to them, hold their hands, massage, stroke hair, whatever. Let them know they’re loved.
    Jennifer with Ralph the stuffed groundhog

  141. Damn, girl. You have a real gift. Just in case no one has ever told you that. I was so proud of you for rescuing Kate Moth/Wing Crosby, but also the omen-y bits and your lovely (LOVELY) eulogy for your grandfather. So much light and life to your and yours.

  142. I’m sorry about your grandfather, but I’m sure it was a comfort to him to be surrounded by family.

  143. Silver Y moths can produce two or three generations in a year with a fourth generation when conditions are particularly good. The eggs are laid on the upper or lower surface of leaves. They are whitish in colour and hemispherical in shape with deep ribbing. They hatch after three to four days (longer in cool conditions).

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