One of the many stressors kids of deployed soldiers face is prolonged parental absences.
Consequently, these children show “separation anxiety, temper tantrums, and changes in eating habits,” according to a research finding posted on The National Center for PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder).
“As Close as the Moon” deals with this subject. The story is about a boy and his father, a soldier who gets deployed to Iraq. In order to maintain a connection, the moon acts as their special medium while separated.
“As Close as the Moon,” said McGrail, who is 43, is written in a “simple and meaningful language that children can understand.”
The story is based on true events; it incorporates experiences that McGrail had with his three children, Sean, 6; Hollis, 9; and Patrick, 10.
While in Iraq, McGrail said that every night he would look at the moon and think of his children.
“I knew that they (his children) were outside watching the moon, the same one I was looking hours earlier and you really feel that it is tangible,” McGrail said.
The first time McGrail deployed to Iraq, he said it was hard for him and for the rest of his family.
“I was 41 when I first deployed and was based at Joint Base Ballad,” McGrail said. “We ran missions throughout the country but primarily into and out of Baghdad.”
“I was trying to find a way to stay connected to them, a way for them to be able to feel close to me and that I was still a part of what was happening with them,” McGrail said. “I wanted my children to visualize where I am, what I am doing, and the message holds how we are connected no matter what happens.”
One of the most fulfilling parts about being a children’s author for McGrail, is being able to produce something his kids can enjoy.
“The times that are more difficult are sometimes the more meaningful,” said McGrail in a very warm-toned voice.
By Maria Adriana Mendoza
For more information and where to buy the book visit ascloseasthemoon.com