I saw this elderly grandmother holding hands with her little granddaughter as the pair strolled through the grounds of Chichester cathedral yesterday. They were both happily chatting away and the little girl was looking up at her grandma and laughing at something which they had shared in their conversation.
Suddenly though she broke off from holding her grandma’s hand and ran over to this particular headstone where she proceeded to crouch down and stare at the faded inscription. She stroked the stone with her left hand and had this most wonderful peaceful expression etched over her little face.
Shortly afterwards her grandmother then also crouched beside her and they spent quite a few minutes together just talking with one another and sharing their special moment.
I have no idea exactly why the little girl selected this particular headstone from the many which are placed here; but she seemed almost drawn towards it?
Grandchildren often talk about getting old and about dying as this holds little or no fear for them during what for them is undoubtedly their age of innocence.
They are merely puzzled and inquisitive and are seeking out some answers for themselves.
Such challenging questions asked of us can prove unsettling. Although they are a fact of life which we will all at some time have to face.
We can only do our best in offering children a plausible but hopefully considered sensitive response.
Even then though this can often prove very challenging to those concerned. Maybe because it brings to the forefront of our minds uncomfortable thoughts about our own mortality.
Children will always speak their truth outright and unashamedly and it is us who need to understand and empathise with the many difficult questions which they are desperately seeking answers for.
We must be seen to be able to step up to the plate and accept our place in life’s journey.
And not merely attempt to pacify or avoid what is difficult for us to acknowledge as being our own truth.