This year fate intervened as last week we had to attend to an appointment in Newton Park and it just happened that we had our grandchildren with us. As we were driving and chattering away, Jessica suddenly announced in forlorn little voice, "Golly, (her name for her grandad) I am sad and happy at the same time!" Confused we asked her to explain.
She went on to tell us that she was sad that her daddy's brother had died but at the same time she couldn't help but be happy because Paul was her daddy and she loves him so much (she knows the story of the relationship between her mom and Craig at the time of his accident). Amazingly we were around the corner from the church where Craig's funeral service was held and where his name appears in the garden of remembrance, so we took a detour and found a sunny corner to reassure her that it was OK to feel the way she does. Unknowingly she was describing how we sometimes feel too.
Our son, Paul, lost his girlfriend in the same accident and a year or so later started to date Shelley. They were married five years later and our grandchildren are their children - so you see it is a sad and happy situation. We may have had different grandchildren but we wouldn't have these two little treasures.
As we explained Jessica looked for her Uncle Craig's name on the Wall of Remembrance while her brother and Craig's namesake ran around on the lawn oblivious of the origins of his name - too young to understand at age three what tragedy is. Our grandchildren have brought us special joy and have helped to heal our hearts but the feeling will always be 'Bitter Sweet".
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul's Cathedral