After Thursday's funeral, I went round to see another family who are dealing with bereavement. Grandma who'd died was not "of the parish", and we'll not be involved in the funeral service, but I wanted to visit, and there had been a suggestion from the mum that I might have some good ideas about explaining death to young children.
"Hmmn. Can only do my best...", I thought, as I rang the doorbell.
A warm welcome was followed by an introduction to a grown-up cousin, with slight learning difficulties, who was staying with my friend. She had been particularly close to her grandmother, and suddenly the brief of "explaining death to the children" seemed wider, more alarming by the second.
I needn't have worried.
A., the small daughter whom I know from school and OpenHouse, was very happy to chat about her grandma and about the change that had happened to her. She explained to me that Grandma had been poorly for too long, had stopped enjoying life, was just worn out with being ill. Then she started telling me how grandma's story fitted into the great story of Easter...
We talked together, while her cousin listened, about how sad the disciples must have felt at bedtime on Good Friday. We talked about the women going to the tomb first thing on Easter Sunday...We talked about what that might mean for us.
I began to think thatmaybe a suitably modified version of Kathryn's standard funeral sermon, variant b (Romans) might be about to get an outing, but meanwhile A chattered happily on, full of visions of angels and heavy stones rolled away.
"Blimey..." said her cousin "How do you know all that stuff?"
"Because" said A (all in a great rush, without any pause for breath) "There's a big empty cross outside the church and it says "Risen" and that means that Jesus is risen and because he's risen it means that we can be too...so grandma is as well... so we don't need to be sad. OK? If you want, I'll show you..." - and A. seized her cousin by the hand and took her off to confront the evidence that love really is stronger than death.
I'm not sure that the logic would have worked for everyone, but the shining certainty that A offered would have convinced most hardened sceptics. It was clearly hugely reassuring to her cousin. Good news is so much more credible when you love the one who shares it with you.
"He is not here. He is risen. Come, see the place where he lay"