LET’S face it, the idea of getting old and dying is hard enough for any of us to get our heads around. But when you’re only three, and just getting used to life, it’s especially tricky.

And, so, it’s proving to be the case with our little granddaughter, Chloe, who’s started asking questions about what it all means.

It all began when she was having a rummage through an old jewellery box with Uncle Max and came across a locket containing photographs of my wife’s late mum and dad. Max, who is proving to be a surprisingly sensitive uncle, explained that the people in the photographs were her great-grandparents, who’d died before she was born.

It led to a further exchange with Chloe about how her other great-grandad (my dad) had also died before she was born, but that she was very lucky to have another great-grandma (my mum) who is alive and kicking – and even fit enough to still ride her bike.

Anyway, all of this was clearly preying on her mind because she resumed the discussion with her Daddy later that evening. To help her understand, he showed her a video we’d had made for my dad’s funeral. Set to one of his favourite songs, Magic Moments, it comprised photos of him throughout his life, as well as other pictures from the family album.

“What kind of die did him do?” asked Chloe, with a sad face.

Her Daddy explained that he was just very old, and died in hospital, but that he would have loved her very much. He also mentioned the fact that he’d smoked a lot and fought in the war – two other subjects she found baffling.

The rather sombre mood was lifted when a picture of me as a baby popped up on the video. “Do you know who that is?” asked Chloe’s Daddy. “That’s Grandad!”

Well, she thought this was hilarious. “Noooo!” she laughed. “Gandad never been a baby – him always been an old man!”

There were further giggles when her Daddy asked: “Chloe, will you still give me hugs when I’m old?”

“Oh, Daddy, you are already old,” came the reply, and given that he’s not 30 until June, it’s fair to say it didn’t go down too well.

As I said at the beginning, old age and dying are never easy to understand and, to be honest, I’m not too sure Chloe has really got to grips with it.

Before she went to bed, she had one last question: “When great-grandad gets better and isn’t dead anymore, will he come and see me?”



CHLOE was round our house and playing with her Grandma.

“Shall we have a picnic, Grandma?” she asked.

“No, just a snack,” said Grandma.

“Ok, how about a snack picnic?” came the reply.

CHLOE was having some fun, doing arts and crafts with her Daddy.

“Daddy, the glue isn’t coming out,” she said.

“Well, just give it a great big squeeze,” he told her.

“You mean like a poo?” she replied.

WHILE we’re on the delicate subject of toilet training, Chloe waited too long and had a “little accident” while she was round our house the other day.

Once the drama had subsided, she suddenly announced: “Mummy had a little accident too.”

As you can imagine, the room fell silent and we all looked at each other. Thankfully, it turned out that she’d tripped and fallen over on the trampoline.