IT was a beautifully poignant time. She had broken a bone after a fall and was recovering well. But that was not the reason she wanted to see a chaplain.

Whilst she was in hospital, her brother, who lived in a different part of the country, had died unexpectedly.

She had not seen him for some time due to the restrictions but you could tell that they were close. And she simply wanted to talk to me about him.

She spoke about their early days growing up together in Bristol and of the scrapes they got into.

“We were just a normal family with the usual childhood arguments and fights – but he was my brother and I loved him.”

She told me of how, during the war, her house was bombed during an air raid. It was a new type of bomb called a parachute bomb or mine.

These floated down on the parachute and were designed to detonate at roof level; a blast bomb that could decimate an area of 100 yards around it. It must have been terrifying.

And when they returned to their house it was now no longer there and was levelled to the ground.

Her brother had just had a new bike, and she saw it high up in a tree, mangled and twisted. With this memory in her mind’s eye she said to me, “I hope he is up there now with a shiny new bike to ride on. Thank you for listening to an old woman tell her stories. It has helped a lot and there is no one else who can listen to them.”

It struck me that something that meant so much had cost me so little. All I did was sit there and be interested in this lady and what she had to say.

No great shakes but somehow it became a special moment shared together. And when I think of the people I meet each day, it seems to me that it is the little things that make so much difference.

In a world where we prize the big events and the sensationalism of the headlines, perhaps the small acts of interested listening make the biggest difference.