What I wasn't prepared for was the fear. When I say fear, I mean heart simultaneously stopping, dropping down to your stomach, then, bouncing back up into your mouth fear. The kind of fear that leaves you momentarily frozen to the spot and unsure as to whether you might poo your pants or throw up in your mouth.
Grief is entirely individual, and the grieving person has to respond to their grief in a way that is relevant to them. How they respond may change over time. The difficulty with the platitudes detailed above is that they infer a judgement about how the person is grieving, the time they are taking over their grief, or how they are feeling.
It's every mother's greatest fear that she will have to leave her children. My daughter Kate Gross lived with that fear for more than two years, before she died of colon cancer a few weeks ago. I wish she was here now so I could tell her that the boys are getting on just fine. Oscar and Isaac were three when Kate was first diagnosed. Twins, but very different little beings. Oscar dark-haired, violet-eyed, solid - and with an astonishing ability (in Kate's words) to 'focus on things, to know them utterly'. Isaac, blond and agile and restless. 'Each of them,' she says, 'carved out his own space in my heart, a space which fits him exactly.'