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Now 40, Suzy, a senior civil servant in the Cabinet Office, formerly of the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit, has a new partner, Joseph, and an eighteen-month-old baby, Millie, and lives in St Albans."Being widowed young, you feel in a group of one. Then I established via the internet that there were others like me, which gave me comfort."Chatting with people in America whose whole families had been wiped out in drive-by shootings made my situation more manageable."The thing about death is that people vanish.

Friends drifted away because I'd had no time to see them when my husband was ill, and I had no family close by."Basic survival instinct got me through.

Knowing Matthew wants me to carry on and make a life for myself and the children is what keeps me going. I told him the doctors couldn't make him better and he'd gone to Heaven.

Ross is now three, and sometimes he forgets and says, "Where’s Daddy? "But if we didn't talk about him, it would be denying him.

"I enjoy life but it would be dishonest to say my life is happy. I'm too strong to keel over - Geoff would be horrified if I did."Karen Doody, 35, was widowed in June 2002, when her husband, James, died of cancer.

"I never turn down invitations - even though I don't always look forward to them - because it's better than sitting at home. I got through it by reminding myself what I'd still got - friends, a new job, a new house.

I felt light-headed, unhinged, as though my brain had been sucked out.

I expected grief to be about crying and sadness, not tiredness, loss of self-confidence and inability to focus.

"Those milestones - Ross's first nativity play, Anya's first birthday (in July 2003) - he should have been here to share with me.

And I have no-one to discuss the big decisions with - which nursery, which school.

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