Then, two weeks later, he had a seizure in bed - his eyes rolled into the back of his head, his whole body shook and he was foaming at the mouth. Jon was taken to Hull Royal Infirmary, where scans revealed he had a large brain tumour. I think he decided then that whatever fate threw at him, he would cope. 'I'm not a quitter and, although the relationship was still new, I already knew I was falling in love,' she says.'Having this shadow over us simply intensified everything.' After the tumour was removed in January 2004, the couple set up home together in Hull with Michelle's son, Callum, and tried to get back to normal. Tests after the operation showed that the tumour was a very aggressive cancer and would return.The idea that we "should" only have sex within the context of a serious relationship was an antiquated judgment to be disregarded.
The question of whether you can put a timespan on grief is especially pertinent for Michelle Heidstra.
Just four weeks after her husband died, Michelle fell in love with his best friend, Adrian Mc Collin, a pall bearer at the funeral. Their relationship is testament, says Michelle, to just how much she loved her husband, Jon.
When I told one of my girlfriends about my new sex life, she said, "Good for you for getting back on the horse!
"Another friend said something I took to heart: that as women, we can claim our pleasure without shame, that our sexuality is a gift to be proud of.
My friend was a movie buff, belonging to several film societies. He'd stop by my house some evenings "to avoid rush hour." A few months after George's death, things between us became physical.
My brain was still deep in mourning, but other parts of me were in overdrive, reminding me that I was still alive, healthy and up for fun.
'They had been friends for 20 years, ever since they were ten-year-old schoolboys. Being with someone who knew and loved Jon helped me. Ade felt the same, though of course we both sometimes felt guilty.' Brazening out the criticism, the couple carried on seeing each other for a year. 'I was in pieces.' Falling in love in such extreme circumstances took its toll on both of them, but then, 12 months later, in March 2008, they started dating again.
'I remember breaking down in Ade's arms and crying: "What will I do without him? Far from it.' Michelle was so convinced she'd done nothing wrong that she told her close friends, who she says looked shocked but didn't say anything. It was only then that Adrian, feeling the relationship was getting too serious too quickly, suggested a break. This time, says Michelle, the relationship is very different. I can now see that the first time around, all I'd wanted was to find a replacement for Jon. We took things very slowly, only moving in together last September.
My current boyfriend was shocked when, after we first made love, I told him that all I wanted in a relationship (at the time) was a "friends with benefits" situation. After he died in 2013, I figured I was done with sex.
It had been a year and eight months since my husband had died; my sex drive had recovered, but my heart was still hibernating. He'd been my high school sweetheart, my first and only.
I was tired of having experiences for their own sake.