I was coming back from Ireland after visiting my mother, and the airport's television screens showed lots of Union Jack flags draped over coffins. Some paras had been killed in Afghanistan, and one of them was from Carlisle. I remember thinking that was a bit close to home and that I must make the effort to attend the funeral. That same night came the knock on my own door. That was a dreadful moment.
I don't know where the grief will end. Maybe I will never get over it. It was Sarah's 27th birthday recently, and she loved Christmas. She was an only child and absolutely loved this time of year. Until now she had only missed one Christmas, when she was in Iraq. This year I am being sent cards, but rather than put them on display I find it hard to open them - there doesn't seem much point.
Sarah had recently got married and wanted to establish herself in the army. The last emails from her talked about how she was going to be promoted to sergeant. We used to joke she'd be the first woman to be head of the army.
Security was so intense at the funeral because of the number of high-ranking officers present. Sarah had broken a metatarsal, the David Beckham injury, and while she was in London receiving treatment she had impressed a lot of very senior officers in Whitehall.
It is despicable that she was sent to the frontline in a tent on wheels - the Snatch Land Rover that civil servants have been given strict instruction not to travel in. They literally had to stop using them because they are too dangerous - but not apparently too dangerous for British soldiers. Families are destroyed as a result, and some will never get over it.
Now I am planning to publish three children's books featuring Sarah's dog Toby, who rides on the back of Monty, a horse. They are true stories, and some of the money will go to charities, such as Help for Heroes, or other causes helping war veterans.
I have since learnt that Sarah took the full force of the blast. She was lost in the blink of an eye. It's a parent's worst nightmare - the thought of their children dying screaming their name. Thankfully that wasn't the case.