I often think people are at their most unique when they grieve. It's a time when cracks appear in the social training, and the pain spills out (or not) - you can really get a sense of the individual.
Some of my friends had children who died. Each carries the loss in a unique way. Some are cautious about mentioning it, knowing that for anyone who hasn't been through it, mentioning the death of a child will just stop you in your tracks, leaving you clueless as to what you should possibly say. Others are remarkably open: when asked how many kids they have they say "Five. Four are with us, one's up in heaven", or "I had two. One was killed last year". They get the whole gamut of reactions, from people brushing over the subject to those who want to make it all better. And whatever the knee-jerk response - to ignore, to 'fix', to resolve, to pacify - something in turn is revealed about that person.
It becomes a 'window onto the soul' moment for both.