'Her death exploded our hearts into tiny fragments,' says father of tragic Tracey
The devastated husband of tragic Tracey Fitzpatrick brought a photo of their newborn son to the altar at her funeral.
Tracey died one day after she gave birth to Max on Easter Monday.
Dad-of-three Bernard Fitzpatrick carried the photo as a symbol of her life.
"From the moment I first laid eyes on Tracey, my life was never the same," he later told mourners at her funeral mass at St Anne's Church in Knock, Co Mayo.
In the message read out on his behalf, Mr Fitzpatrick said that his late wife's love was "unconditional".
"(She) had a get-up-and-go attitude to life," he said.
"Friend, wife, mother, I will love you always."
In a message which was read to mourners, Tracey's father, James, thanked her husband, Bernard, for "making her so happy".
The message continued: "Her (Tracey's) loss came like a bolt of lightning that exploded our hearts into tiny fragments with excruciating pain that comes in waves with a razor sharp edge that has cut through every fibre of our being".
Mrs Fitzpatrick, who lived with her husband and their two other children, Jamie and Adam, in Nurney, Co Carlow, died at St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny, after giving birth to Max, a healthy baby boy.
Authorities at St. Luke's have confirmed that an internal inquiry is underway into the 36-year-old's death.
At her funeral mass yesterday, a local choir sang Candle in the Wind and offertory gifts included a cushion signifying Tracey's interest in crafts and embroidery, a Leinster football jersey signifying her move east from Co Mayo, and a wooden flute given to her as a present on her wedding day.
Diane Campbell tearfully recalled for mourners her "caring, heart-warming, funny" sister who enjoyed her family and "would stick up for you even if you were wrong because we're family".
Following the Mass, the young mother's remains were brought to Knock Cemetery for burial.
Fr Pat Burke, the main celebrant yesterday, said the community was numbed by the death.
He recalled that she had given birth to Max on Monday morning, "a time of great joy and happiness".
"We pray for Tracey", he said. "We are heartbroken at her death at such a young age."
Fr Burke said Tracey, a bright young person, had packed much into her short life.