herald

Wednesday 17 July 2019

It’s small details that are the most heartbreaking

THEY say the devil is in the detail, and in the case of this week's heartbreaking events in Mauritius, it's certainly true.

The harshest kicks are in the extra vignettes we read about tragic, beautiful Michaela and her young widower, John McAreavey.

In hearing the stories unfurl through the week, it was the little things that hit me the hardest. For some reason, I can't get the notion of the biscuits out of my head.

A young woman including a packet of plain Irish biscuits in with her honeymoon trousseau has such utter poignancy.

It seems to express so perfectly, in one action, what everyone has said about the young beauty.

Diligent, mindful, conscientious. Then, back home, the sight of the balloons decorating the signs to Michaela and John's local church where they married.

The same balloons forlornly stay affixed, flapping in the cold winter wind, deflating over time to present an even sadder image to the world.

The couple return home today from what was to have been the holiday of a lifetime, but not as they should.

The groom, utterly devastated, escorting the body of his new bride – in a plain wooden coffin, wrapped in a pink silk sleeve.

JOY

Silk, in Michaela's short life, would always have been a fabric associated with celebration. Wedding dresses, party frocks, beauty queen sashes, ball gowns…

Things that she'd have looked forward to with glee, and celebrated with joy.

The simplicity of the casket knocks me as much for the reality for what's happening, as its fussfree image.

She was a girl unlike most of her generation, and against the type that she could have been. Genuine, not glitzy; sincere, not hysterical; based on firm family values and traditions, rather than a scant moral code.

Today's images of Michaela's young widower, in transit with his tragically deceased bride, depict him wearing her wedding and engagement rings on a delicate gold chain around his neck.

As someone who has just got engaged, I know the excitement and joy they symbolise, and the feelings the couple would have shared as she slipped each ring on for the first time.

The happiest time of this besotted couple’s lives has been cruelly halted.

Then ended, in a place they expected to be paradise.

I'd say the last thing on John's mind right now is crime reinactments, police questioning and court dates.

It all must seem so alien to a young man who can possibly only absorb a fraction of what's going on around him.

The full picture being too much to face for a heartbroken widower in mourning.

Again and again, it's all too much.

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