Honeymoon tragedy so shocking
So often in life, joy and tragedy seem to go hand in hand, and this is especially true of a young Northern Ireland couple and their families and friends.
John and Lynette Rodgers from Co Down were married in Holywood First Presbyterian Church, and less than a week later they were drowned when a freak wave dragged them out to sea while swimming in South Africa, where they were on honeymoon.
We are well used to dealing with tragedy in this province, but there is something particularly shocking about the deaths of two young people during one of the happiest periods of their lives.
Instead of enjoying the rest of their honeymoon and creating memories for a lifetime, they were suddenly swept away so far from home, and now their families and friends will have to come to terms with such unspeakable grief.
The sheer incomprehension at what happened is touchingly expressed in today's Belfast Telegraph by Lynette's mother Eva Reilly, who says: "It's really hard to take in and I can't imagine what they went through."
The depth of a mother's love is clearly underlined by Eva, who adds: "She was so full of life and so excited about the honeymoon.
"We had all really enjoyed the wedding last Saturday."
It is to be hoped, at the very least, that the families and friends will be given swift answers about what happened to their loved ones.
From the outpourings of the messages of support and love from across this country and far beyond, it is clear that John and Lynette were an accomplished and popular couple.
Their friends and acquaintances talk about the other lives which these young people influenced, and the laughter, friendship and joy they brought to all occasions.
This is particularly hard for the people who knew them, but for the rest of us there is also the sadness at the untimely death of two more young people.
Bereavement is difficult at any time, but there is an even deeper tragedy about parents having to deal with the death of their children, and every parent will sympathise deeply with those who have had their children taken from them so cruelly.
The families of John and Lynette will need great support over the very difficult days which lie ahead. They have all our thoughts and sympathies.