No words can fill void left by honeymoon couple's death
It was only two weeks ago that John and Lynette Rodgers stood in church for their marriage and vowed to love and cherish each other for the rest of their lives. On that happiest of days, not only for them but also for their families, no one could have foretold the tragedy that would unfold so swiftly and that the rest of their lives would be as of an instant.
On Monday, the couple will return to that same Holywood church, this time together in death. They died together - drowned in a cruel sea - on honeymoon in South Africa. Their families will gather again, this time in inconsolable grief.
A man who knows how they feel is Mickey Harte, the Tyrone GAA manager whose own daughter Michaela was murdered while on honeymoon. This week he spoke movingly of what John and Lynette's families are going through - how at this time they can only see darkness, a feeling that will persevere for a considerable period. However, ultimately and through their faith, their sorrows may be eased. Those are words borne out of an experience that none of us would ever want to share and at this time our hearts must go out to the families of John and Lynette. They have had to endure what must have seemed like an interminable wait to receive back home the bodies of their loved ones.
Bad enough that tragedy should strike, but that the agony is inevitably prolonged because of the circumstances and the location has only added to the heartache of all those touched by the deaths.
Perhaps they got a little consolation from the simple act of humanity which took place earlier this week on the beach where their bodies were found. A cross adorned with purple and white flowers - inspired by Lynette's wedding bouquet - was erected as a memorial to the couple.
As ever, people will rally round this weekend to comfort and support the bereaved, as many have already done. But, sadly, even the most generous decency cannot fill the void that the couple's death has left.