‘I still have Michaela, but in a different way’

Only the hardest heart could fail to be moved by the image of Michaela McAreavey’s heartbroken husband, John cutting such a lone figure at her graveside.

‘I still have Michaela, but in a different way’

Twenty months after his bride was killed on their dream honeymoon in Mauritius, he still looks bereft.

The pictures were taken as part of a DVD made by the Archdiocese of Armagh on the role of lay people in the Church.

In the short film, the former Co Down footballer speaks about his wife’s “unwavering faith“, how it has given him strength though his bereavement and how he still feels married.

“If I’d had a bad day she would say: ‘Just have patience. It will all work out for you. There is a wider picture there’. So there was this plan and unfortunately it’s not the way I wanted it to be, but I knew that Michaela believed in it. So it gave me the strength to believe in that,” he said.

“I miss her a lot you know, God I miss her but I just have to try to accept that I have Michaela in a different way now. Our relationship has changed but I still have her....She forever talked about God’s plan, even in football.”

“She’s my wife and it might be difficult for people to get that but that’s the way I feel and thank God for it and long may it continue,” he said.

Michaela McAreavey, a religion and Irish teacher, was murdered in her hotel room on the island of Mauritius in Jan 2011. She was found by her new husband. Two of the hotel’s employees, Sandip Moneea and Avinash Treebhoowoon, were tried for her murder but cleared this summer.

John has previously said that when he first met the girl who would become his wife, he was certain he had never set eyes on anyone more beautiful.

“I’ve yet to see anyone prettier than Michaela,” he repeated in court this summer.

The couple met in 2005 when John was studying accounting at Queen’s University and Michaela was training to be a teacher at St Mary’s College. Mutual friends introduced them on a night out.

“Michaela was a wonderful, wonderful person, a really special human,” John recalled at the trial.

“She completed my whole life.”

Michaela’s deep Catholic faith was well acknowledged. She was also a member of the total abstinence Pioneer Association.

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