Fr Brendan Howard of Ballon-Rathoe parish in Carlow was speaking at a special Mass for Tracey Fitzpatrick who died in St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny, on Easter Sunday.
He said the deep sorrow being endured by the husband, parents and family of Tracey is “something that only they themselves can know — a kind of grief that is stark, private and exclusive.”
A native of Shanvaghera, Knock, Co Mayo, she had resided at Templepeter, outside Nurney, Carlow, with her husband Bernard and family.
She died after giving birth to her son, Max.
Shortly after delivery, her condition suddenly deteriorated and she died before emergency surgery could begin.
Fr Howard told the congregation: “For those of us who knew Tracey this occasion has an air of unreality about it.
“We cannot believe what has happened. To her husband, parents and family the event is a nightmare from which they would hope to awaken.
“The suddenness of Tracey’s passing leaves us stunned by grief.”
The priest stated that, however hard people try, none of us can really enter into the desolate world of her family and share their pain of loss.
Symbols of Tracey’s life brought to the altar included a photo of infant baby Max by his father, Bernard, and a Leinster jersey symbolising her move from Mayo to Carlow. Members of the local Burren Rangers GAA Club formed a guard of honour.
At the end of the Mass, Tracey’s remains were borne from the church to the sad refrain of ‘Going Home’.
They were conveyed to the home of Tracey’s parents, James and Pauline Campbell at Shanvaghera, from where they were brought for her Requiem Funeral Mass to be held this morning in the local St Ann’s Church.
Following this Tracey will be laid to rest in Knock cemetery.
She is mourned by husband, Bernard, sons Jamie, Adam and Max, parents James and Pauline Campbell, sisters Amanda, Paula and Diane, brother Alan, grandmothers Rita (Mayo) and Kitty (Carlow) and extended family.