A nation mourns Michaela

The country was united in grief this week following the tragic death of Michaela McAreavey.

The country was united in grief this week following the tragic death of Michaela McAreavey.

The murder of the Tyrone woman in Mauritius has stunned a nation.

The circumstances of her death must make it nearly unbearable for her family and friends.

She died on honeymoon just eleven days after her marriage to former Down footballer John McAreavey.

Michaela was the only daughter of Tyrone football manager Mickey Harte and his distraught face has been beamed into all our homes in the past week.

His grief is palpable. Those who didn't know Michaela personally felt they knew her as she was always by his side following Tyrone's All Ireland victories.

As she said herself in a television interview, she was a daddy's girl.

Tyrone's long awaited breakthrough to the ranks of All Ireland winners only happened in the last decade and the delight of an entire county was etched in the face of the county's greatest fan as she hugged her father at every final whistle.

The whole country felt they knew her after those images were replayed on our television screens in the past week.

The images released since of her smiling face with her new husband John on honeymoon in Mauritius only add to the heartache.

Here was a young woman with everything to live for, enjoying the first few days of marriage, whose life was so cruelly cut short.

She should have been returning this week with John to start life in their new home. It wouldn't have been long before she was at a Tyrone game.

Instead she was brought back in a coffin to the indescribable grief of family and friends - grief that was all too evident at her funeral on Monday.

Her death reminds us of the fragility of human life and how circumstances can conspire to cause such tragedy.

Had she not gone to her room that fateful day she may just have been a victim of a petty burglary rather than a gruesome murder.

These are thoughts that will haunt her husband for some time.

If there's any consolation in such grief it must be the outpouring of goodwill for the family since Michaela's death.

Only the hardest heart could have been unmoved and the genuine grief felt by so many hopefully will provide some comfort for the Harte and McAreavey families.

They will know that the grief extends far beyond the Tyrone borders.