Dark Hedges tragedy: US widow had ‘emptiness in her eyes’

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An American woman who was widowed on honeymoon last week in Co Antrim returned to the US with her husband in an urn and “emptiness in her eyes”, it is reported.

Michael Monroe, 31, from Orange, Connecticut, was killed in a car crash last Tuesday close to the Dark Hedges – a tree-lined avenue in north Antrim made famous in the Game Of Thrones TV series. His wife Caroline was slightly injured.

Caroline and Michael Monroe took this photograph together at the Giant's Causeway only hours before he died

Caroline and Michael Monroe took this photograph together at the Giant's Causeway only hours before he died

Christopher Sherrard from Londonderry started up a group called ‘Life After’ in the wake of losing his own father on the roads two years ago. It now supports others bereaved on the roads.

“It cost a lot of money to have her husband cremated and repatriated,” he said. “We would like to raise some money for her in her hour of need.

“They saved for a year for their honeymoon and her brother and mother dropped everything to come and be with her. We are setting up a ‘Go Fund Me’ page which will run for two weeks and we will transfer all the money directly into her account.

“It is tragic. She was only 31 and took her husband home in an urn today [Tuesday]. I could just see the emptiness in her eyes.”

In a statement, Caroline’s mother Aileen McKenna and her brother Will Braaksma said: “We are heartbroken over the loss of our sweet Michael Monroe.

“Michael and Caroline were on their honeymoon, a dream trip they planned and saved for, a year after their July 2017 wedding. They were having a wonderful time loving this beautiful country.

“Our tragic loss has been eased by the kindness and support of so many Irish people. We thank the neighbours and first responders at the accident scene, and the staff at both Causeway Coast & Glens and Altnagelvin Hospital.”

They praised a woman who sat with Caroline in hospital in those “first terrible hours” and two other women who picked them up from Dublin Airport.

They added: “We are forever grateful to the police liaisons who have guided us through these awful and heartbreaking days and also to the Life After group who have done so much for us.

“Michael was a kind, loving man, a teacher beloved by his family, friends and students, but especially by his beautiful bride Caroline and their two dogs, Monty and Milo.”

Caroline is now “reimagining a future without her sweet Michael” they added.