TODAY should have been a special date of double celebration for John McAreavey – his wife Michaela's 29th birthday and the start of another year of married life together.
Now John has appealed for people toasting the new year to pause and consider Michaela's legacy. The 27-year-old daughter of Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte was strangled in Mauritius on January 10, 2011, less than two weeks after her wedding on December 30, 2010.
In a letter on behalf of the Michaela Foundation, which was set up in her honour, John says his wife constantly strove to better her life and those of the people close to her.
"When the clock strikes 12 on December 31, people all over Ireland and beyond will cheer and wish each other a very Happy New Year," he writes.
"For some, this event is no more than a change of calendar. For others, the new year symbolises the beginning of a better tomorrow.
"We at the Michaela Foundation subscribe to the latter, because for us, December 31 will always have a more special meaning than for most. Michaela McAreavey was born on December 31, 1983.
"Each year, she would have thought about the potential for a great year ahead.
"Michaela didn't strive to be different in the way she lived her life. She strived to be herself. To be true to her values. It wasn't necessarily with a big splash or shining light for the most part."
Detectives in Mauritius are expected to release a report on their latest inquiry early in 2013.
A second investigation into her murder was launched in August. Michaela, a teacher, was strangled in her hotel bedroom while on honeymoon in January 2011. She was attacked when she returned alone to the couple's bedroom at the Legends Hotel in Mauritius. Two hotel staff were acquitted of her murder earlier this year.
The young woman's family has since set up the Michaela Foundation in her memory.
The Michaela Foundation funds a bursary for university students and a summer camp for girls aged 11 to 13. For further information, log on to themichaelafoundation.com.