'I loved her with all my heart' - husband pays moving tribute as wife loses cancer battle just 10 weeks after exchanging vows
Published 29/01/2016 | 11:03
A newlywed has said a tearful goodbye to his wife who has died just 10 weeks after they were married.
Clive Taylor and Melissa Hassard tied the knot at Rossorry Parish Church in Enniskillen last November.
But Melissa tragically died last Thursday - 10 weeks to the day after they were wed.
She was buried in her wedding dress with her wedding ring on her finger.
Melissa (28) had been diagnosed with cancer in 2013.
"I loved her with all my heart," Clive told the Impartial Reporter. "She was the best. She was strong, funny, courageous and determined. It is a gap that will never be filled.
"About half-an-hour before she passed away she opened her eyes. She was probably looking around the room to see who was there.
"She was so strong right until the very end.
"But this is not the end for us, I will see her again."
Clive tearfully added: "I could talk about Melissa all day - I'll talk about her for the rest of my life.
"We packed more into our four years than some have packed into 40 years."
At her funeral on Saturday the Rev Dr Ian Ellis told mourners - including colleagues from Boots where she worked for 12 years and where her name remains on the rota - about the "very special" woman.
"We don't expect to be celebrating a wedding and then 10 weeks later be saying farewell," Rev Ellis said.
"But Melissa has inspired people with her courage, her dignity.
"I shall not forget the sight of Melissa coming up the aisle (on her wedding day), arriving at the steps and giving out one of those great 'Yos' when she got to the top."
He recalled her "directness" and "quirky witticisms", which he said were evident from a young age as a pupil at Jones Memorial Primary School and then Enniskillen High School.
"Melissa has completed a most arduous journey, a journey of living with cancer, and has completed it in the most remarkable way and borne her illness without complaint," he said. "She came through it with the most amazing spirit, a spirit that touched everybody she came into contact with."
In 2010 Melissa's baby Ellie was stillborn. It was a personal tragedy that hit her very hard, and as her illness worsened she told her family that she was "going to be with Ellie". When she was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, Melissa was given just months to live but confounded the doctors.
Her mother Fiona said even being taken to hospital in agony just 48 hours prior to her big day did not put her off.
"Two days before the wedding she was taken to hospital suffering from pains," she said.
"She told the doctor: 'I'm getting no bloody operation - I'm getting married on Thursday'.
"The day before the wedding she was sitting in that armchair doing a crossword (and said): 'Ach, it'll be all right'.
"It was brilliant that she met the love of her life and was getting married to him. The wedding meant everything to her.
"She ran down the aisle. She couldn't wait to marry Clive."
Fiona said Melissa would never be forgotten.
"She battled on for two-and-a half-years. She didn't give up because she didn't know how," she said.
"Watching our daughter, a wife, watching her life slip out of her... our lives will never be the same."
And Clive added: "Marrying Melissa was perfect. It was a brilliant day."