'You hold my hopes, my dreams, my love' - Irish man's inspirational letter to wife who died just two days after their wedding
A heartbroken man has written an emotional letter to his beloved wife, who tragically died just two days after their wedding.
Kathy Casey (29) tied the knot with her long-term partner Noel Byrne at Dublin's Mater Private Hospital on January 14 and she sadly lost her battle with cancer two days later.
Kathy, who was from Ardagh, Co. Limerick, was diagnosed with cancer just three weeks before her death and her devastated husband Noel Byrne has told how they moved their wedding seven months ahead to "fulfill our wish" to get married.
He has paid tribute to his late wife, a primary school teacher whom he met while they were both studying at Limerick's Mary Immaculate College, in an open letter on his Facebook page, which has been shared more than 1,600 times.
"We always said we were a team, but now I’ve lost my captain," he wrote.
"I’m writing this in your bedroom in Ardagh, surrounded by everything that encapsulates your life over the past 29 years. A room the essence of you.
"We’ve been through so much since we first met in Mary I on the very first day of college in 2006. We’ve been to so many places, done so many things, and achieved so much, it’s hard to know where to begin."
Noel listed "little things" he'll miss about his wife, such as her "love of the snooze button" and "obsession with silky labels" but admitted he doesn't think her death has sunk in yet.
"I so badly want this to be a dream, but, in reality, it’s a real-life nightmare. People say there are no words. The truth of it is there are - unfair, undeserved, one hundred percent unnecessary," he added.
"I’m not writing this letter for you to bemoan the cruelties of this world though, I’m writing to tell the world just how great you are.
"You hold my hopes, my dreams, my love. You’re one of a kind and I’m lucky to call you my wife," he said.
Noel reminisced about (their) travels, paying tribute to her love of adventure with trips to China and North Korea, while always maintaining an affinity for Limerick.
As well as their past adventures together, he opened up about their hopes for their future.
"The plans we had for the future - a house in Naas, three kids - Keegan, Kelly and Casey - the name we knew people would question," he said.
"They’d support Limerick in the hurling, Mayo in the football. Before any of that though, our planned wedding on August 3rd - for 2018 was meant to be the year we got married.
"Last Sunday, on the eve of our 11th anniversary and seven months ahead of time, we fulfilled our wish.
"We always wanted a wedding a little different, but neither of us could have imagined what unfolded.
"Last Saturday, from the moment we decided to kick off a chain of events that would go on to include high court judges and government ministers, you were beaming. As adrenaline and euphoria kicked in, the illness took a backseat and wedding planner Kathy kicked in - handing out orders left and right - like normal really.
"The smile on your face as you walked into the Oratory in the Mater Private in your Jenny Packham dress with your mink nail polish - your radiance, your beauty - it’s everything I’d hoped for and more. The love was never stronger, the joy palpable. It’s a moment that will never be forgotten.
"You held out long enough to get that walk down the aisle, the moment of “I do”, the matrimonial kiss."
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Noel also said that as he comes to terms with his heartbreaking loss, he will try to use some of Kathy's strength.
He said: "You leave behind a heartbroken family, devastated friends and soul crushed colleagues. You’d given so much and had so much more yet to give.
"While you’ve taken this final journey on your own, departing ahead of time, I know you’ll be waiting for me in Arrivals when my time too finally comes. While you wait, I know you’ll meet all those that have gone before. You’ll also finally get to meet my dad, and fill him in on the last 11 years. Tell him I said hi.
"You told me that when you were gone, I’d need to take on your strength, and it’s something that I hope I can do, if even a fraction. Your approach to tackling the past three weeks is testament to your character - your strength, bravery, determination, and positivity.
"You’re an inspiration, KC."
He signed off his letter by saying: "You’re my travel companion, my jiving partner, my secret keeper, my best friend, my wife.
"I love you, pretty lady, always have, always will."