Derry charity assists family of American woman widowed on honeymoon

Caroline and Michael Monroe were on honeymoon when tragedy struck.
Caroline and Michael Monroe were on honeymoon when tragedy struck.

The family of an American woman widowed in a road traffic accident while on honeymoon have paid tribute to the local charity and hospital staff who have been assisting her since the tragedy.

Derry charity Life After, founded by a local man who was himself bereaved through a road traffic collision, have confirmed they have been comforting Caroline Monroe, following the tragedy that claimed the life of her husband Michael.

The American couple’s family in a public statement issued today through the PSNI, along with a photo of the couple, have spoken of their devastation and also their gratitude to all those who have supported them, including the Life After team and staff at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Mr Monroe, who have travelled with his wife from their home in Connecticut, died as a result of a road traffic collision on Tuesday September 25 at 7.10pm, at the junction of Gracehill Road and Bregagh Road in Ballymoney. It is understood the couple were visiting the Dark Hedges, an iconic and popular visitor attraction made famous after it featured in ‘Game of Thrones’.

In a statement, Caroline’s mother Aileen McKenna and Caroline’s brother Will Braaksma have 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.

“We are deeply appreciative of Bernadette who sat with Caroline in the hospital during those first terrible hours, and Grainne and Ciara who picked Caroline’s mother and brother up at Dublin airport and drove them three hours north to the hospital.

“We are forever grateful to the police liaisons who have guided us through these awful and heart-breaking 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.

“Please respect our privacy as Caroline heals physically and grieves this dreadful loss, re-imagining a future without her sweet Michael.

“Thank you from the families of Caroline and Michael Monroe.”

Life After meanwhile posted a statement on their social media page on Sunday, which read: “It is with a very heavy heart that we, the members of the Life After Family are placing this post today.

“Last Tuesday, Michael and Caroline Monroe, from Connecticut in the USA, were visiting the Dark Hedges in Armoy, and during the trip, their vehicle was involved in an RTC, sadly resulting in Michael’s (Mike) death. The couple were visiting Ireland for their Honeymoon and this tragedy has left everyone involved with helping them numb.

“Life After has been involved with ensuring that the family receive immediate support with the services we offer.

“We have been with Caroline, who since the accident has been hospitalised due to her own injuries, we have also been supporting Caroline’s mum and brother who have flown in to be with her at this difficult time, which has given them the reassurance they need that someone cares.

“To Caroline, your family and Michael’s family, Michael will always be remembered by Life After, and you will constantly be kept in our thoughts and prayers.

“RIP. Michael (Mike) Monroe, you will never be forgotten in this beautiful Country.

“Your Life After Family.”