An Irish man who married and buried his childhood sweetheart in the same week said his wife's death has left a hole in his heart "that will never be filled". 

Dave McLoughlin, 35, from County Tipperary, married his childhood sweetheart Michelle Crowe, 33, in a ceremony at a chapel in University Hospital Limerick on Monday, March 20. 

Michelle died on Saturday, March 25, following a battle with an aggressive form of breast cancer. 

Dave told the Limerick Leader that he had to "organize a wedding and a funeral in a week" and said he wanted people to know "what an amazing human Michelle was". 

"We got married on a Monday and we had her wake on the following Monday. I never thought it was possible to feel pain like I feel it now. As the days go on the pain gets worse," Dave told the Limerick Leader. 

Dave and Michelle first met outside a church in the Tipperary village of Cappawhite when they were teenagers and had been together for 19 years at the time of Michelle's death. They had two children together - Cillian, aged 13, and Oisín, aged 14 months. 

Michelle's funeral service took place in the same Church on Tuesday, March 28. 

"She was small and unassuming but she had the biggest heart in the world - she had so much love for so many people and she never had a bad word to say about anybody. She would be there for you in a heartbeat if you called her at 5 am but, above all, she was my best friend in the whole world," Dave told the Limerick Leader. 

"She has left a hole that will never be filled. I will never look at someone the same way as I looked at Michelle for as long as I live. No matter how bad things got, we always had each other's backs." 

A truly heart-rending story told with the consideration and respect it deserves by @DonalORegan1

'I had to organise a wedding and a funeral in a week': Husband's moving tribute to late wife

— Áine Fitzgerald (@AineFitzgeraldA) April 6, 2023

Dave revealed that he "fell apart" following Michelle's cancer diagnosis last September. 

Michelle went to the doctor over concerns about a cyst last September and was immediately sent for emergency tests. She was subsequently diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy. 

She later underwent surgery on Valentine's Day, which was successful, but soon learned that the cancer had spread to her liver. 

"I couldn't handle it at all," Dave said. "Michelle shed a couple of tears here and there but she never let it get to her." 

On Thursday, March 16, Dave told a nurse at University Hospital Limerick that he had been engaged to Michelle for seven years. The nurse sprang into action and helped to arrange all of the necessary paperwork over the weekend. 

"Everybody did all they could to organize it. Nurses had decorated the chapel and organized a speaker to play our song (Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams. Nurses brought Michelle down in her wheelchair but she walked up the aisle with her brother Darren," Dave told the Limerick Leader.

"It was beautiful. She had such a lovely day. I could tell it was taking a lot out of her but she never complained. The nurses booked a meal in the Unicorn and when I went up to pay, the Mid-Western Cancer Society had left €300 with the barman.

"When we got back to the room in UHL the nurses had decorated it with lights and balloons and had a table with non-alcoholic champagne. We slept in the same bed and had some of the nicest cuddles we had in a long time." 

Dave added that UHL's oncology unit "could not have done more for Michelle" during her time in the hospital. 

"They looked after her with so much with love. They have my undying gratitude."