All the above 7 photos of the funeral and the procession were kindly taken by Lothar Eimanns.
Hanna on her Birthday 2012
The funeral was yesterday. I survived.
I arrived at the church early and at the same time as Hanna's coffin so had plenty of time to sit alone with her and God. I watched the florist place the flowers on the coffin and the various wreaths around it. Pictures of these will be added to this blog as and when I get them, from the friends that took pictures for me.
Her daughters were responsible for the arrangements and for dealing with the Catholic priest who took the service, and I have to say they did a good job of it and Hanna would have been pleased. The words to the hymns they chose were appropriate and in at least one case moved me to tears. However, I cannot get used to the German Church music and the manner in which they sing the hymns. I have been an Anglican Choir member, man and boy so am well versed in the Anglican way of doing things. It is almost Catholic like too. But that's just me, as Hanna would tell you, I can be quite pedantic at times and strive for 200% perfection. Generally I fail, but thanks to Hanna's bad influence and with age I am learning to live with it.
As the coffin left the Church a beautiful instrumental version of, "I did it my way" was played and I could feel Hanna smiling, for this is just what she wanted and how she lived her life.
At the cemetery I met the Jazz musicians from a group called "The Old Market Stompers" that Hanna so loved. They were to play suitable blues music during the procession and after the formal ceremony of committing the body to the earth had taken place. They were fantastic and again Hanna would not have kept still, but would have been swinging with the music.
When it came to me to place something in the grave and say farewell, I threw the rose you see on top of the coffin. To the rose I had tied the 3rd key to the lock I had left on the Weser bridge and an Ushebti, a fuinery figurine used in Ancient Egypt. Hanna and I loved Egypt and had visited the country together 5 times. She had even been there 3 times before we met. So I think she would have smiled as I gave her an Ancient Egyptian servant to tend to her needs in the after live. Not very Christian I know, but it is the symbolism of placing something Egyptian in her grave that appealed to my romantic nature, for we loved the country and had many wonderful adventures there.
I was pleased that many friends had found the way and the time to share Hanna's last journey, but was disappointed when some did not come to the Hotel where we went for refreshments after. I had been looking forward to talking to many of them, since some I had not seen for a bit, and some of Hanna's friends I did not even know well and had wanted to get to know them better.
Nevertheless I did speak to and sit with the majority of guests that came, especially those from Hameln and their show of support gave me strength to cope with the day, but especially did honour to Hanna's memory.
I visited the grave this morning and lit a candle for Hanna. She would have liked the many flowers and so many friends were generous and have given me money to place flowers on her grave when those above are gone. Eventually when the earth has settled and the grave takes its normal form, I rather fancy having a little seat there so I can sit and chat. Whatever, it is a place that I shall visit often and not just as most Germans on the official All Souls Day.