Monday, February 02, 2009

Be Like Bruce - Forgive. Accept. Hug.

I went to Frankfurt this weekend. I lived in Frankfurt for many years, and still maintain close ties to my friends and the church I went to - the Church of Christ the King, one of the English language churches in the city. Unfortunately, my reason for the trip was not a happy one. Bruce Hunter, a long-time, upstanding member of the church, a singer in the Darmstadt Opera Choir and the church choir, father of 2 teen-age daughters was killed tragically in a bicycle/automobile collision Tuesday, 20 January. He was riding his bike and an elderly driver was blinded by the setting sun. The man reached to pull down the sun visor and got caught on the steering wheel (don't ask me! I don't know how that happens) and veered to the side hitting and ran right over Bruce. He died on the scene.

Now this is someone who was very active in the church, but not only that he was one of the most positive, loving, inspirational people any of us had ever known. He always had a huge smile on his face and a sparkle in his eye. His faith was strong. He wore loud clothing. His voice was rich, and warm and powerful. It's hard to believe he's really gone on to the Kingdom of Heaven he was so fervently believed in. He helped create the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth, which is where it really needs to be.

He was loved by so many people - over 400 people came to the funeral on Saturday. The opera choir traveled in a bus and sang the Ave Verum by Mozart. The children's choir sang On Eagle's Wings, his daughter Miriam and the youth group performed a song she'd written. The adult choir sang Shall We Gather By the River/Deep River by Carter, and a man Bruce had studied with in Indiana sang the solo. We also sang Give Me Jesus. People came from all over Europe and the USA to be there for the funeral and the choir was augmented by former members (including me). It was like a time-warp. And it was an emotional roller coaster. Singing, weeping, laughing, weeping, singing, weeping, laughing. All inspired by this wonderful man.

It was bittersweet. We've lost a shining star in the world and I had to say farewell. But at the same time, his death achieved what he did in life so well: Many (old) friends (Allan, Kathy, the Sladdins, Dorothee, Annabelle, John N. and more), some of whom I hadn't seen in years, arrived and we sang together.

Someone had made pins for all of us to wear:

Be Like Bruce
Forgive. Accept. Hug.

World Improvement Plan:
Be Like Bruce


Anonymous said...

Hey Diane--I rarely read blogs. Don't know why, usually because there are too many and I get overwhelmed by wanting to read the entire thing all the way back and lose myself for hours that I do not have and will never get back. Lame reason maybe, but there it is. Something about your post on FB lured me to your blog, which I've been meaning to peek at for a little while now anyway. Your comments on the death of your friend are very touching and I feel like I missed out on something by not knowing him. Thank you for sharing from your heart. After reading that, naturally I got sucked into reading the rest of your entries (hence my reason for blog avoidance). Just wanted you to know that your blog writing is very interesting and I enjoy following your ventures and personal narratives/anecdotes. I had given up on a career in music because I had seen only one way to succeed--you have shown me that there are many paths to success and your testimonies here are worth noting for anyone pursuing music (especially singers, right?). Anyway, thanks for putting it all out there, the good and less good, and your heart most of all. :) Carrie

Diane Severson said...

Thank you, Carrie. I'm not a great writer, but I strive to write from the heart. I do it mostly for my family and friends who are not near me, so that they have an idea what I'm up to professionally at least. I'm delighted that I might have inspired you. I know how you feel about blogs - they do suck you in!

Ottavina said...

Aww...what a great tribute to Bruce! So sorry to hear of his untimely death.

Anonymous said...

He sounds like a remarkable man. My heart goes out to you and everyone touched by this loss, but what an inspiring thing to see so many come together and prove how meaningful and inspirational his life was.

Matthew Sanborn Smith said...

Sorry about your loss, and Bruce's family's loss. It's crazy how randomly these things can happen. It sounds like he was a great guy who touched a lot of people.

Diane Severson said...

Thanks everyone for your condolences. Yes, it's a sad thing, but would we all have learned this lesson we learned from him otherwise? Not sure, but I think I would have preferred to wait to find out.