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The sight of her mangled remains, kept unrefrigerated for more than a week, he said, would not be a good last memory of my sister. As we rang round my sister’s wide circle of friends, we were amazed to learn how many of them she had visited in her last days in England, almost as if she knew she might be seeing them for the last time.
Even more amazing was to find on the desk of her London flat a four-page document beginning: ‘If anything should happen to me when I am in Thailand’.
Each was dominated by the vision of a giant rose, radiating light.
At the end, she said she did not wish to be buried.
She was an insatiable traveller and had several times driven alone behind the Iron Curtain around Eastern Europe We obeyed to the letter the instructions my sister had left as to what should be done with her ashes.
Half were to be buried next to her sister’s grave in our Dorset churchyard, a quarter were to be scattered round the hills where she had enjoyed riding her horse.
The remainder she wanted to be taken to Austria, to be thrown into the river Danube where it curves round a bend between Vienna and the great abbey of Melk — places she had loved while working in Vienna, which had given her some of the happiest times of her life.
The next year, my mother and I flew out to Vienna to do exactly that, with a group of her friends from that city, on a glorious October day — culminating in a climb to the summit of the Vienna Woods, then at their autumnal best, looking down on the vista far below.