The lives of Hannah Clarke and her children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4, and Trey, 3, have been celebrated a joined funeral service this morning.
They were laid to rest in a single shared coffin, as hundreds of mourners gathered to remember and farewell the family who were brutally murdered last month.
Photographs of the family were shown on large screens in the auditorium as friends and family gave readings and shared memories of the family.
Fiona Cunningham, a family friend, opened the service saying the occasion was to “celebrate Hannah and her children’s lives and honour their memory”
We are drawn here by our common love. our common respect, and our common grief and sadness.
“This is an occasion for sorrow, but may the occasion not be wasted trying to make sense of why we are here,” she said, “but rather may it be one where we are thankful for the gift of life and that our lives intersected theirs in some way.”
Hannah’s brother Nat remembered her as “one of the greatest mums to walk this Earth” and as their father’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’.
“There’s too many great stories to tell about you Han, we got to share so many beautiful moments together,” he said.
“It kills me, Han, that there were years we didn’t talk, but I understand that now.”
I only wish there was more time. I’m so sorry I couldn’t protect you Hannah, Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey.
He described his nieces and nephew as reflections of their mum.
Aaliyah as “everything a big sister should be, brave, strong and quite bossy.”
Laianah, a “ratbag, the little middle”, a beautiful, imaginative, caring kid with “so much of Hannah in you.”
And Trey, as “mother’s little man and her best surprise.”
Other speakers included Hannah’s uncle, Ian Adrian, who said for many, “it felt like we had been shrouded in a shroud of darkness,” after the tragedy.
“But it is only when we embrace this darkness that we can see the brightness of the stars shine through and that is what Hannah, Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey are — lights shining through of their generation.”
Lou Farmer, Hannah’s friend remembered her as “the best role model for her daughters; she knew her worth.”
She taught them to stand up and be proud of who you are and if you fail, get back up and give it another go.
Life-long friend Nikki Brooks said it was hard to remember life before the two met as kids. And she would not go a day without thinking about her in the future.
“You had my back and without a shadow of a doubt I would have laid down my life for you and I am so, so sorry I could not protect you,” she said.
“Our lives are forever changed because of you.”
During the service, a group of children placed butterfly stickers on the white coffin.
Family and friends were given bookmarks with words from Hanna’s last social media post before her death. It read:
I am a strong woman, I don’t sit around feeling sorry for myself, nor will I ever let anyone mistreat me again.
I don’t respond to people trying to dictate to me or bring me down.
I am a survivor and not a victim. I am in control of my life and there is nothing I can’t achieve.
Mourners were encouraged to donate to Small Steps for Hannah, the Clarke family’s movement.
Since their death, there have been stronger calls for legislative action, stronger protections for domestic violence victims, and harsher persecutions for domestic violence abusers.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence, help is available:
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
Image Sources: Twitter (@KidSpotSocial, @reardon_shaun)