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Donna's Funeral

Nov 02, 2008 - 10 comments

I don't even know where to start with this.  There is just so much.  Well, first off, Johnny wouldn't let us stay at a hotel and had us at the house.  It was nice being there with the dogs, we were able to help Johnny get ready for the visitation, and I could help clean up a little. Cory even scrubbed a bathroom.  He is good at that stuff.  When we got there we changed and went to the Funeral Home for the visitation.  Donna looked beautiful and very healthy.  Isn't that ironic.  Travis did a beautiful job and her makeup and nail polish were exactly the way she wanted it.  There were flowers everywhere and she didn't think anyone would show up because she didn't have any friends!!!!!  Donna may not have hung out with a lot of people but there were a lot of people that loved Donna.  We were at the visitation from 4:30-8 and the guest registry filled up quickly.  A few cops showed up because Johnny used to work for the police dept.  The music was quiet and soft.  Donnas mother, & two sisters were there as well as Johnny's mother and dad, his daughter, his brother, and various uncles and cousins.  There were numerous people that worked only indirectly with her who came. They all said she had an impact on everyone she met.  The man that was by her side at the end (aside from Johnny) was named Skeeter.  He and his wife Dana know all too well the hardship of loss.  They have lost both of their sons.  They both loved Donna and Johnny and had done some traveling with them.  I spent more time with Dana than Skeeter because she is going through some similar issues, but watching Skeeter interact with others made me realize that it was a good thing he was there with Donna.  He has a very calm, but very funny personality and for him to be so seeminly happy after such horrific losses is a credit to who he is.

The next day the chapel was full for the service.  After a short visitation they closed the curtains and had a short family prayer and last visitation time. Travis came and asked DeWayne and I if we would like to come back and say our last goodbyes before they closed the casket.  It was very hard looking at her like that.  I kept expecting her to pop up and say it was all a joke.  She looked so healthy, like she was just resting.  I had them put in Donna's OvCa pin and told her to tell God know we could use a little extra help. The casket she chose had a hidden drawer and she was able to put some personal mementos in there.  I hope one of these days when the archaeologists are digging around and they find the remains, they will see that pin in the dirt and say, "Hey, look at this. It is a pin from when people used to get cancer. Thank God we found a vaccine for it."  We went back to our seats, but after the service I was very touched when Donna's stepdaughter told me that she had hoped I would come sit with the family.

Donna had belonged to a church but had been visiting a few others and it was actually her best friend Dewayne's minister who performed the service. He had been to visit Donna at her home a couple of weeks earlier and had asked her a lot of questions.  He asked her if she believed in an afterlife and if yes, where she thought she was going: heaven or hell?  She said Heaven. He asked her what she had done in her life that would make her think she would get into heaven.  She started to tell him all the rotten things she had done in her life and he stopped her and said, "If you were standing in front of God and he asked why you should be let in.  What would you say?"  She said she would say that she had given her life to Him a long time ago and she was counting on His promise that He would be there for her if she just believed in him.  She was looking forward to seeing that greatness that was beyond imagination, knowing what it was like to live in the presence of God.  Donna did long for a closer walk with God.  That was obvious in her treatment of others, it was obvious in our talks and it was very evident in the psalms she picked out for the service.

One of the psalms Donna picked was psalm 42.  While it does speak to her yearning to be closer to God it is also significant in other ways, as I am sure you will see from the first line.  I slipped the minister a note with her MH info and told him to take a look at her pictures if he wanted to know more about who Donna was.  I hope she wins that contest even if she is not around to enjoy it.  Oh, for those that don't know, our humble Donna entered a photo contest and she would have told everyone if she won, and she may win yet since it isn't over.
Psalm 42: 1-10

1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One [d] with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
6 My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
8 By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?"
10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?"

She had a friend of hers play a song on the guitar with another friend singing also.  The song was Farther Along.  These are the words and if you would like to hear it you can go to this site.  I too would like to know "why other's prosper, living so wicked year after year".       (Elvis is singing this one)

"Farther Along"

Tempted and tried we're oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long
While there are others living about us
Never molested though in the wrong

Farther along we'll know all about it
Farther along we'll understand why
Cheer up my brother live in the sunshine
We'll understand it all by and by

When death has come and taken our loved ones
It leaves our home so lonely and drear
And then do we wonder why others prosper
Living so wicked year after year

[Repeat Chorus]

When we see Jesus coming in glory
When he comes down from his home in the sky
Then we shall meet him in that bright mansion
We'll understand it all by and by

[Repeat Chorus]
Yeah we'll understand it all by and by

The minister said that:   Donna was always wanting to be a better person and a better Christian.  She understood that no amount of good works were going to get her into heaven though, and she knew that only heartfelt supplication to God and a belief in Jesus as her Savior would do that. Than he read psalm 51: 1-13.

1Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee

Than they played Just As I Am

               Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
sight, riches, healing of the mind,
yea, all I need in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, thy love unknown
hath broken every barrier down;
now, to be thine, yea thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

The graveside service was very short. The minister did say that if Donna were given the choice to come back to all of us and live out the rest of her life that she would not choose to do so.  The place she is in is so wondrous, no one would want to leave it.  He than said a prayer and than she was gone.

Johnny wasn't up to hosting anything at his home so he had set up a get together at the Elks Club.  Johnny and Donna had spent a lot of time there and they did a nice job. I would have loved to have been there the night Donna got a little tipsy and jumped on the stage and started singing.  Our shy, quiet Donna.  A friend who owns another bar actually brought all the food and it was nice to visit with Donna's friends and family. Hearing stories about Donna I ended up smiling as much as I was crying.
As close as I felt to Donna before going down there I felt even closer afterwards. Starting at the visitation EVERYONE came up to me and said things like, "You must be Jan. Donna talked about you all of the time". Her MIL was in a wheelchair and she had them push her over to me and she said, "I want to thank you for being there all of the time for our Donna.  She showed off the pictures of your garden and she was so tickled with your hat garden. If she hadn't had you to talk to all day, I think she would have given in to depression."  Her step daughter was in tears when she came up to me and said, "Donna talked about your hats so I knew you had to be you. She loved you so much and she said she never could have gotten through this without you and the other ladies from the forum.  She loved "watching" your garden grow, because she was unable to do hers this year."  Turns out there were only two people at that funeral who didn't know who I was before I got there. She told everyone she could about Cory & I going down to visit and how much she wished we could do it again.  How we text messaged every night. She showed anyone that would look all of my pictures on MH. It was overwhelming.  To be the kind of person that someone like Donna Marshall would want to tell other people about is just about the coolest, most fulfilling thing I can think of.   I have never felt so honored.

When we went back to the house to change and pack we saw a bunch of deer in the woods across the street.  There were at least six, but some went into the dark shadows where you couldn't see them well.  I did not have the camera of course, so I took some pictures on my cell phone.  They are on my photos.  You can see 3 or 4 in each shot.  It was like they were looking for her.  All in all it was a very fitting tribute to the life of Donna Marshall.

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483733 tn?1326798446
by TrudieC, Nov 07, 2008
What a beautiful service for a beautiful woman.  I'm so glad you were there to experience it and to then come here and share it with us.  It is a strange feeling on the forum.  Her presence is still felt but her absence is so apparent.  

329994 tn?1301663248
by lvfrogs, Nov 07, 2008
Oh, Jan, this was so nice of you to post this. It must have taken forever and alot of time to type, Thank You!!! Thank you for the links to the songs also.  It sounds like a beautiful tribute to Donna and you have made me feel like I was there. How nice that Donna was able to share her friendship with you with the others in her life. So much so, that they knew who you were. Very special. I want to share something. I hope it will be ok. The other day when I clicked on the picture of Donna that you have on your page (the one we talked about where she looks so beautiful), when I went to close off, it wouldn't let me. It happened 3 times. While I was looking at her picture, I felt her presence.  

Avatar universal
by vegas2cr, Nov 07, 2008
The service sounded just what Donna would have wanted.  I am so happy you could recount for us as I could literally see through your words...
I know I have seen Donna in the stars.. In costa Rica we have a glorious sky in evening.. and I know she was there... R

378425 tn?1305628294
by dawnlyn, Nov 07, 2008

Your account of Donna's funeral was beautifully written...What a wonderful tribute to a special friend.   As Ronni says above it is like you can go beyond your words.......I too am reminded of Donna every time I see a deer she has made an impact on all of our lives.....I will miss her..........Thank you Jan.

Love Dawnlyn

106886 tn?1281291572
by Mary 53, Nov 07, 2008
Thank you, Jan. As Dawnlyn said, what a beautiful tribute. And, what a feeling you must have had when you left for home. Can you even try to describe it?

Love, Mary

356929 tn?1246389756
by Sandymac, Nov 07, 2008
Jan, thank you so much for sharing such a moving experience. Yes, her presence is still felt on this forum. She will not be forgotten. Again thank you .


Avatar universal
by cirella, Nov 10, 2008
Jan, thank you for sharing this.  


408163 tn?1242949501
by Laney8463, Nov 10, 2008
That is so beautiful. It is a truly impressive service for a trully impressive woman. Her Christian beliefs and outlook on life are so evident through this. Thank you for sharing it. It is very moving, yet sad.

225036 tn?1294509400
by fungirl1011, Nov 10, 2008
Jan, thank you so much for taking the time to sharing this with us.  It was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman.  Love ya, Kasie

354706 tn?1279470795
by PinkTissue, Nov 11, 2008
Your account of Donna's funeral is truly beautiful. I am glad that you have taken the trouble to share this touching moment for us. Thank you.

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