Column: A life in 60 minutes


Commentary by Donna Monday

We’ve lost some good people in Zionsville in the recent past, and I’ve attended lots of funerals. I go to funerals, not callings. Callings make me nervous. I never know what to say. I don’t have to say much at funerals. I get to sit and listen to stories, the stories of a person’s lifetime. I’ve learned one thing about that last ritual in our honor. It will last about an hour.

Sixty minutes. That’s what we’ve got. One hour. It matters not if we’re rich or poor, young or old, or even how we plan our exit.

It’s all the same. We get 60 minutes to be remembered. What’s amazing is not that the people who loved us will spend exactly one hour commemorating our life, but that one hour will be just the right amount of time. Honest. It’s incredible what can happen in an hour.

It’s such a surprise to see that three hymns, three prayers, three family/friend remembrances and a eulogy will fit into that little space between one number and the next on the face of a clock. That little space also will see tears, laughter and a few resolutions among the attendees.

Sometimes, even the departed makes an appearance. My cherished friend from Bloor Lane, Mary Gillim, sang to us at her funeral through the magic of a simple boom box recording.  It was sweet, eerie and so Mary to do that.

Oftis Burrus, esteemed local lawyer (and, yes, father of Roger, Rex and Max) left a collection of fishing poles he had made. We were invited to help ourselves. Free fishing poles – how poetic, and what a touch of grace and generosity. Mine is in the garage, awaiting spring.

I sort of expected free chocolates at the funeral of George Donaldson, founder with his late wife, Peg, of Donaldson’s Finer Chocolates. Instead, we were all given a Psalm on a strip of paper. How lovely. Sweeter than a truffle. Especially in memory of a man who read the 121st Psalm every day of his life.

Beloved teacher Lillian Potts left behind what teachers always leave behind. People. People who never forget not just the lessons, but the kindness extended to their younger selves. That and a son nearing 50 who admits that he “still can’t end a sentence with a preposition.” Some lessons linger.


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