A window inside life at Augustana College

In Memory of Corrine Jeffries-Conway 4/20/11

It’s crazy how a year can feel like yesterday, because even though I woke up this morning at 6:30am to register for senior year classes, or the fact that all the other stresses of the week were still there; all I could think about was a year ago today you passed away. So while working out this morning, when the third song on my ipod was the one I sang at your funeral, tears came to my eyes and immediately changed it.

You see all I could think about was the call I got last year the night before you died. I knew you were weak, and I knew things weren’t good, so when I looked down at my phone and saw you cellphone number come up I was really surprised. So in the middle of me yelling at my fraternity brothers to pay their dues, I picked up my phone and walked into out into the hallway. I was in no way prepared for our phone conversation, and when I hung up my head could not comprehend the fact that you were requesting I sing a song at your funeral. I stood there not knowing what to do or think, the only thing I could think about was how fragile your voice sounded, and how tired you must have been. Then instantly thinking there was no way I would be able to sing this song, regardless of the fact I had never heard it before.

I stood there kind of almost forgetting where I was, and then realized I was sitting on a weight bench. I went to change the song again, and it was as if I heard you say “go back to that one” so I shuffled back to it and began to listen to it. After hearing the first line of the song, “I was in a tunnel and couldn’t see the light,” I was reminded of the true message of the song and why you wanted it sung at funeral. This song was your testimony, it conveyed and said everything you couldn’t, because you were too weak, or didn’t know how to put it into words. Every time someone asked if you were okay, or how you were feeling, the words of that song explained and summed up your entire battle with breast cancer.

I remember listening to the song that night in my dorm room, after talking to you and crying because i just didn’t understand. The following day I got the phone call about your transition into heaven, and listened to the song again. It wasn’t until then, I truly understood what the song meant to you. Every verse talked about a struggle and a battle, going through pain and suffering, all of which I know you endured. But at the end of each verse the chorus reads, “The storm is over now, And I can see the sunshine, somewhere beyond the clouds, I feel Heaven, Heaven is over me, Come on and set me free.” That’s when I knew that you were prepared for what had happen, and in the end death nor cancer could defeat your spirit.

I take great comfort in knowing, you were ready to die, even if you didn’t want to. That in your death, also came an end to your suffering and battle with cancer. I also take pride in the fact you trusted me to share this song with the rest of the family, an honor I will always carry with me. However the number one thing I hold with me, is knowing at the end of our conversation I said, “I love you” and you replied “I love you too.” Unconditional love never truly dies!

Rest in God Corrine Jeffries-Conway 4/20/11

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