Written by my sister Kris Collins
Hi there, this is Kris Collins, I'm Jamie Collins' sister. Nice to meet you and thank you for reading my own captivating story about Spirit today. I hope you enjoy this as it warms my heart to share Tre's story with you.
Several years ago, I worked as a part-time Children’s Coordinator for my church. I loved my job and had a lot of passion for all the kids I worked with. One of the children I met, Tre, was in middle school at the time and he was having a difficult time adjusting to the challenges of middle school. This is a time when kids are trying to navigate life and the road ahead, as well as themselves and who they are becoming. It can be a challenging time for children.
Tre was bullied in school, and he was at an age when children are their most self-conscious, he hid his hurt and uncertainty through mischievous behavior, and almost obnoxious, personality.
Tre’s home life was non-traditional. We spent many Sundays talking about life, school, and his future. As Tre became older, our interactions decreased, and we eventually lost touch. Tre stopped coming to the church we had bonded within, and due to my busy schedule, I stopped reaching out to him.
Sadly, a couple of months ago, there was a story on the news about a young man, 19-years old, who was at a creek with some friends, taking photos, when he fell in and was swept away by an underwater current. The young man was presumed dead after he never resurfaced. The body was found the following day.
I couldn't have imagined what would come next.
I quickly learned that the young man whom was swept away in the creek that day, was Tre. The amazing young man I had enjoyed spending many hours conversing with. My heart dropped to my stomach. I was stunned, and deeply saddened beyond words. Heartbroken for him and his family.
I immediately began remembering all of my interactions with Tre. Asking myself, how could this have happened to him... Questions no one can ever answer for us.
Tre's family decided to have a beautiful memorial at the creek where Tre's life was cut so unexpectedly short. I was honored to attend in Tre's memory. I was extraordinarily happy to see so many people at the memorial to celebrate Tre's life. Friends and family attended, as well as his High School Drummer Group.
I learned during the memorial for Tre, that he had made the courageous decision to 'come out' to his friends and family. Tre's partner spoke of him lovingly at the memorial. I couldn't have been more proud of Tre in that moment, for living life on his terms, and feeling free and safe to express his identity openly.
It was raining terribly hard that evening and although I had an umbrella, it did no good. It was almost as if the sky was crying for Tre. I was drenched in the downpour. The rain was coming down so hard that I had a fairly difficult time hearing the speakers.
After standing in the pouring rain for about 45 minutes, I decided to go to my car, say a prayer for Tre, his grieving friends and loved ones, and leave.
As I sat in my car, looking back at the crowd, I began talking to Tre as if he were sitting in the car with me right then and there. In that moment, I felt I was with Tre again, advising, encouraging and counseling him.
I began by asking Tre to look at all the people who had come to pay their respects to him. I reminded him of all of the conversations we had about kids teasing him and his belief that many didn’t like him. I told him that of course he has an enormous amount of people who like him, love him and will deeply miss him. I told him he must know it by looking at the crowd standing in the pouring rain crying, laughing, singing, and telling beautiful stories about him.
As I was talking to him about all of the people who showed up for his memorial and our unconditional love for him, all of a sudden, my dashboard lit up. This was impossible since my car was turned off. When I got in the car, I didn’t start it up – I just sat there. Why would my dashboard light up? How could it light up?
I immediately knew it was Tre. I genuinely believe Tre heard me talking to him and was letting me know that he was hearing me and that he was happy with all of the people there for him. The flash of light on my dashboard was quick, but noticeable. I asked Tre if that was him? If he was letting me know that he heard me? But I knew – I knew it was Tre.
I tried talking to Tre some more. I apologized to him. I told him I was sorry that I wasn’t a better friend or adult to him. I told him that I should have done better. I let his behavior dictate my response to him. I should have looked deeper and tried to understand that his behavior was in direct correlation as to what he was feeling inside. I told him I was sorry and that I would do better with other people in which I came into contact. I would not make that mistake again. Suddenly, my dashboard lights flashed again. A second time. My car was still off. No reason or possible imaginable way for the dashboard lights to flicker on and then off. But they did.
After apologizing and pouring my heart out to Tre, I knew it was him. And I knew he was telling me that he forgave me. And I just smiled and said, “Thank you”.
In loving memory of Tre. May his memory be eternal.
Thanks for reading this,
I always tell clients that spirit is around more than we can imagine and can "hear" us when we are speaking to them. This is one example. Please keep the conversation going below. We want to keep Tre's memory alive, feel free to share your own stories below as well.