My Brother, My Buddy
Thank you for visiting this special and near to my heart web page. February 28, 2002, marks a very important milestone. It is the day my brother would have been 60. This is but a glimpse of my brother, our relationship, his death, and how I dealt with the grief of losing someone who was the world to me.
The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book Power Walk: Finding Supernatural Power in Everyday Life. This is my tribute to my brother, Bob Collins.
I've always said that my brother's life and mine paralleled in many ways. We were both free spirits, chased our dreams, outspoken, adventurous, lived life to the fullest, and cherished our solitude.
He was 16 years older than me, and I adored him. We clung to each other for several reasons. We were always there for each other through all of life's ups and downs. We were buddies, pals. He was very protective of me and worried about me all the time, after all, that was in his job description as a big brother.
I could understand that. I didn't have the "normal" job, or the "normal" life. I've always gone down my own road. He had done the same thing in his career being the disc jockey gypsy before landing his gig at a big station in Chicago.
That's where he finally found his niche. And he did bloom! He was #1 for over two decades. His star was shining very brightly. I was so proud of him! All that and he was still my Buddy.
Even though the world knew him as Bob Collins, or "Uncle Bobby," I always called him Buddy. He was still, more than anything, my big brother. We always remained close. I knew I could count on him for those warm fuzzies and big bear hugs. We were each other's rock in life. Yeah, he was known to say that I was one gutsy lady.
I had been through some pretty tough times and had landed in Minneapolis. It was a rough road getting back on my feet, but I had discovered my strength of spirit and strength of faith. I was truly a new (and improved) creature.
When Buddy would call we would chat about everything. At one point he started asking me about my faith, God, the meaning of life things like that. We talked in depth about so many intimate things. He would also ask, in that voice of concern, "How are you, really?"
I kept telling him I was fine. I was and getting better and stronger every day. He flew in to have dinner with me on my 40th birthday, and was surprised at how good I looked. What he was seeing was my spirit beginning to bloom. He still did the big brother worrying.
The last time I spoke with him was after I had written a book and it had come out two weeks before. He had read it it was a real and tangible thing. Something I could actually make a "respectable" living doing. I've always loved writing, just never thought of writing a book.
Anyway he, again, asked, "How are you doing, really?" I asked him if he remembered when he came to Chicago, and he said "yeah." And how he was just kind of so-so about being there another job, another town kind of thing. Another "yeah." Then how he began to embrace Chicago and Chicago embraced him. "Yeah." And now how he loves Chicago and Chicago loves him. This is his town and he couldn't imagine being anywhere else in the world. This "yeah" was a big "you're right about that!"
"Well," I said, "that's how it is with me being in Minneapolis. There are a lot of doors opening for me, I love my church, and I've got great friends, a great neighborhood. This is where God placed me and I'm doing really well. I get up, go to the gym, go to the barn, come home and start my day writing. Life is good. Finally, it's good to be me!" We laughed, chatted some more and ended with "I love you" and plans to see each other soon.
At the end of that conversation I felt such an overwhelming sense of peace from him. I remember sitting there for a few minutes after we hung up thinking that he truly (finally) understands and will stop worrying about me.
Looking back, that phone conversation was such a gift because it occurred just a few days before he left us.
I was getting ready to go to a class at my church and had the TV on. I was putting my jacket on and leaning down to turn the TV off when I heard my brother's name, "Bob Collins " on the news and saw a picture of the remains of a small airplane that was being lifted off the roof of a building. My world stopped. My heart exploded I ran to call my sister-in-law to ask what it was that was on the news.
On February 8, 2000, there was a mid air crash with two small planes. Buddy was piloting one of them. There were no survivors. My heart broke when I heard the news.
It was like a knife going through my heart a deep physical pain in my chest. Oh, how I wanted it to be some kind of mistake.
I couldn't sleep that night. I kept crying and praying. "God, please hold me, I need your arms around me. And God, more than that I need your arms around my brother."
God gave me a wonderful dream/vision then. There was a lot to the dream but in the end I looked up and saw my brother. He looked gorgeous. He had a full head of hair, was trim, about 20 years younger in the prime of his life he was so handsome, and happy. He was looking at me, smiling and waving saying, "I'm OK." He was also standing in front of the right side of God.
That gave me a calm and a sense of peace. I knew my brother was OK. I also then understood the dream I had had about a week prior to this.
I had dreamt I was getting married and my sister-in-law was there, but not my brother. When I woke up I was a bit unsettled. I couldn't figure out why my brother wouldn't be at my wedding. I now think that was one of God's ways of preparing me for what was to happen. That and our last phone call. There was nothing left unsaid between my brother and I. I know how much he loved me, and he knew how much I loved him, always.
Knowing all of that doesn't keep the tears of grieving away. That is all a part of being human. My heart was broken in that I wouldn't have my brother here in the flesh. My spirit was thrilled to know my brother was with God.
On the day before the funeral service I got sick to my stomach and lost what little I had eaten. I know it was stress and emotional overload. I was staying at my brother's house, which was full of people. I was missing my brother terribly. This was one of those times when he would have had his arms around me making sure I was OK. I went to sit on the back stairs by the garage. I could hear everyone in the kitchen. I just wanted to get out of there, but there was nowhere to go and no way to get there.
While sitting there I started to pray. I needed a hug. Then I felt the presence of my brother right next to me. I could see him in the spirit he was next to me and put his arm around me. I, again, was filled with a sense of peace and calm.
The next day was the funeral service. There were mounted police lining the streets and the bagpipe marching band was leading the hearse to the church. The service was beautiful. There was laughter and tears. There were thousands of people that showed up it was very overwhelming for me.
As we left the church and watched the coffin being put back into the hearse the bagpipes began to play Amazing Grace. It was hard to maintain what little composure I had. My parents and I got back into our limo. The driver had the radio on in the background. The song on the radio brought back a flood of memories, and I smiled.
About 15 years ago when CDs were replacing records, my brother decided to make a compilation tape of his favorite songs. He got out all his very favorite records and played disc jockey in the living room. His all-time, hands down, favorite song in the world was the 14 minute version of "Papa was a Rollin' Stone" by the Temptations. When we got into the limo "Papa was a Rollin' Stone" was the song on the radio.
That is so God! Always making sure his kids have what they need. That song was just for me. For comfort, for the smile it brought to my face and for the wonderful memory it brought to mind of that magical day in the living room. More proof that my brother is still watching out for me.
I have come a long way in my spiritual development in the past several years. My strength of faith and love of (and in) Christ have grown with deep roots. In my heart and in my spirit I see beyond this earthly place to where my brother now lives. My heart and spirit are calm and at peace in this knowledge. I know my brother will be the first one to greet me with one of his big bear hugs when my time comes to join him.
However, here in the flesh, I miss him so much. Sometimes I will be in mid sentence and just start to cry. My heart broke that day. It comforts me to know that even Jesus wept when his good friend Lazarus died. I've wept buckets.
When I pray I don't ask God "why?" I thank God for the privilege of having had this man in my life. I would not be the person I am today if he hadn't been my brother. There is no telling where I would have ended up without his influence. We learned a lot from each other, and we had a lot of fun! His trademark was his laugh and there was a reason for that!
God places people in our lives, as He knows we need them. God prepares and equips us in life to walk through what we need to walk through. God has perfect timing in all things. God is the God of love, and healing and restoration. God has strengthened me in the spirit and opened the eyes of my heart. He has prepared me for this loss as best as possible. If this had happened a few years earlier, it probably would have pushed me over the edge.
That is the power of God. He walks with me every step of the way, holds me when I cry and comforts me with the knowledge and presence of His spirit. God does have His arms around me, and more importantly has His arms around my brother.
Oh, how I praise God, and love God and thank God for the gift He gave me by placing my brother in my life. Additionally, for the life God gave my brother. My brother lived a very full life, he truly did it all and went out at the top of his game he would have it no other way. That was God's gift to him.
Then there is my soul-felt grief. In light of, and in spite of, the fact is in my spirit I know that my brother is OK. My soul grieves deeply for him. Grief is an odd thing. It is different for everyone and hits people at different times. About two weeks after I returned home from Chicago it hit me so intensely I didn't know if I could make it through the night.
I had a meeting with a lady about marketing my first book. She had a strategy mapped out as to media and speaking engagements. When I arrived home from the meeting what hit me was reality; the reality was that I would normally call my brother and ask him about this kind of thing since he was very familiar with all the media stuff. Only he wasn't there for me to call.
That was the point when I wandered around the house, not wanting to sit, not wanting to go out, and just pacing. It was like an out of body experience. Then I fell on the couch and lost it. I was crying uncontrollably and felt as though I couldn't breathe. There was a pain so deep in my soul, piercing my side. It felt as though someone was cutting my insides out. I had lost the only family member, aside from my Grandmother, who had been my support, my rock, and my shoulder. He was my big brother. Now I was all alone.
I kept repeating, "Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death thy rod and staff they comfort me. You will not leave me or forsake me or leave me an orphan." It was my mantra, my prayer and my plea. My mind was in a dangerous place and I would not go down that road. I had to keep my focus on the love of my Lord and Savior. He promised not to leave me an orphan. It felt as though I was slipping away.
The void in my heart was tearing me up. I wanted to go be with my brother. I wanted to go be with God. I wanted to go to sleep and have God take me to be with Him. Then a dear friend of mine called me and talked me through some of this. She is truly my sister in Christ. God knew I needed to hear what she had to say. I told her I would be all right and that I wanted to take a long hot bath. The bath did help.
When I climbed into bed she called again asking if I wanted her to pray with me. Yes, oh, yes. I was at such a loss for what to pray or how to pray at this point. She prayed for comfort from the Holy Spirit, and strength and love. While she was praying God was speaking to me. He told me I had much to do here on earth. He told me He would protect me. He infused me with His spirit of peace and love in my heart. He did hold me in His arms that night, and I actually got a good night's sleep all the way through.
He is my strength. I have no idea how people survive this life without God in their heart, or without the blood of Jesus in their spirit.
When I got up the next morning I looked so bad I barely recognized myself. But my spirit was on the mend. I knew I would be all right. God had infused me with a renewed spirit of peace and love; He had given me a new strength for the day. For the first time in weeks I didn't have to force myself to go to the barn, which has always been my refuge.
Even God grieves the death of one of His children. Although I grieve the death of my brother I do not embrace the spirit of grief. I know there will be times when emotion will well up in me. Just as I will remember all the funny times and laugh out loud and tell stories with friends, so too will come the times when I will miss him and tear up.
In my spirit I know my brother is where I too will one day be and he is great! It is my soul, my mind, will and emotions that will selfishly miss him. And with a big sigh, a smile full of hope and promise, a heart full of love and peace, I go forward in my life as I have much to do.
© 2002-2012 Saga Stevin. All rights reserved.