Friday, April 20, 2012

In Remembrance ...

My younger (half) brother -- Bradley Wayne Collins -- passed away earlier this week at the young age of 26. It is not easy for me to put my thoughts and feelings into words. We didn't see each other often, however, he's still flesh and blood, and that's something that forms a permanent bond no matter how seldom we saw each other.

Bradley was a complex individual -- much like our father -- and he suffered from schizophrenia. I was asked to say a few words at the service on short notice. I quickly scribbled some thoughts together that reflected my feelings towards his death. It wasn't easy to write and and it was even more difficult to deliver, but these were my words ...

By any account, a spoken remembrance of someone is never easy. It's always difficult. The last time I gave one was at our father's funeral service. While my heart was heavy and filled with grief, I did not have a head full of questions. I knew my father, and I knew the path of his life for 35 years by the time of his passing.

I knew my father was gifted ... and I knew he had struggled.

With Bradley, however, I have questions ...

When I received word of his passing last Tuesday, I was speechless.

"Speechless" is an oft-repeated and overused expression, but in this case, I truly was.

I sat quietly for at least 15 minutes trying to make sense of it all.

How could an equally gifted person (as our father), be taken from us?

Why was his time on earth so fraught with struggle?

What could I have done to make a difference?

It's not fair, is it? That Bradley's life could reflect our father's life, but be compressed to a time frame of only 26 years?

Finding solace in the death of a family member and loved one is difficult. But it may be comforting to know that peace has come to two of the most complex minds I have ever known. And that, God willing, they will find each other again ... in heaven.

Rest in peace, Bradley.


  1. Our deepest condolences Mike. Reading this brings a tear to my eye. Please know that you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. You know our door is always open to your family.

  2. I'm very sorry to hear about this Mike. Life definitely has a way of presenting more questions than answers. My condolences to you and your family.