In my Mother’s Day Blog you may recall that I interviewed two of my dearest friends. Both women have lost a child, yet through their adversity and remarkable strength, have found ways to honor and remember their sons. Today I honor Collin.

“It was not my choice to survive without you…so I chose to live and to honor you. I am still standing.”

In upstate NY we’ve finally said goodbye to winter! Colorful blossoms have marked the arrival of spring with the promise of summer just around the corner. My friend, Jude Murray, lives in a neighborhood that showcases this season so beautifully.

As I turn down her tree-lined street, I’m greeted with hand waves from long time residents out raking their lawns and planting bulbs. Plentiful beds of tulips and daffodils, along with magnolia and crab apple trees, are in peak bloom. A diverse yet cohesive group, the “hood” is filled with folks who are proud of their homes and offer an abundance of community support. There’s a certain charm that generates a warm feeling here.

While pulling into the driveway, I glance to my left to see the most breathtaking tree of all. A weeping cherry stands out in the spring landscape. Its slender branches gracefully“weeping”, barely touch the ground.

The spectacular bloom of pink flowers are dazzling, making the purpose of the tree even more memorable. A tree that was recently planted stands proud and tall to honor the loss of their son, Collin Murray.

The Murray’s, a family of traditional Irish decent has called Binghamton their home for decades. As proud parents they encouraged their boys, Collin and Jordan to be independent and strive to do their best in school as well as athletics.


The Weeping Cherry Tree

Jordan & Collin, Brothers & Best Friends
There was no option when it came to parental authority, yet so was the special parent-child bond they had with each of their sons. Jude and Dan felt that family played a major role in their day to day lives, including extended family and friends. The homestead was an invitation for people to gather. The value of longevity and loyalty among folks was role modeled by the parents. There was an understanding that the binding of people in friendship would help their children define and realize a meaningful life. To this day, their example played a major part in the lifetime friendships that Collin & Jordan would create.

The years passed and on May16th, 2015 Collin would graduate from college with an impressive 4.0 GPA. His quickness and speed earned him a spot on the school’s lacrosse team. In addition the talented senior was awarded a coaching position at a local high school. With a degree in Criminal Justice and Political Science his career in law enforcement would start soon.

Just a week before graduation all of this would change for Collin and for his family. It was Mother’s Day when Jude received a call that no parent could ever prepare for. Collin’s life was unexpectedly taken due to a tragic drowning accident. The intense grief and sadness was something never expected or experienced.

Over the days, weeks & months ahead it was the support of relatives & friends who sustained the family. Regular food deliveries nourished the body and the soul. Like magic, the lawn was mowed and the trash taken out. There was no task that was too big or too small.

Cards and flowers arrived, and often hugs came without words. The most comforting were stories people shared with the family about Collin. Friends gathered embracing the joys and the sorrows which helped prevent isolation and loneliness.

One of Collin’s favorite quotes was: “Life Isn’t About Finding Yourself, Life Is About Creating Yourself.” Clearly this exceptional young man had made a positive difference in the lives of so many people that his legacy would never be forgotten.

“When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.”

On August 15th, 2015 Collin’s brotherhood of lifelong friends hosted the first “Collin Murray Memorial Golf Tournament.” This group of comrades expected and endured the good and the bad. Rites of passage-marriage, births, deaths or other important milestones-were honored together.

At the first tournament, Collin’s competitive side came alive with a sell out competition that continues yearly. From the shotgun start to the thrill of the first tee and the five foot putts, the event brings Collin’s friends and family together. Traveling near and far, his life is remembered and celebrated while raising money for a very good cause.

Collin’s brotherhood of friends planting the Weeping Cherry Tree
Thanks to the generosity of family and friends, tournament proceeds award scholarships to graduating seniors from Collin’s high school. Candidates are asked to write a short essay on the topic “Family, Friends & Community” and what this means to them. Submissions are read and selected by the family. The responses from recipients has been humbling and touching.
Jordan and Jude
A top priority and of utmost importance to Jude & Dan was to keep their eldest son in the forefront. “Jordan deserves a good and happy life.”

Happiness has continued with the recent marriage of Jordan to his beautiful wife Emily! The newlyweds have purchased a home, adopted a dog and are a blessing to both families!

On the day after Collin left, a single yellow tulip was spotted in an inconspicuous place in the backyard. It’s mystique appearance was the topic of discussion as well as the flower was Collin’s favorite color.

Within a few days this wondrous oddity disappeared completely, never graced by its presence again. Often our loved ones will send these signs to let us know they’re alright and will be forever with us.

A “message” from Collin

Like the return of the weeping cherry tree with every spring, Collin’s legacy will continue on, inspiring us all to “create ourselves” while here on this earth.”

Blessings to all of my readers,

Kathy Ann Corse

For more information on The Annual Collin Murray Memorial Scholarship Fund go to:

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