A Tribute to Trey Robert Freeman…my hero!

I am writing this on an airplane on my way home from a mission trip. There is so much in my heart and on my mind, and I am trying to process it all. One thing I have recently been overwhelmed with though, is the pain and suffering so many are experiencing in this world. I have wept several times on this long flight as I think of family, friends, people I met in this mission trip, and people I don’t even know who are hurting. I hurt deeply with and for them. Oh how I hate to see people suffer and long for the New Heaven and New Earth.

As I write this though, my heart just feels an indescribable pain. I grieve for so many. I hurt for people who have lost loved ones, people enduring sickness, couples who are struggling in their marriages, children who have been abandoned, and on and on…and this pain I feel has only been amplified by my own pain and grief due to the loss of my son, Trey. It is a pain I have grown accustomed to and have had to learn how to live with these past 2 1/2 years.

I was reminded of a powerful truth a few days ago though, which is that so much of life in a fallen world is about enduring trials, not escaping them. I am living, or perhaps better said, seeking to live this truth…and by the sheer grace of God, I am learning how to endure daily. I do think that enduring trials may be the hardest thing to do on this earth though. I am praying for so many who are suffering or grieving to have the strength to persevere. As James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who endures, for when he endures, he will receive the promised crown of life.” Christians know that we are only passing through this life, and that something better awaits us, but truly, the process of “passing through” can still be extremely difficult.

Now, it is true that everyone heals and deals with pain differently, but, it is important to find ways to “cope” with grief/trial/suffering. One way I deal with my grief is through writing. Typing out my thoughts is very helpful to me. As I sit here on this plane…thinking, praying, believing, remembering, hoping, etc…I wanted to write down a few good things about my son. The hurt I feel has caused me once again to think of how much I love my son, Trey, and how special he was and still is to me. So…I decided to write down some things that I love about him…and I just thought the world should know how great he truly was :-).

Truly, I will say though, there are not enough words to even begin to describe all that Trey means to me, nor are there words to adequately express all the incredible attributes Trey displayed…but I wanted to write a few things down about him that are very special to me. If you are a fellow griever, I pray these reflections will cause you reflect on the ones you love, and perhaps encourage you to keep pressing on and enduring. So, here is a short tribute to my son and hero, Trey.

“Trey Robert Freeman makes everything better.” That is a phrase I have always said. Let me explain though. Just one look in Trey’s big, beautiful eyes and dimple-filled smile was enough to absolutely change everything about my day. Trey’s very presence simply had a way of making everything better for me. Even as I am typing this, I am smiling. I am remembering pulling into my driveway from work, where he would be playing, and he would ALWAYS run up to me and hug me and tell me how much he missed me. I could be having the worst possible day, but one look at Trey changed it all. He just had a way of making everything all better. Oh how I long to feel his embrace again and look into his eyes and see him smile. One day, one day…

And then there was his cute little voice, incredible smile, and infectious laugh. Trey was the kind of kid you wanted to get laughing because his smile and laugh lit up the room. Trey could make anyone smile because he was so stinking cute. When we were going through pictures trying to decide which ones to use for the funeral slideshow, we had such a hard time narrowing them down. Why? Because Trey never took a bad picture. His smile was so natural and beautiful. Anyone who met Trey loved him…he just drew them in because of his warm, loving, beautiful countenance. I used to always say, “I wanted another girl, but with Trey, God gave me a pretty boy.” I will NEVER forget his smile and cute little expressions. Oh how I long to see his smile and hear him laugh again. One day, one day…

And then there was his personality. Trey did not lack personality. Yes, he could be shy with some, but with his family and friends, he was a true bright spot. The things he would say and do were simply hilarious. We have countless stories of all the funny things Trey said and did. Whether it was recording himself singing, saying long and descriptive prayers, telling jokes, dancing in the living room, etc…his personality was bigger than life. There was a joy and sweetness and humor and warmth in him that just drew you close to him. You may have only known Trey for 5 minutes, but that is all it would take for you to fall in love with him. Even in the hospital for all those days, he never lost his incredible sense of humor and love for life. Every doctor, nurse, and person entering his hospital room fell in love with him. I simply cannot wait to be with Trey in the New Heaven and New Earth. One day, one day…

One of my favorite things about Trey was his incredible enduring spirit. When I think back on all that Trey went through, I simply cannot believe the way he handled things. He was given the name “Super Trey” because of the strength his displayed day after day. Yes, he was not perfect, but he endured so well. I will never understand all that was going on in his body, or fully know how the disease affected him, but I know this, Trey fought with a confidence and a bravery I can only hope to have a fraction of. God gave Trey incredible strength. He went through so many things, and any one of them would have been enough to make most people want to give up, but not Trey…he never gave up. We truly always believed Trey would get better, simply because he just kept rising above whatever came his way. His enduring, persevering spirit still grips my heart each day. Oh how I want to be like him. I can’t wait to see him whole and healed. One day, one day…

Trey was also very thoughtful. He often did not want to receive things or gifts without others getting things too. He was conscientious and considerate. He loved to share, and often let others have things or their way, instead of him getting what he wanted. He got to a place in the hospital where he couldn’t do all the things he used to do, and he would just sit and enjoying watching others do what he used to enjoy doing. Whether it was watching his brothers play a video game or watching his sisters read or work puzzle or paint, he got joy watching them do what they enjoyed. He rarely complained…which is just amazing to me. Emily would tell me that even in the night in the hospital, he would do everything he could not to wake her up because he wanted her to sleep well. He would often get sick or have problems and call the nurse on his own and try not to awaken Emily. Oh how thoughtful he was!

One thing I will NEVER forget though, is the one time Trey did not want me to come see him when he was getting chemo. I said, “Why buddy? I want to be with you.” He said, “Because I don’t want you to see me getting hurt.” Trey didn’t want me to hurt!!! Can you believe that? He was 6 years old when he said that. He had a maturity that was well beyond his years and a thoughtfulness few exhibit. Oh how I long to see him running and jumping and doing all he wanted to do, but couldn’t. One day, one day…

Without question though, what I celebrate the most about little Trey, was his deep faith. Trey accepted Christ, as genuinely as I have ever seen anyone do, as a six year old on January 8, 2013. Yes, I know he was six, but you can ask anyone who knew him if they saw a change in his life after accepting Christ, and each person will say, “Without question.” Trey trusted deeply in his “Boss,” Jesus Christ. Trey loved to hear Bible stories, write Bible verses, watch Bible movies, and tell everyone about his spiritual birthday. Trey never worried about death or had any anxiety about his situation…he simply faced each day with a simple and sincere faith in his Savior. His faith inspires me to this day. I so loved to hear him pray. His prayers were real…his prayers were sincere…his prayers were earnest. He had a real relationship with God and it was beautiful to see. What is interesting is that Trey came to Christ in the midst of his deepest suffering and struggle. His trial did not cause him to resist God, or get angry at God…it caused him to look to and trust in God. I often say that if the only reason for Trey’s trial was for him to find Christ, then it was worth it! I would much rather him live a short life for the Lord and have eternity with his Savior, than to live a long life for himself and spend eternity separated from God. Trey trusted Christ deeply and now is in His presence forever!!! Oh how I long to see him walking with His Savior. One day, one day…

Trey Robert, your daddy loves you. There are so many more things I could say about you buddy, but these specific things were on my heart today. Thank you for inspiring me!. Thank you for making me want to be better in every area of my life. Thank you for always making me feel so special…for loving me, snuggling with me, playing Bey Blades, and action figures, and wrestlers with me, for being the all-time best Freeman family kick-ball pitcher, for loving your brothers and sisters and mom so well, for laughing and smiling and singing and loving life…thank you for always making things better. Thank you for all those things and SO MUCH more. I thank God everyday for the time I had with you and look forward to eternity with you buddy. You will forever be the Trey-man, my hero, and I will love you every second of my life until I see you again. I love you so much son! You made me so proud. I know I will see you soon. One day, one day…




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