Sandra Gail Collins
October 21, 1954 – October 31, 2020
Sandra Gail Collins, age 66, passed away on the morning of October 31st, while hand in hand with both of her daughters.
As Elvis sang “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus/Nearer My God to Thee” gently in her ear, her gaze slid slowly from their faces towards Heaven and the things of earth grew strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. God’s glory shone upon her face so radiantly, there was no denying she was in His presence. Her expression testified that perfect peace was finally at hand—forever.
For several days in the hospital, Sandy fought valiantly against the ravages of an awful disease just as she had fought to stand after each blow that came in her life. She fought the good fight.
Depression and addiction seemed to have gotten the upper hand in the last few years of her life. But on October 31st, Jesus proved He is victorious- even over the disease of depression and addiction. You see, Sandy confessed Jesus as Lord and was baptized years ago. She began to read the Bible, attend church with her family and grow in her faith. But, a bitter life event seemed to deliver a fatal blow that would send her reeling for many years. However, God did not desert her. He loved her and waited as a loving Father for His prodigal daughter to return and seek His forgiveness. He freely gave it to her the instant she asked.
As a single teen mom, Sandy worked hard her whole life to protect and provide for her two daughters. She often went without so that her daughters (and eventually grandchildren and great-grandchildren) could have the things they needed and sometimes, even a few things they wanted. She was a good mama and did the best she could.
Her home was always filled with the music that she loved. She especially loved Elvis! And her hospital room was filled with those same, old songs in her last days as her daughters held her hand and sang along.
Sandy loved to play softball and was a scrappy competitor who gave 110%. You could usually find her defending third base and batting top of the lineup as she was a sure base hit. She loved to dance and made “the bump” her signature dance-move whether she was in the living room or at a wedding. She had a wry sense of humor- even in the last days of her life.
Sandy was a hard worker and a smart cookie. She taught her daughters to be the same.
She drove them to the new, local McDonald’s as it was still being built and made them go inside and apply for their first jobs. Both daughters were hired, but they would need to buy particular shoes. She went and bought those shoes but required them to repay her from their first paycheck.
Known as “Granny Sandy” by her grandkids. The name Granny started as a joke because Sandy was far too young and pretty to be anyone’s Granny! But, the name stuck. She loved her grandkids unconditionally and accepted them for who they were.
She never missed an opportunity to tell her family and friends how much she loved them. Her love language was giving gifts. She always had gifts ready for every occasion and sometimes “just because”. She packed shoebox gifts for Samaritan’s Purse because she knew what it was like to have very little. She always chose practical gifts to give.
Sandra Gail Collins was human. She was a victim of domestic violence, a complex cycle that many people do not understand. Yet it affects so many in our communities. She experienced many traumatic events and endured many trials throughout her life. She overcame so many setbacks and “the record shows…she took the blows.” She was also a very sensitive soul who, after withstanding so much, just finally got tired and profoundly sad as she fell into a terrible cycle. A cycle that devastates families and fractures relationships. And in the end, was too powerful for her to escape. The last years of her life were tragic for many who knew and loved her. However, this was not the case for most of her life. She was a force. A kind and fun-loving lady who loved big and had a generous heart.
Sandy is survived by her daughters, Angela “Angie” Garrett and Tracey Garrett Watson and husband, James; grandchildren, Matthew Ferrell and wife, Hillari of Wilson, Matthew Watson and wife, Katie of Wilmington, and Shaina Midgett of Bailey; great-grandchildren, Emma, Carter, Jordan, Larkin and Cayden; loving sisters Sharon Smith and Deborah Haynes and husband, Clay of High Point; niece, Pam Brinkley of High Point and her nephew, Rob Smith of Las Vegas.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Winzel “Chopper” and Grace Collins; brothers, Eddie and Gary Collins and sister-in-law, Peggy Collins.
Being sensitive to COVID-19 risks, a private memorial service will be held for the family at Englewood Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on Wednesday, November 11th at 2 p.m. Sandy’s family will soon scatter her ashes at the beach where Sandy loved to relax in the sun and they all enjoyed life together.
The family will treasure condolences, memories and tributes directed to Joyner’s Funeral Home and Crematory at www.joyners.net.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate financial gifts “In Memory of Sandra G. Collins” given to: “The City of Refuge Foundation”, c/o Englewood Baptist Church, 1350 S. Winstead Avenue, Rocky Mount, North Carolina 27804.
Depression affects over 300 million people worldwide, regardless of culture, age, gender, religion, race or economic status. It is one of the most debilitating conditions in the world, with severe depression rated in the same disability category as terminal stage cancer. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. It can permeate every aspect of a person’s life and drastically affect those around them and often results in problems with friends and family and also in the workplace. Depression is the primary reason why someone dies of suicide about every 12 minutes—over 41,000 people a year in the USA. The connection between alcohol and depression is undeniable. Some people drink alcohol in an attempt to cope with their depression. However, it only relieves some of the symptoms temporarily. Ultimately, alcohol serves to worsen depression on a long-term basis because it is a depressant. About a third of those who suffer from major depression have a co-occurring Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). As a person begins to experience financial, career and relationship problems, their depression worsens. This often leads to a damaging cycle of abusing alcohol in an effort to self-medicate symptoms of depression, and the depression worsens due to the continued alcohol abuse. If you recognize this in your own life, please get help. You are not alone. You deserve to get help. Call MentalHelp.net at (866) 367-4489