Miracles do happen indeed. It is our choice whether to open our eyes to see them or not. My life is a series of miracles. But this is not about me. I want to share the miracle that is my oldest brother, Ed.
Ed is quite the family cause celebre at our annual reunion. Young cousins (usually boys) will walk by him with wide open eyes. Occasionally, one of those young men will muster up the courage to approach Ed and ask him “Is it true you’ve been shot in the head twice?” My brother will smile and say “Yes”, then proceed to show his first scar and explain where he was when that one happened. Then he will point out where he was shot the second time and how that one was more serious.
My brother Ed is the oldest of 5 of us from our mother. Though Ed has always been a serious guy, he often shared his love of comic books and Star Trek with the rest of us. When he was old enough to drive, he was given the family Monte Carlo. Then promptly instructed to take us kids to the movies. That was okay with him because Superman had just been released. My brother was a no-nonsense kind of guy so he did not put up with us yelling “shot-gun!”. Nope, we all had to sit in the back seat. We devised a plan that if any of our friends saw us we would just tell them that Ed was our chauffeur. They most likely wouldn’t have believed us since we lived in Pacoima, California at the time.
At a young age, Ed decided he wanted to become a police officer and entered the LAPD Explorer Program. Of course he graduated. That’s just the type of guy he is. Around this time, he witnessed some behavior on the force that was less than ideal. Not deterred, he decided he would become a better cop than what he had seen. My brother was not short on idealism, a trait I admired in him. I still do.
Here is a tidbit that I don’t think all of our outside family even knows about: In 1981, Ed’s first miracle was surviving a motorcycle accident. He and my step-father were broadsided by a truck on their way to work one morning. It was serious. I remember walking 2 miles to Holy Cross hospital to see him and crying with gratitude for his life on my way home.
Because of the damage done to Ed’s leg, it would take years for him to even be considered a candidate for law enforcement. So he took jobs as a chauffeur (had we prophesied this?), a security guard and as a night shift clerk for a gas station. Ed was fearless.
When he was a security guard in Compton, Ca during the 1992 LA riots, he made friends with many of the local police officers. Many would become life-long friends with Ed. My brother assisted them during the riots and also other events. It was at this time that he was shot for the first time.
Ed was working as a security guard at a mall in Compton when he kicked out some gang members who told him they were going to come back and shoot him. Fearless Ed replied “Then you better shoot to kill”! They did. They failed. The bullet struck him just under his cheekbone and went out the back of his head. He was in and out of the hospital within hours.
A few years later, Ed moved to Atlanta, GA. His leg was coming along nicely and he was cleaning up his credit. Many of his friends from the LAPD had sent in letters of recommendation to a law enforcement agency just outside of Atlanta. It looked like his dream was finally happening.
Ed was working the overnight shift at a BP Oil station. He had been robbed once by a guy with a fake gun. Ed pulled out his REAL gun and apprehended the robber. He was told that this guy was a suspect in a series of gas station robberies and given a commendation by the local police department
In July 1994, after dropping my sons off at school I got a phone call. Ed had been robbed again – and again shot in the head. This time the bullet was lodged in his brain and my brother was in a coma. I knew I had to get to Georgia and be there for my brother and of course, for my mom. We did not have any expendable finances but borrowing them and arranging care for my kids was…well miraculously a piece of cake. I was on a plane that evening.
The doctor’s said that it was fortunate that the bullet was from a .22 and Ed’s chances of living were good. How much damage to his brain function was the question.
The thought of my brother’s life having been in the hands of someone who had no value for human life made me indescribably angry. Yet, I had to keep it together. I was there to support my mother. I picked up Ed’s telephone book and began to call his many friends. They were obviously concerned and sad. I remember telling each of them “If I know my brother, he is thinking this very moment that there is no way some dirt-bag with a .22 was going to take his life”. Every one of them laughed and said that is exactly what he would be thinking!
Of course, Ed survived. He is one hard-headed individual and much prayer was spoken on his behalf. There are so many miracles that began the moment that thug entered my brother’s store:
It is a miracle for the robber and Ed, that my brother did not have time to get to his .45, else the guy might be dead and Ed would have had to be the one who had pulled that trigger. It is a miracle that the guy used a .22 and not a larger gun or my brother would be six feet under. It is a miracle that my brother still believes in the right to bear arms and he does so today. It is a miracle that he walks, drives and independently takes care of himself.
Ed loves to pretend that he doesn’t understand something to confuse us. Yeah, he has brain damage, but after hanging with Ed, he might have you wondering if you are the one who had a head injury!
Though Ed’s chances of ever becoming a cop are over, he has a wonderful life. Every time a Marvel Comic is adapted into a movie,I won’t go to see it until I visit him in California. Because those are the movies we watch together.
I am forever grateful to God for the miracle that is my brother. Ah, and gratitude is a good road map to Blissful Living! Stay Blissful My Friends – E