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A Sister's Love and Loss of Three Brothers

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
August 23, 2023 3:04 am

A Sister's Love and Loss of Three Brothers

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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August 23, 2023 3:04 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Edie Hand tells us the story of her brothers, the Blackburn boys, and the tragedy that struck not once, but three times. 

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And we continue with our American stories, and now we bring you the story of Edie Hand, a friend of ours whose life was shaped by both a lot of love, but as you're about to hear, a whole lot of loss.

Here's Edie. It was a setting in northwest Alabama, just like in a novel. A sister's love for these three young boys, David, Terry and Phillip. Every afternoon after school, we would get off our school bus and run inside and get us a doodad cookie and head to the barn. I would saddle up my horse. My horse was named Trigger, and I named it Trigger because of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. David would saddle up his horse named Spotted Clown because he loved the long ranger and tanto. And then Phillip, now he saddled up his horse. He had a little Shetland pony, and he named his horse Polly because he was in love with our Avon lady. And then there was Phillip. He was just too small to have his own horse, so I would throw him on the back with me. We would head to the Indian mounds, and on our property we had about 40 acres, and we would get to the top of the mounds.

And it was really a wonderful place to lie down, let the horses wander around, and we would start talking about our dreams. Now, David, he was going to be a race car driver. He was a great talker, and he was really funny. He would turn his hat around backwards, and he would get his pocket knife out and start cutting holes in his hat all the time, making them bigger, and pull his pearls through it. And he would pick up a pine cone and start saying, oh, here comes Ruth Magoo down the road. He has one kid.

No, I believe there's four, maybe five. Ruth had rather large arms, and she had one hanging out the side of the window, and she was smoking a cigar. So we just had a field day with Ruth Magoo. And then there was Phillip. He was really kind of shy, and he felt like he just didn't know how to get involved with people, but he loved music.

And my mother's brothers were singers and songwriters, and we come from the history of the late Elvis Presley of that family on our grandmother's side. So he says, I think I'm just going to grow up and be a songwriter and maybe drink a little whiskey, because that seems to get all the girls coming around. So we said, oh, well, whatever, you know, he was going to do. But I learned from him about seizing moments in life, and he was that way. He tried to seize moments if it was playing football, if he were up to bat for a baseball game. He wanted to be the best he could be, always practicing to be the best and seize every moment of something that could be great, not good.

And then there was Terry. I think I learned the most about life from him. He taught us about courage. He wanted to grow up and become an architect, because our dad's dad was a builder, and he built buildings and homes. And Terry said he was going to grow up and be a big architect.

He wanted to build all kinds of skyscrapers, buildings. And we said, wow, we barely can say the word, but you're going to do this? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So it was kind of cool to hear everybody share what they were going to do, and they would say, so, Edith, what are you going to do?

Well, I'm going to write about other people, and I'm going to be a movie star. And they went, oh, sure, well, we're going to visit you in your mansion one day, OK? And so we teased each other, and our mother, her name was Sue, but her mother had named her Ripple Sue, so we would call her Rip Dip, which she hated. So when we were on the Indian mounds, and Rip Dip would get really loud, but when she was about the fifth or sixth time, Edith, David, Terry, Phillip, come home and eat. Well, I said, boys, let's get up.

It's time to go home. Rip Dip's on her last scream, you know, so we would know to mount up, get those horses back to the barn to go have dinner. But it was a wonderful way of growing up in these simpler times. But I guess I just didn't realize that what was happening in my life and what I was learning from them, it was my only time that I was going to have with them because they would die young.

David died at the age of 19 in a car accident. I was a senior in college. I was devastated. At that particular time in my life, he was my best friend, and he was the most important man in my life.

So it took me a year just to kind of get back into the groove of life. And he was the first one in our family to pass away. Ten years later, my brother Phillip was killed in an automobile accident. I remember what a horrible time it was that my father called me and he said, your mother and I just can't go. Would you come and identify your brother? I just didn't realize how hard that would be. I drove to North Alabama and identified the body. It was just so hard seeing how life really was. One day you can be with someone and the next, they're not a part of your life.

You're washing their last load of clothes. Then I guess to me, the last one, the strongest one, Terry, they found he had an aneurysm in the middle of the brain. And Terry had brain surgery, and I'll never forget the courage that it took the night his neurosurgeon came out and said, I don't know if we can save him. I'm going to have to leave his head open. We're going to try to go back in one more time.

Would you like to see him? I remember my mother was unconsolable and my father was with her and I went to be with him. It was like a war zone for me. I'd never seen anything quite like I saw in that room at the UAB hospital.

I'd never seen that kind of pain before. His hands were strapped down and I remember he said, you have to save me. You have to save me. And I could not save him. And I stayed with him as long as I could and I prayed. I tried to comfort him. There was no way to comfort him. I went outside and I said, you have to do something for him, Doc. You have to do something. He said, I'm going to put him in a room.

You can stay with him all night. I don't know that he'll make it, but we're going to try surgery again tomorrow. I remember I didn't think he would make it either, but he went into the surgery. He lost his hearing. He lost his taste. Several things weren't the same.

They sent him home more of a broken man. I didn't think he would live very long, but Terry, watching him fight for life, taught me so much about courage of how he wanted to live as best he could. That my father built a ramp in his sunken den, that he had built his home with his own two hands on his land. He talked every day or listened to country music. Then he realized when he went back to the doctor that he was going to be losing his speech.

I never saw someone with that much determination. He says, what can I do, Edith? So I fixed an A to Z sign for him, and I said, I'll point at these letters. We'll make it work. So that is the way we communicated.

And he said one day, he said, I am going to lose my voice. Would you promise me that when my time comes, would you come and hold me? And I want you to tell our story one day, that the Blackburn boys, that our life would be an encouragement to tell people it's important to be kind to one another, to enjoy the simpler things of life.

It's not all about the money you can make, but it is what we do for one another and how we encourage one another. You know, and I am glad that God allowed me to be able, when I got the call, I wasn't there at that time, to come, and I held him in my arms. Now they're all buried under that big oak tree. And in the loss of these three young boys took me a long time. But I know this, no matter what season of life we're in or what hardship we face or heartbreak, that there is something beautiful to come out of it if we look for that.

And that has been my saving grace. And you just heard Edie Hand's story, there's not a dry eye in our room. And what a story about remembrance, about family. How he fought for life taught me about life, she said, about her brother Terry. Be kind to one another, enjoy life, it's not all about the money. What a beautiful story, what a sad story, Edie Hand's story, here on Our American Stories.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-25 22:37:06 / 2023-08-25 22:41:14 / 4

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