Part of My Life
(by Barbara Gray)
Hi! All glory for my life goes to God, its cause of God I live, His mercy, love, and will for me has shown
from birth up.
I was born to Bernard Leroy Helms and Wando Irene Hillyer Helms on Wednesday night, October 14,
1964. My Mom‟s water broke at about 3:00 pm. Dad came home from work, Mom fed him his supper but
did not eat herself. When Dad noticed, he asked why she was not eating. Mom said what had happened
about 3:00 PM. He said, “Lord woman, you should have told me.” Mom said, “Don‟t worry we got plenty
of time.” She got my sister and brother dressed. They got in the car. They headed for hospital, but Mom
decided to take kids to my grandma‟s home in Industry. Do they did and later they popped kids out told
Grandma Helms and Grandpa Don that they was headed to hospital. On the way, Dad was driving 100
miles down to St. Francis Blacktop. Mom told him that he could slow down because I was already here
born. When they got to St. Francis Hospital, I was not breathing. The nurse came out and ripped Mom‟s
pants and immediately started CPR. (This was the first time God saved me).
When I was three months old I quite breathing. They ran me to hospital. I had phenomena, and had to be
in oxygen tent for a month. Then they did test and found out I had chronic asthma. I was put on breathing
machine at home. Also when I was three, my dad shot my mother. We don‟t know how or why. We have
heard three or four stories and dad said we would find out on his deathbed. He went to prison for three
years for involuntary manslaughter. We lived with Grandma Helms and Grandpa Don. He got out and
married a lady. He took us kids there to live with them. His wife beat me everyday for no reason. One day
she got mad and cut my hair off with an electric hair cutter. (My hair was past my rear at time.). My Dad
came home and after he saw it, he got mad and took us back to grandma‟s. He divorced the lady and
married her best friend. Then he came back after us and we moved to Macomb.
When I turned 7, we moved to Adair. Dad started showing me a lot of attention and I was loving it. He
showed me how to change spark plugs and how to change tires. He let me do it all by myself with standby
assistance. During this time my step-mother was giving me a whippings every night. I cleaned the house,
did dishes, did laundry, watched my little sister, went to school, helped dad in garage when he needed it.
My life was full.
Right before I turned 8, one day while helping Dad, he grabbed me told me he had to show me something.
I said ok. He took me in a tiny room in the garage, bared himself, and said that he thought I was old
enough to know difference between boys and girls. So I look and asked questions on why we were
different. I did not know until then. He then explained it to me. I said “oh”. Then he put my hand on him,
I pulled away. I did not like feeling. He told me that it was ok and that he wanted my hand there, that he
loved me, and would never do anything wrong or hurt me. So I did as he wished.
A couple days later, he asked if he could see me naked to make sure all parts of me were as was supposed
to be. He said all dads do this to make sure their kids don‟t need a doctor. So we go to little room again.
He look at me tell me that he gets to touch just to be sure. So I let him and he just touched outside. Told
me it was ok. Then we went back to working on motors. After a couple days went by, he said that he
wanted to check me out again and I said “ok”. From then it escalated from just looking and touching to
sexual stuff. I began to get uncomfortable with the sex he was doing because it hurt so. I tried staying in
house helping with little sister. He‟d come in and ask if I would help and I started to say I was watching
little sisters (they were 2 years old by then). So my step-mom would say of course she can help you.
When I got to 14, he decided to tell me complete facts of life. He says all dads do this but they just don‟t
talk about it. Then he said they have to show their daughters what their husbands will do with them, so
they are not scared on wedding night. He then took it all the way. I was real sore, and he then told me that
I was to say nothing to no one or he would put me in a jail or orphanage. When Grandma Helms came to
visit us, she told my step-mom that I was walking funny. They took me to my bedroom and asked me
why I was doing the just mentioned, I told them that I hurt below. They undressed me, looked at me, and
Grandma say someone has had sex with this child. I was scared because I knew I wasn‟t supposed to say
so. I told them it was by my brothers. They called them in house and were going to whip them. I started
crying and told them I lied, that was with my daddy. My step-mom slapped me and told me that it was too
late to tell lies. My Grandma Helms asked me how it got started. I told her. They called my dad in and he
admitted it. He said that he was sorry, and that if my step-mom would stay, he wouldn‟t touch me again.
She stayed. I went to school next day and I told nurse I want to go home cause I‟m hurting. She asked
where. I told her. She asked what I had been doing, I told her what my dad did. The nurse made a phone
call and kept me in the nursing office. A lady come and talk to me and later my family. Afterwards, she
told me I shouldn‟t make up stories to cover up the fact that I have boyfriend. I didn‟t have. Then they did
pregnancy test and it was positive. My parents send me to Taylorville to live. I delivered a boy and girl.
They were the most beautiful babies I ever seen, but something‟s wrong: they cannot move anything but
eyes. My Dad said I can come home but not bring the babies. I gave them up. My heart was broken: they
were mine but not.
After I had my woman‟s period, Dad started having sex with me again. Every night he would come to my
room, I would hide in closet, he would find me, and I would imagine in my mind going to a happy place
of no pain and nothing bad happening. Also from when I was 7 years until I was 17, I had been beaten by
step-mothers every night for no reason. I also took beatings for my older sister and brother and my
youngest brother (my dad and mom‟s kids). If they did wrong, I took the blame so they do not get
whipped also, I love them and do not want to see then hurt. So I think you can understand why I imagined
as I did.
One day when I was 17, I met a guy who was 21-years-old. I told him what was going on. He and his
girlfriend make plans for me to I marry him so I could get out of Dad‟s house. I went along with the plan:
I become Barbara Helms Collins on August 28, 1980. We lived together, but didn‟t consummate the
marriage as he slept with my friend. Then he snuck down and slept with my oldest sister. She told him
that what I said happened didn‟t happen. He comes back and takes me to my Dad‟s place and leaves me
on my 18th birthday. I told Dad that if he touched me, I would put him in prison. I know now it wrong.
He told me that I had to leave because he couldn‟t promise he wouldn‟t touch me.
I moved to Taylorville with my Grandpa Bill (Dad‟s real dad). He tried messing with me, so I moved in
with my ex step-mom. I met a man and he promised that if I get pregnant, he would get me divorced and
marry me. So I said “ok”. With him I was never sober, never not high. We did all drugs out there. One
day I told him that I was pregnant. He shoved me down 16 steps and said that I was not his. I was 19 now
and I rushed to hospital. I lost a baby girl who I named Rachael Luo Ann Helms. We buried her in
cemetery. I‟ve never been back there since the memory is too painful. I delivered a boy on first day of
tenth month of pregnancy. On May 9, 1984, I named him Dale Le Roy Collins. When Dale was 2, I met a
guy who was so sweet, kind, and under-age. His parents said that they don‟t care. So I moved in. I got
pregnant again and he starts hitting on me. I lose the babies (twins again), a boy and a girl (the most
desired by me). I was devastated and I moved out to live on my own. I lived in Avon and Dale was 3. He
burned our house to the ground. I barely got out with my life and his.
I met another guy, he said that he loved me. So I moved in with him. I got my GED, become CAN, and
started working. I left my 3-year-old with him. One day, the school calls me said that there is a problem
with my son and I needed to pick him up. So I did and I took him to the doctor. I was told that he has
been molested. I went off my rocker and I left him at hospital. I went after the guy (oops me bad). But he
was gone, lock stock and barrel. I went back to hospital. No one said anything. Later a nurse asked if I
was all right and I said “no” and that I wanted to kill the guy. Cops showed up and I told them his name.
They talked to Dale. He said that his daddy had done it and what he doing to him at this time. I fainted.
When I came to, I‟m in a hospital bed and was told that I‟ve been there three days. I blacked out too:
much to handle at one time. They found the guy. I do not know what happened to him and I do not care. I
got released from hospital three months later with a clean bill of health. I met my ex boy friend and we
dated again. He was so sweet and never laid a hand on me or my son. So we married and Samuel Eugene
Hanson Jr. was born on March 8, 1990. Then my husband started hitting on me, and I with my children
moved to Monmouth to be with his dad.
On November 2, 1990, we get into car wreck. I remember looking over seeing a semi headed for us. I
removed my seatbelt and reached up to move Sam over. And then all was black. Next thing I knew, I am
in hospital. When I opened my eyes, I saw my Aunt Mary, my mom, and my cousin Virginia standing
there. But how could that be? My mom‟s been died when I was three. She tells me its not my time. To
please go back: don‟t fight them and let them do their work. It‟s ok, I‟m here if you ever need me just talk
to me I hear. And also ask God into your heart (2nd time God saved me). I wake up, they are doing CPR
on me. They quit and a doctor told me that they have revived me 6 times in three days. He asked, “Are
you going to stay with us this time. I said “yes”. Mom said God is not ready for me and that I‟m here to
stay. I looked over at window and see my Aunt Mary there with cousin Virginia. I wave at them; they
smile then come in for a brief visit. Aunt Mary is like my mom and she‟s always a phone call way if I
Then I went home. I had to wear a metal halo for 1 1/2 years to heal my neck. It was broken at c5 and c7.
The doctors don‟t know how I survived and am walking. In 6 months, I see doctors and told them that I
was 3 months pregnant. They had to take off the halo. My husband started beating me again and I had to
have a C-Section on December 31, 1991. I make my wishes clear that if it was a girl, cut, tie and burn the
tubes because I didn‟t want to bring another child into a abusive marriage. I prayed to God and was
blessed. I had daughter at 11:30 am. The doctor did as requested. I came out of sleep and told them they
lied to me. They brought my daughter to me, I kept her with me the whole three days there. I didn‟t want
to let her out of my site.
I asked for Bible during the her second day of life. I prayed God: I knew her second name, but not her
first name, will You show me what her name is to be. Then I tell Sam Sr. and nurse which ever female
name pops up is the name God wants her to have. I open Bible with eyes closed, I open them there is a
picture. It was of Rebekah at the well. I tell nurse its my daughter‟s name; it was chosen by God and
that‟s it. I told Sam no arguing, he said “ok whatever”. The nurse leaves and he said that he would let the
name go. Then he slapped me and told me never to treat him like that in front of others again. So Rebekah
Irene Hanson was named on second day of life. A couple months later I filed for divorce. Sam was
cheating on me with my best friend and I was tired of his hitting me.
Then I met Jim. I was drinking still not a lot on weekends only. My kids were with Sam in Kentucky. I
needed a place to stay and Jim offered me one of his extra rooms, I said ok. My children came back to
me. Dale gets one room and Bekah gets other. I slept on the floor in Bekah‟s room. When I woke up
every morning, my back was hurting. Jim said I can sleep in his bed with him and he won‟t touch me. I
was afraid, so for another month I slept on the floor. Then one night, my back was hurting when I laid
down, so I knocked on Jim‟s door and he said “yes”. I asked if he‟s covered and he said “yes”. So I go in
and asked him if offer of bed is still open, and he said yes. I said “and you wont touch me” and he said he
promises. So I crawl in bed.
We slept like this for 6 months and he never tries to touch me. One night we laid in bed and talked about
our lives and what we want. We both wanted the same thing in life. I started crying; he rolls over and tells
me that he is just going to hold me. We fall asleep like that. The next day as I prepare supper, I‟m quiet
and he walks up and says you need a hug. I said “yes” and he hugs me holds me for a little bit, and then
lets go and goes to take his shower. We go out that night as a couple. I get plastered drinking too much
alcohol. Jim carried me and put me in the bathtub clothes and all. I sobered up and he helped me out of
wet clothes. I got shy, started laughing, and asked him to leave. I finished taking off my underclothes,
dried myself, and put clean clothes on. I went out to the livingroom and he‟s sitting there watching TV. I
thanked him and told him that I was going to bed.
A couple days later, I was upset because I had a rough day with my son, Dale. He has Attention Deficit
Disorder, hyperactive tendencies, and manic depressive disorder. Jim holds me, and…. well you know
rest. I told him I‟m not supposed to have sex without being married, that I promised myself that. He said
“Let‟s get married. You need a place to live and I need a tax deduction.” So we got married on
Febuary14, 1995. Things were ok, then I had quit drinking on the wedding day, and only drank when the
doctor ordered me to for kidneys. I don‟t like taste of beer and was only told to drink such for one month.
One can a night was all I would drink. And I haven‟t since then. Jim now is a different story: since we got
married, he drank more and more. I finally told him after a year, “It‟s the beer or me and Bekah. He quit
drinking. Now he gambles. I started going to church almost three years ago and met my current bestest
friends, sis Linds, sis Con, brother Drew, Pat H, brother Cliff, and dale, and a lot of others. They helped
me figure out my life. My past didn‟t matter to them. They loved me for me. On June 15, 2006 I finally
accepted God in my life and heart and was baptized. I know if I did not have God I would not be here
today. Some of life isn‟t on here: I‟ve had 4 total miscarriages with one boy and one girl, and I lost a girl
during car wreck. The twins at top, they are my dad‟s, they lived in a hospital in Chicago until they were
26. I held my girl when she died. She actually smiled for first time right before her last breath. The boy
had nothing wrong with him except was like sister, could not move his anything except eyes. He died 4
hours later probably because he could not go on with out his sis. they were never separated and were
My life has been hard, but its made me the strong spirit I am. Its made me to look for good in all peoples,
no matter how they treat you everyone has good in them. Some just need love and understanding to bring
it out. When I‟m real depressed, I go in my mind where I‟m most happy, where I can see my mom. No
drugs used to do this I just visualize she‟s here. I talk to her and God joins us when I‟m really depressed. I
know He is always here with me, but in these special times, I feel closer. I may be on the computer at
times and I may not respond, but I am in happy place. God gave me life and I „m thankful. God brought
me back more then what is in this letter, and for that I‟m thankful. He‟s given me wonderful friends via
the Internet and I‟m thankful.