Bhplayon's Blog

Stories in the life of Betty Brown Hammond…..truth sometimes seems like fiction.

“Everything Happens for a Reason?”

Now isn't that Random?

Now isn’t that Random?

(this is an old post, re-inserted due to deletion) “Everything happens for a reason?” Personally, I really do not believe this. (did you just GASP?!!!) I think it is one of those things people say to you when you tell them something about your life that undeniably sucks. I think those platitudes are just our mind’s way of trying to contextualize experiences that don’t fall inside our usual frameworks for making sense of the world. I believe that sometimes we all make pointless, useless choices…..and these are the times you make “lemonade out of lemons”. There are just too many really bad things out there for me to rationalize “everything happens for a reason”. I guess a lot of it comes down to situations like this: The mother of a severely handicapped child who has to listen to the well-meaning chirping’s of her friends who say “everything happens for a reason…(or) God only gives special children to special mothers who are strong” Yes, these people do not know what else to say…they are well-meaning. But this mother is thinking…. “there’s NO reason good enough that I should have to deal with this severe disability….and I don’t think it is part of a LARGER plan!”. Here is what I DO believe: We ALL have life experiences that make us STRONGER. We learn from these experiences. These experiences are what mold us. They help us better our choices for the future. I have no real problem believing in the randomness of life.  Or, that maybe SOME  things happen for a reason.  BUT….. This is only MY take, albeit a very unpopular view…..but it is what it is And I am what I am:-) I’m definitely not trying to change anyone’s thought process. Just give insight on another view.

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John 3, 16

Quite possibly the most recognized and cherished Bible verse.  It certainly is the most quoted. 
From an early age to my teens I went from house to house as a devout Jehovah’s Witness. I gave my spiel which was a rehearsed, scripted presentation.   Offering their Watchtower and Awake magazines for a small contribution to cover the cost of printing. …  Sometimes it was their Green Bible, The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures at a cost of a dollar.  The householder was given the explanation that this Bible was translated to modern English, which is much easier to understand. But not to worry,  it is exactly like the King James Version.   Oh wow, I told that big story many times.

I began to notice their translation wasn’t the same at all as I entered my late teens. I had begun to doubt the religion that was inculcated in me from birth
In their translation of John, 3,16 a key word was changed.  This scripture lays out what is necessary for our salvation. You could say the theme of the New Testiment is summed up in that scripture.  So profound.   Altering the words, actually manipulating them to support their beliefs….well,  that is just wrong!

I can’t emphasize enough how thankful I am to have escaped from the clutches of the witnesses.  Deprogramming my brain from their teachings was made possible through prayer.  I went from a religion that is considered cultic to having a personal relationship with God! 

John 3,16 KJV
For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever Believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3,16 NWT
For God loved the world so much he gave his only begotten son,  in order that everyone exercising faith in him will not be destroyed  but have everlasting life .

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Today was a good day

Today was a good day

Being estranged from someone who was at one time a very loved and cherished person in my life has been extremely difficult.  For over thirty years my sisters and I have been estranged from our mom.  Recently, due to her failing health, we are allowed to take part in her care. Being raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, I knew she was cutting us off because of her deep commitment to the religion. She believed she was doing the right thing.

During the time we were not a part of our mom’s life. We would occasionally run in to her. She was always friendly. She called us a few times and wrote us letters. Mostly pleading with us to return to the “truth”.  She never accepted we were at peace with God. Witnesses believe they are the only ones who know the real God, Jehovah.  Some believe it is our fault for turning our backs on the religion.   I will be the first to admit my sins.  The one that caused my expulsion from that organization occurred in 1986, I became pregnant. I was not married.  I can certainly see how they would not condone that. But, fail to see how cutting one off from family is a good thing. However, being disfellowshipped from the Jehovah’s Witnesses turned out to be such a positive in my life.  My relationship with God is just that. A relationship with GOD.   I didn’t feel compelled to indulge the elders of the Newnan congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses with any personal details of any transgression.  By the time this occurred I already had huge doubts about the things I had been taught from birth.  I prayed for God to lead me.  I prayed from the heart and felt the love of God. That religion may have thrown me out, but God didn’t.  It was a sad thing to go forward in life without the love and support of Mama.  But my conscience would not allow me to  stay in a religion that caused so many doubts.  I didn’t hate my mother. I do not hate her now. If you know anything about that religion. You would know she was just doing what she thought she had to do.   I was very sad to lose her.  But as I raised my children I thought of this relationship more and more. It was unfathomable how a mother could cut herself off from her children.  We were all decent people. Living within the parameters of the law.  Loving and nurturing our children.  It honestly changed my feelings for her. She is my mother. I will always be thankful for any sacrifices she made to provide for us.  She was a hard worker, and always managed to feed, clothe, and provide shelter.  We were taught to respect our elders, not to lie, cheat, or steal. We knew some slang words were even considered cursing, so we had to watch it. Cursing was definitely not allowed. We were never allowed to use racial slurs, nor would we want to. As we had been taught to love others no matter the skin color. She led by example.   Whenever I was disciplined as a child, I knew I deserved it and also knew it was harder on her.  Manners were important.  Cleanliness was mandatory.  We bathed regularly even though no plumbing in our house until I was seven.  Everyone helped with the chores and had duties assigned.  I’m aware of the insane amount of work she did on a regular basis. Raising five kids with so little resources!  Our dad, a truck driver, was away a lot of the time. Although she was never an extremely affectionate mother,  I always felt she loved us.

Now her physical and mental health are failing. She needs us all to have a hand in her care.  It  is sad to see her in this condition.  It is a shame she is not swarmed with visits from her many, many grandchildren, great grandchildren and great, great grandchildren.  But having not cultivated a relationship with her during our estranged years, they don’t know her or have any sense of obligation to her.

Being out of the clutches of the religion of my birth has been amazing. To have a personal relationship with God and know of the gift of grace is so wonderful.   Being without mom for my adult life has been very trying on my emotional well being at times.   But being able to place this burden upon God, and letting him guide me has been my lifesaver.  And I am eternally grateful for my sisters. We have always been there for one another.  This experience has brought us closer.

My sisters and I do not focus on the past. We strive to make the time we have left with her meaningful. Making her as comfortable as we can and checking on her regularly. If you know our mom and would like to visit her. Please private message me and I will give you the information.
It is not my intention to cause anyone to think less of my mom for her religious stand. This is my blunt and heartfelt testimony. My account of things without her side. She is not in a position to defend her choices. Keeping that in mind, I would appreciate prayers for her. Wishing her peace.


Love one another

Erin with baby Jackson.

Erin with baby Jackson.

How hard is that?

Some may not be aware of how very much has been placed upon my daughter in the last three years. She met Adam, fell in love and they married.  We were not aware that Adam was battling drug addiction.  Aparently he became addicted after a football injury in high school. Shortly after they were married, a baby on the way, Adam got into some trouble.  Still battling addiction the family was able to get him into a rehab facility. He would remain there, away from his family, throughout the rest of her pregnancy and through the birth of their first son, Jackson.  We all loved Adam, and believed he would kick the habit. Erin was in love with Adam and believed this completely.  While in the facility he had some issues with his blood pressure to the point it might have caused a stroke. He was taken to the hospital and it was determined that he had suffered a stroke.  The silver lining was he was allowed to go home to finish his rehab.  He lost a great deal of weight. And eventually the facial drooping was not noticeable at all. Things were looking good. They soon have huge news. Erin is pregnant with triplets!  We were a little nervous, but overjoyed.  Then we found out she was carrying a fraternal, with a set of MoMo twins.This was very scary.  MoMo twins are rare. The survival rate is grim.  Soon she lost the twins. We were all so grateful that the fraternal had survived, yet so saddened by the loss of those sweet twins.  When it came time for delivery it was botched up so badly.  Bennett suffered birth trauma and was taken to Grady for a couple of weeks.  He was such a little fighter. He came home and life should start smoothing out for this little family.  But Adam was still struggling with addiction and it was heavy on Erin’s mind. Can you imagine what was going through her mind. All she wanted was for them to have their little family.  The love was there and it had always been there.  She truly loved Adam….and he loved her.  She stuck it out through all of that and just wanted everything to work out.  Then Tuesday, June 30th Adam was killed in an automobile accident. HOW MUCH CAN SHE TAKE?

She has taken his death so hard.  She had an emotional breakdown.  Overwhelmed with sadness, she often allowed me to take the children.  She never asked me to. I offered….to give her some space to work out this sadness and grief.  I am her MOTHER. I have her best interests at heart, and the best interests of her children.

On top of ALL that my daughter has gone through. She needs to be strengthened. If you cannot say anything to comfort, why say anything at all?

Erin will get through this. She will do it in her own time. It is not anyone’s business how she deals with it.

Truthfully, if something happened to my husband. It is hard to know exactly how I would react.  I can only imagine the overwhelming sadness and loneliness.  But until I have actually experienced that, I cannot judge how someone else deals with it.  A couple verses I am thinking about right now are, Matthew 7, 5 New International Version You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  And another John 8, 7. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.

Another quote I love:

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world.

It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.

-Agatha Christie

Our children were raised in a way that instilled morals and values. We taught and led by example. They were taught respect and to treat others with respect regardless their skin color, religion, or how rich or poor. I am proud of how Erin was strong through the Adam’s absence. She took care of her responsibilities. When Adam came home she did everything she could to help him with the addiction. She did not coddle or enable him. She always held his feet to the fire….Holding him accountable. She should not feel bad about this. Everything she did was to make their family stronger.

Erin was a rock. She stood by Adam.  She has done what she should.  Remained faithful, worked hard to support the family, and was, and is a Wonderful mother.   I am proud of her and wish only for her to have joy in her life again.  My advice to anyone who loves her:   It is still raw for her.  Find kindness in your heart and love her through this.  Anything else is just mean!


This gave me Chill Bumps

Sometimes things happen that cannot be explained. Today I experienced such a thing.  Erin has been on my mind. Thinking about how her world turned upside down with the death of Adam. Although I have prayed about the whole situation, it is so hard to accept the death of someone who was so alive and part of our lives.  It has been heavy on my heart and mind.

Today, after hanging up after talking to Dennis on my cell phone. I carefully returned my phone to the home screen before putting it in the small purse I carry around my neck. Since I am really good at butt dialing people, I have made a point to try harder to cease this annoying habit. I was walking to check in on Bennett when I heard Adam’s voice coming from my phone. It was so shocking. I took my phone out to find it playing a recorded voice mail I received from Adam months before he died!

I can’t explain this because it takes some maneuvering to get to those saved voice recordings. How it randomly opened that particular recording is unexplainable.

It was so good to hear his voice, yet so sad.

Rest in peace, dear Adam.

Post note: I took one of those silly quizzes on Facebook entitled “Who is your guardian Angel.” Turns out it wasn’t so silly. My results: My guardian angel is Adam Parker. I do believe he watches out for us. Especially when I am watching his precious boys.

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Tuesday, June 30th

Sitting on the porch drinking coffee in Panama City Beach. Looking up through a  palm tree at the Morning Sun and thinking about my nephew, Matt Brown, who had passed away during the night. I was thinking about his dad who is my brother, Terry.  and his mother, Tami Warman, a close friend and ex sister in law. What pain they must be feeling at the loss of their son. Thinking of comforting words I might convey. There was not enough time to digest this information. When around 10:00 am  Dennis called my cell with news that would shake my  daughter’s world, leaving her in the darkest place she has ever been. Grief consumes her. The words, “Adam’s dead” sent a wave of emotions through me that paralyzed me. I could not fathom this news could be true…. He was much too young, age twenty- five! WHY??? Erin, who had called Dennis, could barely get the words out and that was the most news she could bear to convey the time. So we had no details as to how this could have happened for maybe an hour after we found out of his death. My mind was spinning trying to sort this out. Then came the unbearable details.  He was killed when his car hit a tree. He apparently had lost control of the car in a curve.  It was an accident.  . I immediately thought of the unimaginable sadness my daughter was feeling now. And I am so far away! I have to to throw all my stuff in the car and get to her! Dennis, who was on his way back to Florida had already turned to go to her. Stephen and Katie were on their way to the mountains for a hiking trip.  They had just got on 400 when they got the horrible news. Without hesitation they tuned around and headed her way. Shaking so hard I could bearly hold onto the phone I managed a call to  my niece, Jesse, who lives in Carrollton.  Hoping I could get her to go on over to comfort Erin.  She said Erin already called her…She was on the way!
This was the first of an overwhelming outpouring of kindness and generosity we would receive.  I grabbed my stuff and hit the road with a mission. Everyone I spoke to was telling me to drive responsibly, don’t speed!  But I was driving faster than I ever had before . I shouldn’t have…but I did. I was fortunate not to receive a ticket.  I had to slow to 45 around the Alabama line. It was raining so hard it was difficult to see. After a journey that seemed never-ending,  I finally made it home.  Dropped off the dogs, took the fastest shower I’ve ever taken and headed to Carrollton.  It was a relief to finally get to Erin to give her hugs and motherly support.  She was a basket case …as  expected.
Lord, please take some of this pain from our baby! We were and are hurting, too. Adam was our beloved son in law. How could we get through this? How was his mom and dad, going to get through this?  Youre not supposed to bury your children! Adam was extremely close to his siblings.  This was so incredibly painful for so many people!! His grandparents,  aunts, uncles,cousins and friends.. all in utter pain.
I was able to allow myself to breakdown on that torturous ride from Florida.  But was able to hold up , for the most part, as I felt I had to be strong for the kids and Erin My bestie, Jan, commented that she knew mom’s have superpowers as she witnessed this firsthand.
Faith is so important. Especially now. Many have shared words of comfort.  Being there for her is all I can do. I feel so helpless in trying to console her. Grieving will be a process,…I want her to emerge stronger. This has certainly put a new perspective on my relationships.  As I was caring for my precious grandchildren right after this happened. I was  Overwhelmed with the things I needed to do. Sitting in my recliner about to feed Bennett his bottle,  I was looking over my living room at the toys strewn about and dining room table so cluttered. In that moment I realized those things were not important.  I decided to just live in the moment.  I cuddled that sweet baby boy and fed him that bottle. I talked to him and the Instant reward was his sweet eyes soaking it all up .  Adam loved to cuddle with his children. I will never let them forget his love for them. He gave us those two wonderful boys.  What a blessing they are! Losing someone so close to us can help us focus on our relationships.  That is a good thing.  But anyone who  has followed my blogs knows how I feel about “Everything happens for a reason”. I just do not believe God caused Adam’s wreck. I didn’t believe he would have  Laura die such a brutal death. Awful things just happen.  But our faith can bring us through the pain. We just have to learn how to give it over to God.

We want to thank everyone who gave their sympathy. All the Facebook comments, the cards, flowers, donations, food, babysitting, and being there for us… by so many people. ALL  was so appreciated. We are so grateful. Please know it lifted us and we felt the love.

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