Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I should've never let my curiosity get the best of me. Seek and ye shall find right?! UGH!







Hard day

Over the weekend, my youngest cousin had to say goodbye to 2 of his best friends. They were killed tragically in a motorcycle wreck at the end of my Mama's road early Saturday morning. They were 19 & 21 and had such a promising future in front of them. I can't help but relive that AWFUL day in November as I think about the pain that their poor parents are feeling right now.

Today, they will kiss their son's goodbye one last time and that hurts me SO very bad. I couldn't sleep last night because I kept having flashbacks of that terrible week leading up to Erik's funeral. The anxiety, hurt, sadness, fear, emptiness - all of it came rushing back. I wanted to be there for Austin & Avery's parents so bad, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't make myself reach out to them because my pain and hurt is still too fresh. The thought alone of walking into the funeral home to their visitations almost put me in a full on panic attack. For that, I feel awful. I have every intention of going to see Jane and Kathy soon. I just CAN NOT do it right now. My emotions are still too raw to provide any comfort to a freshly grieving mother.

Please remember the family and tons and tons of friends of these young boys. I didn't know them that well, but from what I can tell, they were some pretty awesome fellas.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tomorrow marks 18 months since my official goodbye to Erik. Tomorrow will be 18 months since I last touched and kissed my handsome little cowboy. I'm having a really hard time these days getting the awful memories of him out of my head. I can't get the image of the way he looked out of my head. I can still smell him in his casket. I can still hear the Funeral Director asking us to step outside so he could shut the casket for the last time. I can still feel my heart being ripped out of my chest again and again as my son's lifeless body was wheeled out the door into the back of an ugly black car. I can still see the back of the hearse as we followed it to the church. I can still see the look on everyone's faces as we walked into the church. I can still hear everyone in the church sobbing as Big Green Tractor played. I can still hear the clicking of everyone's shoes as we walked down the parking lot of the church to Erik's final resting place.

Sometimes, memories are best when they are forgotten!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Last week at work was insanely busy. I spent all day Wednesday and Thursday in Court with my boss, therefore leaving me no time on the computer. It was very nice to be out of the office, but boy did I have a lot to catch upon today (Monday)!

I had good intentions of blogging over the weekend, but it just didn't happen. I'm sure I could've written a book with all the emotions stirring in me leading up to yesterday (Sunday).

Yesterday - Sunday - the 15th marked 18 months since Erik went to be with Jesus. Every month on the 15th is hard, but the 18th month milestone was especially hard because it also fell on a Sunday. Friday, May 13 marked 18 months since Erik's last day of Kindergarten. Thursday, May 12 was 18 months since Erik last slept in his bed. It was also the last time I tucked him into bed and kissed him goodnight.

I feel like a broken record talking about the same thing all the time. I feel like if I keep writing about my new reality that it will become more real because even after 18 months it STILL feels like a horrible, horrible nightmare.

I miss Erik every single second of every single day. Not a minute goes by that I'm not wondering "what if". I can only imagine what a fun, caring and mischevious almost 7 year old he would be today. I'm always picturing him outside playing with his sisters. I wonder how he would've done in 1st grade. I wonder what exciting things he would wanna be doing this summer. I wonder if he'd have as much fun at Mimi's on the River as his cousins do on Sunday afternoon's. I know that he would've had a blast camping out for Chase's birthday party. I even wonder if he'd call Shannon "girl Shannon" like the girls do. LOL I wonder if he'd be mad when Kyle did his monthly fishing tourney's and he didn't get to go. I bet he'd still love getting all dressed up for church on Sunday's. I wonder whay he'd be wanting for his 7th birthday coming up in September. I'm sure he would've had a crazy cake request for Diane. He always did!

18 months later and the what if's, what could've, should've & would've beens are still there - every single day. Such a promising future that was cut WAY too short.

I've tried so hard to lead a life that Erik would be proud of. I'll be the first to admit that I've failed miserably. I've done things that I'm not proud of. I haven't been the wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend or employee that I should've been. I've been distant, withdrawn, depressed and just "here". I feel like I have just been present the last 18 months and haven't really been living my life. I feel like I've cheated Kaitlyn and Sienna out of the mother they deserve. I definitely haven't parented them as well as I did Erik. I feel awful about it, but I don't know how to fix it or make myself a better person for them. The person I use to be died along with Erik on November 15, 2009. That Ashley is dead and I have no idea how to welcome the Ashley that is here today. She just doesn't fit into the life I'm trying to live.

Anyway. The last 18 months have been hell to put it lightly. I wish more than anything that I could change this awful path I'm on.


After making the girls birthday invitations, I realized I REALLY missed scrap booking. I decided to pull all of my stuff out and get started back on Erik's scrap book that I started when he was born in September, 2004. I've been printing pictures of Erik like crazy and it has really warmed my heart to jump back into this with full force. Over the last month, I've added about 10 - 12 pages to Erik's Memorial Book. I've got a long way to go, but I know that since I've started again, I'll go until I'm finished with it. I can't wait to see the finished product!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Jumbled Mess!

I've got a lot to blog about, but I haven't found the right words yet. I hope to get them all out this week. Stay tuned....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Update in Pictures

Whew - what a busy month and it's only the 10th day!!!!! I've been going like crazy since May started and there are no plans of slowing down anytime soon. I don't feel like writing a big long blog about what I've been doing, so I'll tell you in pictures. Enjoy!

Kaitlyn and Sienna turned 3 - yes 3!!!!- on May 1st. This is the invitation for their birthday. I got the idea online and ran with it. It was A LOT of work, but I love how they turned out!

Here they are ready for church in their birthday shirts. They were SO excited to finally be 3!

Before their birthday party on Saturday, they had a t-ball game. They are no where near as interested in playing ball as their brother was, but I still love them being out there playing on a team that's named after him.

This is at their birthday party. I just love their outfits and am so glad I splurged and had them made!

This is the their cake. My sister in law's Mom makes cakes and she's made all of my kids birthday cakes. She does an awesome job! Not only is the cake amazing, it tastes amazing too!

They opened presents for what seemed like days. They got so much stuff!

We love being outside, so there was no better way to spend Mother's Day than soaking up the sun!

Gotta love her style!

So grown up to only be 3!

I love it!

Like I said, it's only the 10th of May and I don't see us slowing down any time soon. I love staying busy and watching my girls discover new things!!! Happy May y'all!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Follow-up to Name Change

The other day I wrote "Name Change" and couldn't really put into words how the family who was so greatly impacted by Erik felt. Well, this morning, Phillip, wrote a note on Facebook. Kyle and I couldn't be more touched by his words.

Here's his note...

"I'm going to break the silence on why me and Tonya can't wait till Monday. When she was pregnant with Lane, we had bounced the idea of naming Lane, Erik Lane Hodges instead of Nathan Lane Hodges, the reason for this is...On 11-15-09, I ran a call that would change my life forever and I've had a hard time dealing with it. Waking up each morning wondering if there was something that I could have done different, or if there were more that I could have done. And I feel that I let a Mom, Dad and two sisters down because now they will never have their son/big brother in their lives. I kept it bottled up for too long and in the last few weeks I started talking to someone I have known for years and have became friends with her now. We have swapped stories on how we both feel about that tragic day when I got to meet her sweet little angel. Through all of the talking, I mentioned to her that we had thought about naming Lane, Erik Lane instead of Nathan Lane, but felt that someone would have gotten mad or upset. And due to the tragic events still being too fresh in everyone's mind we just let it pass us by. Well she said to me it would have been a honor for us to name our son after her only son. Tonya and I have still been talking about it, and wishing we had, so I decided to go knock on her door and ask her & her husband if we could still name our son Erik Lane Hodges, and they told me it would be a honor. So on Monday, the 9th of this month, we will start the process. The one thing I have learned through all of this is, I'm not made of stone and grown men do cry, but I'm glad that my son will have the name of an angel. Because that one day in the short time that I got to meet Samuel "Erik" Quarles, he touched my life in so many different ways, and he will forever be in my heart!"

Thank you from the bottom of my heart Phillip & Tonya!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

In and Out

In my previous blog, I posted about how we celebrated 3 years with Kaitlyn & Sienna yesterday. I wanted that post to be all about them, so I'm using this post to explain how the first of each month is always bittersweet.

All 3 of my children were born on the first of day of the month. The girls in May and Erik in September. I think it's kind of odd that not only were they born on the first, they were born within 30 minutes of each other. Kaitlyn was first at 9:46 p.m., then Erik at 9:55 p.m. and then Sienna at 10:16 p.m. Ironic, huh?

Anyway - as we celebrated the girls' birthday yesterday, I couldn't help but be sad too because in exactly 4 months, I should be celebrating Erik's 7th birthday. Well, let me rephrase that, we will be celebrating, but not the way that I would like to celebrate. It has been almost 18 months since I kissed my son goodbye and it hasn't gotten any easier. I'm having more good days than bad, but it still hurts just like it was yesterday. I can only imagine his excitement for his sister's turning another year older. I remember him on their first birthday and he was so happy to have them as his sisters. I can only imagine the fun they would be having now - especially considering one of his sisters would rather play with monster trucks than baby dolls! I'm sure that Sienna and Erik would've be inseparable. They are so much alike that it's kinda scary at times.

Because I have so much "thinking" time on my hands, I was thinking the other day about the 18 month anniversary coming up. I find it very weird that the girls were 18.5 months old when Erik died and when the 18 month anniversary rolls around on May 15, they will have aged 18.5 more months. It breaks my heart that on that day, they will have lived half of their life without their big brother. It breaks my heart that the 3 of them aren't growing up together. That's the way it should be. I should be the mother of 3 living children. I shouldn't have to explain my story to people when they ask how many kids I have. I shouldn't have to tell them the story of how my son lost his life. I shouldn't have to start a conversation about Erik with "I'm sure you probably remember the little boy who was killed in that freak 4 wheeler accident back in November, 2009" and I shouldn't have to finish that conversation with "yep, that was my boy". I tear up every single time I start that conversation. I can talk about Erik all day long, but when someone new asks me about the day he died, I'm a crying mess.

Over the weekend, I picked up my old hobby of scrapbooking again. I had forgotten how much I enjoy doing it. I'm hoping that it can become a regular thing I do again because I sure did enjoy myself. Right now, I am working on Erik's scrapbook. I had started it a long time ago, but life and kids got in the way and I stopped working on it. I had a few pages completed already, but they were from Erik's first few days. Looking back at those pictures makes it seem like it was a million years ago, but at the same time, I can instantly remember the way I felt when I first laid my eyes on him. I can remember his smell and how soft his skin was. I can remember the love I had for him as soon as his sweet little body was put on my chest. It was in that instant that I knew I would die for another human being. I can also remember Erik having a little bit of trouble breathing and the doctor not being able to hand him right to me after he was born. Is it ironic that I wasn't the first to hold my son when he took his first breath and wasn't even there when he took his last? (I'm full of irony's today!) It breaks my heart thinking about that. He came into the world with people working to help him breath and went out in the exact same way.

I told y'all I have too much thinking time!

Another New Month

I'm having a really hard time wrapping my head around the fact that we're almost half - way through 2011. Did we not just ring in the new year? Yesterday was the first day of May. The first day of the month has been very special to me since 2004. You see on the first of September, my sweet Erik was born. Fast forward to 2008 and on the first day of May, my sweet girls were born. I don't know how I managed to birth 3 children on the first day of the month.

Yesterday we celebrated 3 years with Kaitlyn & Sienna. They have been looking forward to turning 3 for a very long time, so I knew I had to make yesterday fun and special. While I was tucking the girls into bed on Saturday night, I told them that if they didn't go to bed like almost 3 year old's that I would gladly return their gifts and they wouldn't have a birthday. Mean, I know, but it worked. We didn't hear a word out of them and there was no fussing about going to sleep. It was lovely to say the least! They woke up yesterday morning and I heard a whisper "let's go find our present!" Being that I was still half asleep, I mumbled something along the lines of "what are y'all doing - come back in our room!" They huffed, but made their way back into our bedroom. They crawled into bed with us and I sang Happy Birthday to them. The biggest and brightest smiles were on their faces and it melted my heart. No sooner than I finished singing, Kaitlyn looked at me and said "I gotta blow my candles out Mama". It then hit me! Oops! I forgot that they would want cake today! Actually, I didn't forget. I just told myself that they would have plenty at their party and I didn't need to get them a cupcake or anything. I should've known that Kaitlyn would wanna get technical and blow out a candle on her actual birthday. No worries though because that tid bit of information is on stand-by for next year! Anyway - after they opened their presents from Kyle and I, we started getting ready for church. They were so excited to finally wear the shirts I got them that said "Happy Birthday to me". They looked adorable too! We went to church and then they decided where they wanted to eat. After lunch, we headed home to change into our bathing suits and we spent the rest of the afternoon outside playing. The girls had a great time just spending time at home and doing whatever they wanted to do.

I can't wait to see their excitement when it's time for their party! Happy 3rd Birthday baby girls! I love both of you to the moon & back!