How to love a Marine who has been injured

close up of erin and sam II_edited-1

Back in my September 8th post I spoke of Erin and Sam’s wedding ceremony. My dear friend Morey presided at their wedding. Morey told those assembled that day they were witnessing something very special. That special something was the coming together of two people who loved each other with all their hearts, their minds and souls. During his sermon, Morey told us, “I believe these two young people are going to teach us how we should love each other”. Last week Erin sent us this picture from her camera phone. She held it up and took the shot by herself. I think it really captures the love between these two young people, doesn’t it?

We spent this past Saturday with Erin and Sam. When we first arrived, Erin was out taking one of the other patients to the store, so we got to spend some time alone with Sam. When I walked into the room, he turned his head towards me and looked right at me. He then held his right hand up to greet me. That was probably the most aware I’ve ever seen Sam. As we were talking to him, he very casually moved his hand up to his face and scratched his eye. I’ve never seen Sam so able to control his movement like this before.

When Erin arrived back from the store, she got up into the bed with Sam. She pointed to her leg and I noticed that Sam had moved his right hand so that it was laying on top of her leg. Erin said that earlier this week when they were in the therapy/gym, she was sitting right in front of him as he sat on the therapy table (there was also someone right behind him in case he started to fall backwards—Sam managed to get his right arm around Erin and eventually got his hand under her shirt. He was slowly trying to move his hand up while being cheered on by all the therapist in the room!

One other pretty amazing thing Sam did while we were visiting—when we were outside taking a walk (he was in his wheelchair) he started coughing and then drooled a little, but instead of waiting for Erin to wipe his mouth, he grabbed the towel on his lap and wiped his mouth by himself! Very cool!

Sam is still on track to be transferred to Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital within the next two or three weeks. He will be in a program that normally last about eight weeks. After that eight week period it is possible that he will be moved to the Veterans Hospital in Livermore, Ca which has an acute brain injury ward. When Sam reaches a point in his rehabilitation where he can take advantage of more advanced TBI therapy, he will most likely be moved back to the Palo Alto VA hospital. Both VA hospitals in Palo Alto and Livermore are part of the VPAHCS or VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Erin will be visiting the Livermore facility tomorrow.


15 Responses to How to love a Marine who has been injured

  1. Arianna (Fine) Villalpando says:

    This picture brought tears–I still have this web page in my favs and I check it out when you put the updates–I am very glad and proud to see how Sam is recovering, I feel like I know them both personally and they’ve become a part of my life- I know I will meet them soon…but today I had to put a little comment it’s really heart warming to see that this kind of love does exist–I couldn’t imagine how it must be but it is the sweetest thing to see because through faith she has over came a hard situation and has held strong right by his side. They’re so young and it hurts to know that they have to go through this — but I know it was for some odd reason we will never know why it happened but I am sure it will make them stronger and it makes me appreciate life in a special way–sorry I am rambling on here–Just wanted to let them kow how much I appreciate them and their love:)) Arianna—(Mary Lopez’s daughter from Northridge)

  2. Stephanie Kerr-Chase says:

    Dear Sam and Erin, I was your brother’s Sunday School teacher at Zion when you were little. Every Sunday we would stand outside of the building waiting to get in and we would talk or you would. You were an inquisitive little one and cute as can be. I will never forget your smile and how you make me smile still thinking of those days.
    Our prayers are with you and Erin. We are so happy to see the remarkable recovery and stamina the TWO of you have. We should all be so lucky to have the love you share.
    Much love and happiness and prayers still,
    Stephanie and Dan Chase
    and Bobby Kerr

  3. Carol Calloway says:

    Dear Sam and Erin, It is so great to see the tremendous love the two of you share with each other. I am a widow myself but it does me heart good to see that love and prayer can conquer the hard spots in our lives. You two are living proof of the value of prayer. May God remain with you forever and totally heal you, Sam. I will continue to pray every day for you both until the total healing occurs. I know that it will.

  4. Hello Sam & Erin,

    The photo of you both brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart you are both truly the essence of true love and commitment. The words of a thousand poets could not reflect
    or speak of the admiration that both myself and christine have for you and your families. I love the update and hearing of sams remarkable recovery.
    All our love and prayers
    Terry & Christine Stewart

  5. Shilo says:

    Go SAM! 😉
    We miss you guys!
    Love, Shi, Steve and Isaiah (i’s or would it be eye’s)
    The Marquez’s

  6. Denny from Antelope says:

    NOW THIS (post & pic) IS A VALENTINE CARD…FROM THE LORD HIMSELF!!! (yes, I am shouting.)

    Dear Sam and Erin,
    How much you both demonstrate to each other God’s unconditional, unabashed, unequivocal, unending love. I continue to praise God for his strong, healing hand and I continue to pray for your recovery, Sam, and for your stamina, Erin, as you both witness to us a miracle.
    With much love,

  7. Dot Ascher says:

    Hello Erin and Sam,

    I am a program liaison for Kentfield Rehab and Spec hospital. I am currently in fulltime nursing school but still work on Fridays. It is because of people like Sam that I keep working for KRSH. I love what we do, I have faith in what we do and more importantly, I see results! I cannot wait to meet you in person when you grace our hospital with your presence. You will begin a new love affair! (not one to superceed your love of Erin) but you will see. This place and all who enter are very special people. All the very best for your recovery. Dr. D. will give you all she’s got…and believe me! That’s a lot! Dot Ascher, Program Liaison, KRSH and proud of it!

  8. Ed Lane says:

    Just wanted Erin and Sam to know that you both are in my prayers daily. You both are very special and your love for each other is very apparent. May God bless you both!!!!!!

    Ed Lane
    USMC 1961-1970
    Vietnam 1966-1967
    Vietnam 1969-1970

  9. Sue and Ralph Bancroft says:

    continued prayers from our family and our church family.Ralph was Sam’s cub scout leader awhile back.

  10. Barbara Sosman says:

    Dear Sam and Erin,
    Almost Valentine’s Day — and I can’t think of anything more fitting than that photo of the two of your beautiful faces.

    We’ve never met, but you have become a presence in mylife. I am a troop greeter in Bangor, Maine, and read Tony’s blog regularly. Sam is the face of this war for me, and Erin’s is the face of our country. God bless you all.


  11. Dara says:

    What a Godly inspiration you two are on how to better love and serve my own husband. I cheer you on and continue praying for you both.

    In Christ’s love,

  12. Ed Ritter says:

    There is no one more amazing than these two. Their relationship fuels my faith in love, and their reaction and recovery fuels my faith in God.

  13. Kris Abbruzzi says:

    Hey there Sam and Erin!!

    WOW what a wonderful update!!! YOU GO GET ‘EM SAM!!! And Erin, wow what a feeling it must be to be seeing more and more of the “old” Sam every day. Yes things are really happening now – with each post Sam you are doing more and more. And what a wonderful picture!!! Sorta makes my eyes “sweat” looking at it. It really is the closest thing to actually seeing Love. I never knew that was possible. A post above this says “… fuels my faith in God” – that’s EXACTLY what you guys do for me too. Such a wonderful way to put it!

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you Sam and Erin – the fact that you’re here to celebrate it is a miracle Sam!! What a special day. And hey – dude, watch those hands – you gotta wait until there’s no one around!! 😛

    God bless you Sam, Erin and your families. Hope you are having a great day and I’m sure you’re just enjoying each other and the love you have for each other on this day. Extra special Angel Hugs are coming your way today!!

    – Kris, a Soldiers’ Angel from RI

  14. Patti says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to a Very Special and Amazing Couple!! This picture represents the true meaning of this day. Thank You for sharing the Miracle that is
    Sam&Erin with all of us. Both of you, along with your families, are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Big hugs to all of you,
    The Kjenstad Family

  15. […] How to love a Marine who has been injured « Sgt. Samuel Nichols, USMC […]

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