Weekend with Erin

This weekend Erin came up to Sacramento for the baby shower of one of her (our) closest friends.  In the photo, Erin is standing next to her younger sister Allison, 20, who prepared and coordinated much of the shower.  It was so nice to have Erin spend the weekend with us.  She has such a bubbly and infectious personality—you can not help feeling better when she is around.

I can honestly say that the two girls in this picture are my (and my erin and allison at amand's baby shower_5_31_08wife’s) greatest creation.  As you have read in this blog, Erin is a very loving and faithful wife.  But her sister, Allison, is just as amazing a young lady as her big sister.  It was so fun and amazing to watch these two girls work so hard and have so much fun preparing a baby shower for one of their closest friends. 

On Friday Erin will be flying to Dallas-Fort Worth for the Brain Injury of America Care Givers Conference.  Erin and four other military wives of wounded military personal with brain injury are being given an all expenses paid trip to this conference by the people at the Wounded Warriors Project.  The special guest speaker at the conference will be Lee Woodruff who is the wife of news correspondent Bob Woodruff who was hit by an IED and sustained traumatic brain injury in Iraq while covering the war.  The family(s) will coordinate having someone stay with Sam on the days Erin is in Dallas.

As usual, Sam’s parents were at Kentfield on Saturday and Sunday hanging out with him.  I’ll let Eric give you an update on Sam’s recovery:

Hello All,

Erin got to help put on an awesome baby shower for a close, childhood friend; and as she described the food they had prepared; it made me wish I had been invited. Ha! It truly sounded wonderful…

I got to spend yesterday with Sam and Kelley spent today with him. I arrived as they were getting him into his wheelchair for a session of physical therapy. He was dressed in blue shorts, a navy blue USMC T-shirt and wearing tennis shoes. He looked like he was about to play some hoops, or a game or two of racquetball…

I accompanied them to the gym and they put Sam in the standing frame…He is 6 feet tall and holding his own around 176.5 pounds…at one point in his coma he weighed 160, down from 185 before the incident. He still has a lot of muscle in his upper arms and shoulders…As he stood there, he held his head erect and neck and shoulders back as if he were at attention. It was impressive to the physical therapist who hadn’t worked with Sam in a while, as she only works weekends. Her name is Jennifer (the physical therapist) and was asking Sam to perform some exercises in a very pointed and determined voice. Although I thought Sam seemed a little groggy and didn’t think he would respond; he slowly and very smartly raised his hand and gave her a mock salute as if to say, Yes, Ma’am! Jennifer and Ramsey (technician) and I just roared with laughter; as did Erin when I told her about it. It was so cute to see his sense of humor peek through the proverbial prison he finds himself temporarily in…

Sam_5_30_08_Kentfield After the session, we wanted to enjoy the sunshine and we went out to the deck and kind of dodged the direct sun and chased the shade for a few hours…We prayed together; and the only words I heard him say my entire visit were; “I believe in Jesus” and a prayer of “Jesus, heal me!” It still made my day…As we sat on the deck and we sat close enough to talk face to face; Sam several times laid his right arm on my forearm and patted my shoulder a few times…He was just trying to connect and let me know he has presence of mind and that he loves me…after  about 3 hours in the wheelchair; he is ready to return to his room and stretch out in his bed…there is a Rocky marathon on and when I ask him if he likes Rocky he says yes, (1 finger) and shows me a fist…maybe to let me know he is fighting…His male nurse today makes his bed with clean linen, pillows, and refreshes him with a wet wipe on his forehead, cheeks and nose…he looks comfortable and at peace…we watch the movie and I notice he is getting drowsy so I turn the sound down just a bit and quietly back out of the room. All they way home I thank God for his mercies of saving Sam on the battlefield, healing Sam from hospital to hospital, and most importantly, for what he has yet to do in Sam & Erin’s lives….

Much love till next time,


6 Responses to Weekend with Erin

  1. Karen Christensen says:

    Erin have a safe trip, grab a copy of Lee and Bob’s book to read on the way. Interesting read and many of the things they went through you and Sam are going through (or have gone through), in any event a good read. Love to you both Karen and Chip

  2. Kris Abbruzzi says:

    Hey there Sam, Erin & Everyone!

    Just stopping by to let you all know that each and every day you are all in my thoughts and my prayers. And you always will be! Have a wonderful trip Erin!! It will be a nice getaway for you, and I’m sure it will be therapeutic to meet and be with others who are in the same shoes as you. You’re going to have a great time, and Sam will be well taken care of while you’re gone! The WWP organization does so many wonderful things – they are just incredible.

    What a great pic of you and Allison – you both have the same infectious smile!!

    Jesus IS healing you Sam, yes He is! Each and every day you’re one step closer. God bless you Sam, Erin, the Nichols and Neria families. May He shower you all with the strength, peace and comfort that you need each day. And please never forget that thoughts, prayers, support and LOAD UPON LOAD of Angel Hugs come your way every day. Hope you have a great week!! Hugs to you all.

    – Kris, a Soldiers’ Angel from RI

  3. julie says:

    Hello Sam, Erin & Families!

    Absolutely great to hear about the hard earned progress being made! Love your sense of humor Sam, and your intestinal fortitude that shines through when you set your mind to doing the hard work at hand. It is really making a difference, The pictures show a strength that is gaining ground. Keep the faith. We believe in you! The conference will be awesome Erin. I’m so thankful you have the opportunity to go. It will no doubt be an amazing learning opportunity but also a spirit lift to be with others who share a similar journey. Enjoy! You all are incredible….each and every one of you in the Nichols & Neria families. God bless you all and as Kris has said already…millions of Angel hugs come your way every day! Have an awesome week.

    Soldiers’ Angel

  4. Lori Peoria says:

    A beautiful post from Sam’s dad! Still praying for you all!

  5. Lois Brauer says:

    WOW! What a testimony of God’s love, power, and healing. How awesome. Praise Him and my continued love and prayers are with you.

  6. Eric, Sam's Dad says:

    You’re so right Tony…Two gorgeous young women…The great thing about these two is that they are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside…You and Julie had girls and Kelley and I had only boys…It is no accident that our lives would intersect through our kids…God allowed you to see what an honorable son would be like through Sam, and granted us the privilege of seeing what a true Godly daughter and wife for Sam would be like through Erin; and I’m sure Ali will be the same…Absolutely one more thing to thank God for; as He (God) takes something meant for evil and turns it to good for those that love and follow him…

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