Edward J. Derbyshire

Poetry Corner: 'My Day as a Hospice Nurse'

Edward J. Derbyshire, of Philadelphia, PA & Wilmington, DE 62yo on October 12th 2004; when his battle with Familial Amyloidosis ended.

Edward J Derbyshire, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Catherine and Martin Derbyshire. Edward was the youngest of 4 children. His sister, Anita, passed in her early childhood and his two older brothers continue to reside in North East Philadelphia.

Raised by his extended family, due to his mothers death when he was only 2, Edward was loved by everyone! His personality was truly one of a kind. He was an expert of many things and even if he wasn't, he would say he was. He was a graduate of Father Judge High and Lasalle University. "Ed", as most called him, was an athlete and a scholar, but best of all he was a great man.

Handsome, charming, and looking to settle down, he met Bonnie Smith of Wilmington, DE at about age 30. They married and moved to Wilmington, DE shortly after having their first son, Kevin. Following Kevin, came 3 more children, Mathew, Anne, and Andrew. As a father, Ed gave it all he had. He was a pinch hitter coach in baseball, he was a tutor for homework, he was the weekend adventurist, and best of all he was always there for his children. His career was book sales, and as I am sure all the "bookies" would tell you, he was great at it! He sold mainly educational materials as well as maps and encyclopedias. This focus of education, he impressed on all four children as well as any child in need of a few good books. Edward was truly a humanitarian.

Divorced in 1993, Edward met Kathy Griffin in the late 1990's. Kathy, an nurse in New Jersey, said "I do" in a small ceremony to Edward in October of 1999. Kathy became an angel of life to Edward, as his health started to decline from a disease we now know to be Familial Amyloidosis. Started with loss of feeling in fingers and toes as well as food intolerances and a need for a pacemaker in his mid 50's. As the disease progressed, and the need for a diagnosis increased, Kathy and Edwards children did all they could with as many specialists as possible. Unfortunately, it took about 6 years of decline, before our diagnosis came. What a horrible one to get ; Progressive, incurable, genetic! It couldn't have been any worse.

Through hospice, prayer, and a whole lot of soul, Edward pressed through on a day to day struggle to survive. Perhaps one of the best moments was when he fell asleep. As his care giver and daughter, I knew only then could he truly rest.

Which brings me my fathers passing away and the reason for this memorial testimony. To keep his spirit alive, to raise money and awareness for this terrible disease, and to hold on to the memory of the only father I will ever know, besides the one in heaven. I can't wait to see him again, but until I do, I will see a cure to this disease.

Anne Derbyshire BSN, RN
Wilmington, DE
Jan 2006