In MemoriamDerrick Jeffreys - Sept.20, 1994 - June 16, 2005. Almost eleven years. That's how long we had with Derrick. Well, to be truthful, the last three years he lived at Hilltop Home, a nursing home for children with severe head trauma and/or severe mental disabilities. Derrick died this year and was buried on Father's Day. The obituary was short and sweet. I mean, how much can you say about a little boy with mental and physical handicaps who died three months shy of his 11th birthday? Well, I have something to say, and I'm going to say it here.Derrick came to us when he was about three months old. He had cerebral palsy, hydrocephaly, was moderately retarded, and suffered from CMV (cytomegalovirus) and various and sundry other ailments. He had already had a shunt put into his head to drain excess cerebral fluid. Needless to say, his prognosis was not good. We were told that he would probably never walk, talk, feed himself or be even marginally functional. To make a very long story shorter (and because I'll probably break down if I try to recall everything), when Derrick left for Hilltop Home, he could partially feed himself, was comfortable standing while holding onto things, and could actually say about ten words. He was a happy child, even though his favorite activity was beating himself with his hand (did I mention he was also self-destructive?). We sent him to Hilltop because he was becoming stronger than The Better Half could handle on her own. While at Hilltop, Derrick learned to push his wheelchair by himself, feed himself entire meals, and was beginning to function on a marginal level. He'd never become CEO of Microsoft, but he could have led a productive life. However, the Lord had other plans for Derrick, and after a brief illness and a failed shunt revision, he suffered irreversible brain damage. The Better Half and I were allowed to be there when they shut off his respirator, and Derrick quietly went to the Lord, surrounded by his foster parents and his teachers from Hilltop.I couldn't let Derrick's legacy just be a three paragraph obituary. He touched too many lives in the short time he was here. All of us who knew Derrick will remember his smile, his laughter, his enjoyment of the simplest tasks he would undertake and accomplish, and most of all the unconditional love he showed everyone. Rest in peace, little warrior; your struggle is finished. We shall miss you.
A small town guy from North Carolina trying to get by in the modern world with caveman viewpoints.