Sunday, March 3, 2013

The final farewell……. Papa's Eulogy

Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others……………….. That  is how I would describe my father's journey in the last 16 months of his life. Harry, my dad, was an amazing soul who touched so many peoples lives, it is apparent by looking around this room. I am sure there is not one of you here that does not have a "Harry story" of how they met or interacted.  Whether it be about his firm yet inviting hand shake, his warm and infectious laugh, his quick wit and charm, or telling him his fly was down… It was one, I am,  sure you will always remember.  I am in awe of the fact that my father did not realize the impact he had on people's lives.  He could not understand what he did that made so many reach out throughout his illness. The reality is, he spent his life doing well by others, not because he had to, but because that is just what you do. Which in turn, is why we are all here today to celebrate him.

My father embraced his illness just as he embraced life, with humor, dignity, truth, strength, hope, and courage. He did not live in the negative, he found reason to always be positive. When the cards were stacked against him he would say " Well the bad news is I have 8 more weeks of Chemo, but the good news is they think I am going to be around for another 8 weeks!!" His life was filled with so much love and laughter. He worked hard, for himself, for his family. He loved what he did, helping people see was his God like quality, and, as he always said,  "You only get two per customer, so you better take care of them!'  I have spent the majority of my life trying to emulate him, he is someone that I am proud to call not only my father, but my friend and mentor.

  He was the truest friend you could ask for. If you came to him, he would not ask WHY, or WHAT, but HOW he could be there for you, help you. He would give you the shirt of his   back, it may come to you with a few coffee stains and some remnants of the morning's jelly doughnut, but non the less it was yours if you wanted it.. My father was the ultimate to  confide in, and I can absolutely guarantee that if you did, he took it with him. If you were to ask me, he hung the moon.

I can, without a doubt,  tell you that he is smiling and looking down on all of us right now. He is without pain, he is free. In the end, my father left the way he wanted to, on his terms, peacefully, in his bed, with love surrounding him. He opened his arms and let his angels take him home. He was an incredible son, brother, husband, father and friend. He loved his family, he adored his grandchildren, Ava and Kai, you put a smile on his heart as he told you daily, Erik, he was so proud of you, proud of the man you have become and continue to be, and mom, he loved you so deeply, you had an incredible connection to each other, I was lucky enough to bare witness to that, you were best friends and he was so thankful for you, we all are, So thankful you said "I do" 37 years ago in this very spot.... And Me, well, I know daddy, I know……. I promise to look for you in the stars at night where you told me you would be, I love you,  rest in peace, now, in your new "heaven" 

My  family and I, can not begin to express, the immense gratitude we have for outpouring of love, prayers and strength that you have all offered us.  My dad's celebration was beautiful, and he was sure enjoying seeing you all there from up above…. The grieving process is one that goes in stages. It comes in waves and I know that we will all feel his absence for a long time.  It is extremely difficult to not see his physical being,  but  knowing he is all around us leaves a sense of some comfort…… Please continue to pray for our family and send your well wishes and love, believe me they are helping… Hold your loved ones close, make sure you always are doing something that makes you happy, enjoy everyday as it is your last…..

And ALWAYS smile when when you think of Harry..


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Calling hours......

Hi Guys,

So we have decided to incorporate other traditions in celebrating my dad's life. A wake deemed a bit to hard and we felt it to be more comforting to invite you all to stop by our home Monday through Friday 7-10pm.... somewhat like a Shiva but a couple of days shy.....

As you know Harry was very comfortable at home infront of his "heaven"  so we will honor him there.  He loved you all and we hope to see you.

As always, Smile when you think of Harry!!!!!!!

29 Settlers Path, Sandwich, Ma 02563

Warm Regards,

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Harry's arrangements...

SANDWICH- Harry Caswell Jilson, 72, of Sandwich, died on Feb. 23, 2013 at his home peacefully with his family by his side. He leaves his beloved wife, Susan R. Jilson, of 37 years, his son Lt. Col Erik W. Jilson USMC, daughter Thora E. Jilson and five beautiful grandchildren, Devyn, Tristan, Ayden, Ava and Kai. He is also survived by his 4 siblings, Patty, Karen, Kurt and Keith, as well as several nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws. Harry was a UMASS Amherst graduate, owner of Jilson-Thoren Opticians, Shades of Cape Cod, and Eyeglasses One. Harry was a long time member of the Massachusetts State Board of Dispensing Opticians. He served as a Rotarian for 50 years, was a member of the Barnstable Yacht Club and the OYC, as well as The Olde Barnstable Golf Club. He enjoyed sailing, tennis, skiing, reading. He loved his family, and his grandchildren were known for putting a "smile on his heart". Services will be held at St. Mary's Episcopal Church at 1pm on Saturday, March 2, 2013, with a reception to follow in the parish hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to VNA Hospice of Cape Cod or Hyannis Rotary Club. Messages may be left at

The Late Great Harry

Shortly after I published last nights blog entry, my amazing dad let his angels take him home. He was at peace, he had my mom and myself holding his hands and he felt the overwhelming amount of love and strength from all of you that have touched his life. He was not afraid to go, he was ready to go, and he welcomed his angels as he held his hands out to them throughout the evening. The abundance of well wishes and endearing words from all of you will continue to give us strength and we welcome any stories, anecdotes, thoughts or "Harryism's" you may want to leave here on the Blog……. I would like to eventually put together a keep sake with all of these memories.

My dad lived life to the fullest and never made any bones about that. He taught me the most valuable life lessons there are, most importantly, "You better like yourself, LOVE yourself, because in the end the one person you can always count is you" He believed you must always be a man of your word, "because that is all you have, your word"…..

He kept his to me all the way until the end, ….. He promised to not "leave" without saying goodbye….. he waited for me, and as I said last night, he was unresponsive, however around 5pm he looked at me and told me he was "going", that was his goodbye……

Today is hard, tomorrow and the days to follow will be too, but eventually the pain will lessen and the missing him will continue to grow. Keep us in your prayers, believe me they are felt and appreciated.

As ALWAYS smile when you think of Harry……..

Much love and warm regards,


Friday, February 22, 2013


Well, here we are………

Sorry it has been awhile since I have wrote. We have been going along here at Casa de Jilson with not much change, well, until recently…… My dad is no longer strong enough in body to be brought to his "heaven", so for now he is resting comfortably in his bed. He has also has less ability to talk and no longer eats, but he does hear you as you speak to him and feels your love that you send to him. I am at a loss to know what to write or say at this point, as all of us have very heavy hearts for the inevitable. I can tell you that he is not in pain, I can tell you that he is in a wonderful space, and I can tell you that his Angels are surrounding him,enveloping him, and he is embracing them and is ready for them to take him home. …..

It is interesting to me to find that he does not know the force of a soul that he has shown you all, me… He has not yet, nor ever realized that he is " a pretty big deal" to me, us, he is the most amazing person on the planet…. He is in awe of outpouring of love, support, friendship, and prayers from all of you, and has been quoted as saying " I don't get why everybody has said all these kind things, or have loved me the way they say they have"….. Well there you have it, the reason why we love him the way we do…. He never did it for any other reason, loved us, was our friend, there without question or reason, just was, because , well, "that is what you do"…. that is what he did.

Please pray , please pray he reaches out for his Angels that are reaching for him, please pray for our family………………

and please, ALWAYS smile when you think of Harry…

Much love to you all,


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Hi Guys,
Sorry it has been awhile….. I guess that is good news as that shows there really is nothing new to report. Nemo found us and we were out of power for a few days, but in the end, Papa's "heaven" kept us all warm!!!

Today my dad is eating less, sleeping more and feeling a bit more weak everyday. But, no matter what, he still has that sparkle in his eyes, and a "Harryism" up his sleeve, times that you catch those you feel like everything is back to normal. Which, at this point, we all grasp to.

I hope you all continue to read the blog and leave your wisdoms for us to read and reflect upon. As always, thank you for the continued support, love and prayers, and remember to smile when you think of Harry !!!!!!

Warm regards,