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,

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Super Bowl Sunday and there is a Comeback!!!

Hi guys, I know it has been a few days, but I want to make sure this blog stays interesting and fresh and not the same old doldrums of the day. The topic to start with today is Prison … My father very politely mentioned on Thursday that he was living in a prison, a nice one, but yet still a prison. I imaging that not leaving your everyday space would become exactly that after a while, so I get it… I will say though, Casa de Jilson is not your typical prison, there are no restrictions when it comes to visiting hours, the wardens offer wonderful snacks and beverages when you come and the only time you may be frisked is when you go to leave. Although, I would not let that deter you from visiting, as the junior warden only hits most people at the mid thigh with her height along with the only thing she is guarding is Papa's Smarties (his favorite candy), so most are safe!!!

We have got through the week unscathed and still are staying the course of Papa sitting in his "heaven" and not doing much more. Erik and his middle son Tristan came to visit on Friday and that gave my dad a huge smile on his face. Always a great sight for us to see. Erik will be here until this coming Friday but brought Tristan to the airport today to go back to Virginia, as he has school to attend to. The Super Bowl as you all know seemed uneventful and yet became a GAME in the last quarter and a half. Papa enjoyed most of it surrounded by his family, good friends,a plate full of Guacamole, Oysters and Kool-aid, and of course as ALWAYS Smarties, the super food of champions!!!!

At this point he is still resting comfortably, and always loves to see his friends and family. Please don't ever hesitate to call or come over. Your visits and conversation are always welcome even if he nods off at times during it!!! We continue to welcome your prayers, well wishes, comfort and love.

Please remember to Hold your loved ones close and ALWAYS smile when you think of Harry!!!


Monday, January 28, 2013

What's new..

Hi All,

Sorry it has been awhile since I have wrote….. Believe it or not things have been a bit quiet around these parts and that deems to be a good thing. My dad has brought back his dazzling sense of humor and quick wit with a few off color remarks here and there which makes us all happy because it gives us and him moments of perfect clarity. Papa's blood pressure remains a steady low, but not alarmingly low. He continues to indulge in the Food Network channel and as recently as Sunday had my mom up with the rooster to make bread…. Cravings.. that is what determines the day, not a bad thing, as the bread was so delicious and warm. Thanks for that one dad!!!!

Please continue to come and visit, whether it be the blog or our home. He is ALWAYS happy to see old friends, we ALL are actually….

Keep us in your prayers and know that we cherish each of you, and don't forget to smile when you think of Harry!!!!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The News….

Good Evening,

Today was beautiful, bright, shiny and warm… looking out from the inside that is!!! Although the air was chilly enough to make you want to hibernate, Dad was up and alert and actively engaging throughout the whole day. Something that we have not seen for awhile!!! Brenda his nurse's aide came. She and my dad did their cat and mouse routine of "lets get you in the shower", and "it's to cold to take a shower", in the end, he get's clean then, complains that she made him cold and they are friends again!!!! School yard antics at there best, but we will take them all the same!!!!

My dad's brother Keith drove down from Monson, Ma. this morning and spent the day with us as well as a dear friend Sheila, followed up with an evening visit with Alicia Mathewson… It is alway neat when the least expected characters all end up in the same room and magic happens. Aunt Mary ( my mom's sister and side kick) made a final farewell ( she leaves back to Berkeley, CA tomorrow) dinner of Spagetti and sauce and we all enjoyed a warm meal on a bitter cold night.

As we were winding down the evening Papa had mentioned that he would like to start to cook again, a great thing to hear since he has not been in the mood for awhile… Mom told him he had to start walking first… in his best "Harryism", " what does that have to do with cooking?" He for sure found his sense of humor today, I would repeat some of the other one-liners, but at the chance of maybe offending a few folks I will keep them safe with myself and laugh out loud when I think of them!!! I am sure ya'll can conjure up a few of them on your own!!!

He will have a restful sleep after an action packed day, and he is still without pain. I left him with a smile on his face tonight and I hope you all go to bed with one to after thinking about Harry!

Good Night everybody and thanks for loving my dad XO


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Goings on

It's 8 O'clock and all is well…..

We had a snow storm last night that promised to be a doozy and this morning it proved to be nothing more than a huge let down, for the kids at least….. School was not cancelled and everybody went back to business as usual. I came to the house and found Papa in his "heaven" ready for the day. Linda Power, a dear friend from years past came to visit, as well as the Hospice nurse and Libby our Pastor from St. Mary's. Dad has never had the fortune to meet Libby until now but thoroughly enjoyed her and her visit, actually, we all did. Today has been not filled with as many naps and more alert time which is great, however, tonight and tomorrow dad will feel the effects of that. Dad had a beautiful plate of Barnstable Oysters on the half shell, (his favorite) and a fresh Kurig cup of coffee… At this point he has had a bit of pain in his back but it could be mainly be from sitting and his blood pressure was a bit lower than normal, … either way we made him comfortable gave him more fluids and he is now nibbling on some Key lime pie (another favorite).

Not to much more to report, he is relaxing and surrounded by love, family and friendship. Please feel free to leave messages for him here, as we will read them to him, and thank you for your continued support and prayers.


Monday, January 21, 2013

afternoon update

Hi there,

Well we got through the game last night and when it was all said and done, my mom came into the room and asked my dad what he thought happened… he responded simply "the other team won" , A Harryism at its best!!!!! He had an uneventful evening and a good nights sleep.

This morning Brenda the nurse's aid came to hang with Papa, and my mom got a chance to get out for some fresh air and I am sure reflection. Our afternoon has been nice as Dad is hanging in his favorite leather chair in front of the roaring fireplace. His version of heaven thus far!!! He has enjoyed the random visits of friends today as well as he is surrounded by the sound of four excited girls running around.… Not mention the same old mugs that here everyday ( mine included) .

At this point there is no new news regarding a health update, other than, he is sleeping more, he is comfortable and at peace.

More tomorrow……….


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dad, mom & Thorie at Pat and Jenny's Wedding Sept 2012

Hi All,

Thorie here.. We are setting up a site for all of you to come and visit, comment and read. As you all realize by now, my father stopped updating about his chemotherapy appointments and weekly activity during this past years events. Hopefully as I fill you all in, I am able to do him proud and justice with my updates, anecdotes, and quick wit.... and not to many run on sentences!!!

As it stands now, my father has decided to forgo chemotherapy as he is getting weaker and it proves to be very hard on the body and wreak a bit of havoc. Hospice has now entered our lives and we are all surrounding my dad with family strength. He continues to show his "harryism's" everyday in some form or another, a one liner or continued desire to have anything involving heavy cream!! He is sleeping more and is not in pain, just peaceful.  That is all I have for now, but I will return tomorrow with more info. Please keep us all in your prayers and smile when you think of Harry!!!!


Papa and Kai

Warrior Face!!!

Harry and Sue at Kai's Christening

Dad's 72nd birthday

Harry Watch Hill

Harry Watch Hill Newport RI at Ocean House

Harry and Sue

Harry and Thorie - Burke

Harry and Thorie ~85' Burke Mountain Vt.