Jeff Boland Tribute
Our Sweet Brother Jeff
(Eulogy by his sister Jenifer)
On behalf of my family I would like to deeply thank all of you for joining us today and for everyone who over the past month has given us a level of support and generosity that is simply overwhelming and heart warming. We would not have been able to give Jeff the peace and comfort he experienced all the way until his passing without your kindness and prayers. We are here today in the memory of our brother, Jeff, so that together we may share both our joy in the gift that his life was to us, and the pain that his passing brings. In sharing the joy and the pain together today, may we lessen the grief and remember more clearly the joy and celebrate his life.
Jeff was just 44 years old when he passed away on Friday at his home. He was born in Philadelphia and he spent his life here in Milford. As most of you know, Jeff was a very quiet person. He never liked to have anyone’s attention focused on him and really would not enjoy all the attention today.
One of my memories of him that makes me smile was when he was about 10 years old and he was participating in special Olympics. We all went to see this big event, Jeff down on the track…… his family in the stands. The race started and we all started yelling and cheering for Jeff… but Jeff was not liking that… sooo he quickly stopped, told us all to be quiet and stop yelling…. by then the sprint had ended… but I was so impressed by that moment – he was Jeff and he was sure to tell us what he thought… Jeff was a very funny unique young man who loved his shows and characters. He loved Wonder Woman and as we waited for the school bus we would see him walking down the street twirling his lasso – how he even figured out how to tie a lasso at 8 years old still escapes me… but Wonder Woman was his all time favorite show and this past month as he battled his illness, it was Wonder Woman DVD’s that played on a constant loop in his room – as many who visited him know. It brought him comfort. He loved to torment Megan and I but was able to do it when we would least expect it…. His favorite was to quietly say in one of our most important moments or events – that we had a hole in our dress.
Even a year and a half ago on Megan’s wedding day, as she took a deep breath, looked in the mirror and was ready to walk out the door – Jeff says – “Megan you have hole in your dress, a hole in your dress”. And just as we both have done the other 5,000 times he did this, she gasps, looks and then says JEFF!!! And he giggles…. It always worked and he loved it… it also never failed that after he left the room we would ask each other – is there really a hole in my dress? When Cullen was born Jeff was 6 years old and I am pretty sure Jeff breathed a sigh of relief as the balance of power in the house shifted….. the two formed a bond of brothers that I truly hope to see in my own two boys. Jeff was always peaceful and empowered next to Cullen – partly because he knew Cullen would tell Megan and I to stop nagging him but also because the love between them was at a level we would never understand. They shared a room for many years, watched cartoons together, loved playing games and as Cullen grew older Jeff grew up with him – Cullen was Jeff’s role model on how to be a man – it was Cullen who shaved him, made sure his tie was tied when needed and just watched out for him.
There were very pivotal moments in Jeff’s life – working so hard to feel the balance and learn to ride a bike, or hours and hours of lessons to learn to ice skate like the rest of us – but none more pivotal then when my parents decided to enroll Jeff in the Life Experience School when he was 13. It was then that Jeff went from an adolescent, to a young man, to a strong, peace loving person. Lewis and Meg, their children and all the teachers and students at the Life Experience School where Jeff’s second family. He loved going to school, every day for the 31 years he attended – he was up on time and waiting for the van. If school was canceled or it was a holiday – Jeff would be mad – the complete opposite of snow day reactions.
LES gave Jeff independence (from us – which we learned not to take personally), friends, work and experiences that rounded out his life. And as his siblings lives expanded, getting married and moving away, Jeff’s relationship with our mother also evolved into a partnership and deep friendship – it was not uncommon to hear them bickering these past few years. And we loved to hear him when he would snap back – usually with a dramatic response like – “you are not my mother” J As we all have prized possessions, Jeff had his – her name was Lucille his beloved guitar that went everywhere with him – even when there was no room in the car and she was not invited. Jeff sat for many long car rides to Philadelphia with the guitar case wedged between his legs, and Megan screaming every time it hit her in the head…… Jeff’s guitar is with him now and will be for eternity. Jeff shaped us in many ways and his fingerprints are all over our lives today.
As our brother, he imparted onto us invaluable qualities… as young children– he gave us an early understanding that everybody is different,….as teenagers – he gave us tolerance and the lesson not to judge and into adulthood – he gave us acceptance, peace and love. We would not be the people we are now if Jeff was not our brother. So today the sun shines through the clouds as we picture his sweet smiling face among the angels, no longer in pain. It is those left behind that must deal with the pain and loss we feel and while they are considerable, we can take comfort in knowing that he is where he is supposed to be, and one day the hope that we are blessed to see him again.
When we remember what a fun person Jeff was we can’t help but smile, and as much as I am hurting today I know he is in a better place. I want us all to remember to laugh and smile, and have fun every day, because we only get one life, and if we learned anything from my brother, we learned to enjoy our lives all the time because we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. In closing I would like to share a verse from Jeff’s favorite song, a song he played EVERY DAY, for months and years on repeat during his showertime. Poigniantly, he had asked Cara who played guitar from hospice if she could play this for him on her next visit which was supposed to be today – and we want him to hear it one more time: From the Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston:
I decided long ago
Never to walk in anyone’s shadow
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believed
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself, It is the greatest love of all
WE LOVE YOU JEFF.
JEFF BOLAND PASSES AWAY
Mr. Jeffrey Boland, 44, of Milford MA, died Friday (December 6, 2013) at his residence surrounded by his loving family after a courageous battle with cancer. Mr. Boland was born in Philadelphia PA, the son of Catherine (Bringhurst) Boland of Milford MA and the son of James Boland of Cape Coral FL. He attended the Life Experience School in Millis MA for many years and was a proud member of the Special Peace Corps of Millis. Mr. Boland loved playing his guitar and spending time with his family, also with his dog “Otis” and at his school. Along with his loving parents, he is survived by his 3 Siblings: Jenifer, wife of Michael Reed of NJ; Megan, wife of Eria Morrison of Milford MA and Cullen Boland and his wife Patty of Watertown MA; also his nephews Gavin Reed and Keegan Reed; and his niece: Ella Boland. His funeral will be held Thursday (December 12th) at 9am from the Edwards Memorial Funeral Home, 44 Congress Street, Milford MA followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10am in St. Mary of the Assumption Church, 19 Winter Street, Milford MA. In accordance with his wishes, cremation will follow. Visiting hours will be held Wednesday (December 11th) from 4pm to 7pm.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Life Experience School, 16 Lavender Street, Millis MA 02054.
Thank you for your contribution in loving memory of our dear Jeff.