We buried him on 9-11. He had died just two days earlier. It was later that I understood that he was helping the souls who had to pass over that day.
Sean, my neighbor down the street, was only 16 when he died after a heroic battle with cancer. His family belonged to Shirat Shalom which was only a few years old at that time.
I often talked to his mother afterwards of the lessons I learned from Sean. I guess the main one was that when G-d calls I need to listen. When a month before Sean died I was told to form a healing circle with the neighbors, I argued about this. My neighbors were of all different faiths! How was I supposed to do that! Knock on doors? I only knew how to do Jewish healing circles! This was also twenty years ago when people weren’t as open as they are now.
Of course I had no peace until I took action. The opportunity came the next day when a neighbor down the street stopped to talk to me. She was a devout Christian and loved the idea!
So we began our prayer circle at her house which was right across the street from Sean's family. Each night as we would gather the circle became larger. We were of all faiths, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Native American. As his many friends began joining us people just seemed to come out of the woodwork. We all celebrated as Sean began to improve!
But then as that changed I understood the purpose of the circle. It was to help the family and all who loved him accept that this was Sean’s time. Sean already knew. He understood the healing circle was really for all of us.
His funeral was in the afternoon of that fateful day of 9-11. We wondered if everyone would still come but the chapel was overflowing with people spreading into the halls and outside. We were all there for Sean and the family but also for ourselves in response to the news. We didn’t have the full picture of what happened and were in shock still. We weren’t allowed to release the balloons at the internment due to security. This may be seen as another attack!
My father had called me that morning. Turn on the TV! My first reaction was to go and get my daughter from school. Many parents did. My son was already in college. I wanted to bring him home too but talking to him had to suffice.
I would often feel Sean’s presence over the next few years, especially during healing circles. I would watch in amazement how there would be profound shifts in people who were grieving loved ones. And yes, his mother and I understood as we would talk how powerful he really was. We both knew without a doubt that he was there that day of 9-11 and beyond helping souls cross over.
Throughout the years the children have asked why his name is on the Torah cover. I explain this is in memory of Sean. Then I tell them his story, just as I have told you.....
Sean's mother always tells me how the pictures of the children holding the Torah with "Sean" so close to their hearts brings her such comfort and joy! It brings me Joy too!
Rabbi & Cantor's Messages
Infinite Child Institute
Give a Donation