Wednesday, August 13, 2014


In memory of Sean Patrick Boylan, 23Nov58 – 12Aug09
 (Eulogy)

On 23Nov, 1958, my brother, Sean was born.  By the way, that was 10 ½ months after me - if you do the math, you’ll see that we were both born in the same calendar year, which makes us “Irish twins” - can’t figure that one out;  “Irish twins”?

Anyway, when he was born he weighed in at less than 5 lbs.  It seemed he had the deck stacked against him from the beginning.  As a kid, he was awkward, uncoordinated, and had a speech impediment - he was different than the other kids.  He didn’t seem to fit in.

Sean couldn’t swing a baseball bat or catch a football.  No one wanted him on their team.  He was the last one picked, if he was picked at all.  Sometimes, Dad had to force us to let him play.

I can’t imagine what life must have been like for him.  Almost everywhere he turned he was rejected, picked on, and teased.  Even by some adults; teachers, people who should have known better!

Later in life, Sean’s search for acceptance and companionship made him an easy victim.  He was taken advantage of by people he thought were his friends.

Human beings all need certain things.  Besides food, clothing and shelter, a person needs friendship, love, the acceptance of his peers.  Sean was no exception.  Although our parents provided well for us all these things, as parents should, all too frequently he was scorned by others - myself included.

At one time or another, most of us experience loneliness and rejection, but these are the exception, temporary bumps in the road of life, rather than the rule.  For Sean, it was the rule, rather than the exception; a way of life.

It’s easy to see how under the circumstances, one might become bitter.  Sean certainly did.  At some point, however, one must stand up and take responsibility for one’s own choices and actions. In spite of mitigating factors, this applied to Sean, too.

He made a number of bad choices in his life and managed to alienate himself from most of his family.  He took advantage of, and abused, those who tried to help him.

After regaining consciousness in the hospital, something in him seemed to change.  The bitterness was no longer apparent.

Because of the medical apparatus put down his throat to help him breath, it was difficult for him to speak.  He never actually said so, but when I came to visit him in the hospital, he appeared genuinely glad to see me.

It seemed as though a burden had been lifted from his shoulders.  I didn’t get the sense that he was particularly happy, but given his illness that’s quite understandable.  Nevertheless, he seemed to be at peace, no longer harboring any bitterness or anger.

Sean knew he was going to die.  He told me he was going to make it, but I could see in his eyes he didn’t believe his own words.  After a couple of weeks, though his condition improved and for a while it appeared that he just might make it!

One of the first things he did upon regaining consciousness was to ask for a priest and last rights. There’s no telling what dreams or visions he had while he was unconscious.   He never expressed them to me if he did, or perhaps he didn’t consciously remember them.

But surely it was our mother’s (and father’s) prayers and God’s ultimate mercy and love at work that gave Sean the opportunity to make his peace.  (We should all be so lucky.)  Perhaps it was the same love and mercy that gave me the chance to see him again.

By that time, though, there was little I could do for him, except to occasionally adjust the breathing apparatus in his nostrils, something he seemed to appreciate.


So, what lessons can we learn from Sean’s life and death?  To be thankful for the gifts and talents we have been given and to nourish them and use them wisely.  To be kind and compassionate towards those less fortunate.  Not to judge others hastily, for we don’t know what burdens they bear.  To love and cherish the family and friends that are put into our lives, to quickly shed our own anger, and to forgive.

Perhaps, most of all, we can learn to be at peace in our hearts with the knowledge and faith that one day, we too will join Sean and our ancestors in a world where there is no pain, no strife, no hunger,  or disease, but only peace, tranquility, green pastures, white sandy beaches and good sailing, always.

In memoriam,

William Boylan

Adendum:

Yesterday, August 12, was the 5th anniversary of my brother, Sean's passing.  Last year on that date, I was working at Pat Mekrut's (River Shore Builders) project on Coe Ave..  That morning, I made note of Sean's passing on FB, before going to work.  Later that day, I sat in the van for a break and absentmindedly pushed the power window button for the passenger side window.  That window hadn't worked for months. But, seemingly miraculously, it worked, then! It has worked ever since.

A further mysterious unfolding of events: I hadn't seen Pat since his father's funeral, three years prior. Fred Mekrut, who died on July 10, 2010, was my best friend and the older brother I never had. On or about that date in July '13, I pulled off of RT 9 and decided to check out the commercial building going up at Coe Ave. (I never bothered with commercial jobs) Guess who the builder was; Fred's son, Patrick. At the time, I needed work and Patrick needed my services.

In my mind, these events, coupled with other extraordinary events that continue happening in my life, are evidence of the outside forces that play an integral part of our lives. There is just too much coincidence for it all to be coincidence.
(the author built the cross and column in this photo)

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