New York Times Portraits of Grief

Dennis J. O'Connor

Dennis J. O'Connor was the oldest of the three O'Connor boys, and part of a family that liked to be together. For birthdays they all went out to dinner in the city, to an Italian place they all loved. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, the boys always made their way home to Stony Point, N.Y., and the rest of the year everyone spent hours and hours on the phone, talking, laughing, catching up, making plans for the next dinner or drink or evening at Yankee Stadium. When Christopher, the youngest, married a couple of years ago, he asked both of his brothers to be best men at the wedding.

One December, asked what was on his wish list, Dennis O'Connor Sr. responded: "I'd like the gift of time." Time with each of his children, he explained, for him and his wife, Charlene.

Dennis, who was 34 and an equities trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, took his mother to the Cirque du Soleil. He raised a glass in a Midtown bar with his father.

One day he asked his mother to meet him in the city, saying, "You know, Mom, I never get a chance to take you to lunch."

The lunch was lovely, she said, as was everything else about Dennis, who called her every morning at 9:28 so she could hear the bell ring for the opening of the stock exchange. "In 35 years," Mrs. O'Connor said, "I had a better relationship with my son than most people have in a lifetime."