New York Times Portraits of Grief

Sean Gordon Corbett O'Neill

The scene: a family kitchen.

The audience: sisters, husbands, kids, friends, grandparents.

The players: Holly Devine, who chimes in while the star, her fianc, Sean Gordon Corbett O'Neill, an equities trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, bellows, dances, spices, clatters and tastes, ultimately producing a savory, crowd-pleasing dish.

"Santa Fe chicken!" shout Holly and Sean. "It's a' finger-lickin'! Whatcha got itchin?'"

The charming, exuberantly silly little brother of three sisters, Mr. O'Neill, 34, was happily stepping into his life. For years a Northeast nomad, he had finally settled in Rye, N.Y., bought and fixed up a cabin in Vermont for skiing and family holidays, and on June 2, the wedding anniversary of his parents, James and Rosaleen, married Ms. Devine.

He still had that time problem -- didn't 7 o'clock mean 10 o'clock? -- and organization wasn't his strongest point. But a Labrador-like loyalty to friends and family certainly was. So was that un-self-conscious enthusiasm: who else but Uncle Sean would grab a wave skimmer, race into the water after the 11-year-olds, crack his head, sit up laughing, and cajole the other grown-ups to try it, too?

With his newfound mix of adulthood and youthfulness, Mr. O'Neill was even getting ready for fatherhood. His and Holly's daughter is due this month: Mr. O'Neill referred to the baby as the Devine Intervention.