For most of us, September 11th is a national and emotional scar, but for some relatives left behind, it has also been a step into a spiritual world they never could have imagined.
Bonnie McEneaney, the wife of a 9/11 victim, has compiled the true stories of the spiritual experiences and premonitions of loved ones lost in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Read an excerpt below.
Watch the stories on "20/20" Friday at 10 p.m. ET
In February of 2002, just a few days before my birthday, I was at a small meeting in a neighboring town with several others who had lost loved ones on 9/11. A knock on the door interrupted us. It was my pastor and a police officer I knew; they were there to tell me that some of Eamon's remains had been located. I had come to accept the reality that Eamon's body would probably never be recovered. Hearing the news, I was thrown somewhat into a state of shock. When the pastor and I left the meeting together, he instinctively got into the driver's seat. We spoke very little as he drove. Vaguely I noticed a cemetery sign ahead of us. That's when I realized that the pastor had taken this route intentionally.
"Let's drive through," he said before reminding me, "You have to start thinking about this. You'll need to decide what to do with the remains. This is a lovely cemetery -- very peaceful."
Driving in the car with my pastor, I felt as if I were living in a surreal world. It was very similar to how I felt in the days after the World Trade Center crumbled -- that sense of going through the motions without really connecting to the experience. Entering the cemetery with the understanding that I might want to bury Eamon there didn't feel real. "Eamon is dead," I thought. "They have found his body." I had the sensation that we were floating. The day itself was rainy and gray with the kind of chill that goes right through your clothing. "They found Eamon," I repeated to myself. So many months had passed. How could that be? Losing Eamon still seemed totally unbelievable to me. He went to work one day and just disappeared -- poof! Just like that! Never to be seen again. I assumed that was how my children were processing everything. Daddy went to work and never came back. He simply evaporated.
As the pastor and I slowly drove through the cemetery entrance, I saw something large in the air zoom right down in front of my car. The pastor had to brake quickly to keep from hitting it. I stared in disbelief. It was a great blue heron. The bird organized his wings for a few seconds and then just stood there -- proudly holding up his head with that bluish gray crown of feathers. The color reminded me of the early morning fog that meandered through the vineyards of Northern California. He was majestic. "Oh my God," I thought. I knew that blue herons spanned a wide geographic area from Canada to Florida, but they prefer a warmer climate. To see one in our Connecticut town in the bitter, biting cold of February was not normal -- especially in a cemetery.