Reflection on Unthinkable Dreams

Reflections on Unthinkable Dreams

The Year That Mom Died and the Towers Fell

By Yeshaya Douglas Ballon

This book is a reflection by Yeshaya Douglas Ballon on the period surrounding his mom’s death, Jean Hymson Ballon,  September 11, 2001, the year of the Terrorist Attacks in New York City.

He describes his mom as a strong woman, a rabbis wife, her loyalty to her family, and to the ministry of her husband. Ballon reflects on her strengths and her weaknesses, and her influence on him and his brothers.

Ballon in essence concludes with the realization that his mother was a mixture, like we all are, of good and bad. Mrs. Ballon loved him, and essentially gave him the landscape of his life, which it was his responsibility to shape.

Ballon concludes how through his life he came to forgive his mom, for those things for which he felt she was responsible but concludes she was simply a human being, doing her best, and he shaped her guidance into his path.

Ballon describes our journeys with our mothers. For me, my mom loved me more than her own life. And several memories are vivid.

At four years old we were in a store, and someone taking a dress off the hanger, hooked me in my mouth, and as I bled my mom rushed me to the hospital, mothering me like a mother hen;

The final memory was when I was in the hospital, and she knew she was dying insisted on being brought to see me, and her comment was: “I know all is well with you, I have not failed.”

My mom was a mixture of the good and the bad, and through the years I resented, and at times hated her, and through facing those feelings, came to truly love and respect the gifts given to me.

Dr. Ballon concluded by giving a quote by his mom, that summarized  our journies: “The unshakable dream–you have to dream it yourself.”

It is that quote that summarizes my mom’s key teaching: To follow my own dream, to walk alone if necessary, to take whatever risk, and in so doing one’s life is fulfilled. My mom, Virgil Sims Smith, once said to me: “Find something  you love doing, and you will never work again.” That is exactly what have done. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164



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