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. . . a memoir about healing, and a model for harvesting from the past, in order to plant seeds and leave a legacy for the future.
My mother died two days before the 9/11 attacks. Always an iconoclast, even in death, Jean Hymson Ballon found a way to make things more interesting than they had to be. With air travel halted, the rituals for honoring and mourning her death were upended, propelling my family into chaos, conflict, and deeper grief. Unthinkable Dreams—The Year That Mom Died and the Towers Fell is the chronicle of the drama, discoveries, and occasional delights that our family experienced in the months before and after our matriarch’s death.
An important part of this journey was discovering how to listen to our dying mother speak when much of her words made little rational sense. I describe the surprising emergence of my mother’s spirituality, how my relationship with her blossomed, even as her body and mind withered, and how this connected to my own spiritual journey. As I probed this difficult time, it opened my heart and illustrated how embracing compassion can move people from separation to connection, even though the route is neither straight nor continuous.