A Story Unfinished – 99 Days with Eliot
Let me first start off by saying that I am not a religious person, when I was originally chosen to be a Beacon Hill Press Blogger, I did not realize that there was a religious aspect to the book. I volunteered to review the book, based simply on the beautiful snippet of the story that I had read. Upon further investigation, I realized that while I may not be able to review the book from a standpoint of faith, I could most certainly relate from being a parent, which is exactly what I did.
This a truly beautiful story, from the very moment that the story begins you are swept into the life that Matt and Ginny Mooney lived. They were young and willing to travel from place to play for a different job, or new opportunities. Life was exciting, despite not having loads of money or many friends, and then they found out they were pregnant.
As any new parents-to-be, they were shocked with the revelation, Matt even goes so far as to say “I remember checking the home pregnancy thing seven times.” I loved that line! I remember, when my husband and I first found out we were pregnant, it was kind of a huge surprise, sure we were trying, but it happened much quicker than we had anticipated. Either way, Matt and Ginny were excited, and couldn’t wait to tell their friends.
At their 21 week ultra-sound, Matt and Ginny receive some news that makes them nervous, but after some additional tests, it looks as though things will be okay. Then at the 30 week ultra-sound it is sadly confirmed that their baby had Trisomy 18. Whether the baby would make it to term or not, was unknown. I remember feeling like Matt and Ginny. Being unbelievably excited to go to our ultra-sounds, and nervously (but excitedly) holding Seamus’ hands, waiting to hear whether our baby was healthy. There were several times throughout my pregnancy where Emmett decided to be a restful baby, and not move much. It was in each of those times that I feared his heart had stopped beating. So I understand the nerves, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to be told your child would be special needs, if it was born at all.
Matt and Ginny’s strength throughout the rest of their pregnancy, and then the birth of their son was amazing. They leaned on each other, found strength in friends and used their faith to be the source of peace and hope. Based on the title, or possibly reading the story on the news, you know that Eliot was born, and was a truly beautiful baby. The Mooney’s celebrated each and every day of his life, which is just such a beautiful thing. There is nothing so moving as the birth of your child, and you want to mark each day that passes with the joy that was felt at their birth. But these celebrations were especially important because it was a medical miracle that Eliot had been born and was now living at home with his parents.
Eliot lived 99 beautiful days. In those days, they leaned heavily on each other and their friends. They had long nights, long days, and even some scares, but through it all they made the most of it. Ensuring to do things as they would with a child without special needs. On Eliot’s 99th day, he passed away.
Despite their pain and sorrow, the Mooney’s made Eliot’s funeral an absolutely meaningful experience. They released 99 balloons, to signify the 99 days that Eliot was alive on this earth.
Matt and Ginny went on to have 2 more gorgeous children, and to adopt a sweet little girl from Ukraine, whom they found through the organization they created, 99 Balloons. It is obvious, and they also mention it, but they think of Eliot everyday, and the wonderful way in which he shaped their lives. Their lives continue to circle and change, but Eliot is forever a part of their lives.
So, did I like the book? Yes, very much. It is an absolutely moving account, one that I am glad I had the opportunity to read. Would I recommend it to friends? I already have! While I was still reading it, I let a couple different people read the back of the book, and it immediately sparked their interest. One individual even stated that they’d heard the story and had watched the YouTube videos. My hope is that even more people will take interest in this beautiful story, and buy Matt’s book.
If you’re interested in connecting with Matt and Ginny, you can read Matt’s Blog here, Ginny’s Blog here and Eliot’s Blog here.
Matt on Twitter and on Facebook.
Ginny on Twitter