The first time I heard Eliot Mooney's heart-wrenching story was from my friends Seth and Amber Haines, close family friends of his. At first glance, Eliot's story is tragedy and parental nightmare, a child born to live just 99 days.
Instead of becoming imprisoned by their grief, however, Eliot's parents Matt and Ginny determined to celebrate his life. In a tale of redemptive beauty, Eliot inspired them to establish 99 Balloons, an organization that ministers to others who've walked (or are walking) in their shoes.
Today I'm honored to share my little corner of the internet with Eliot's dad, Matt Mooney, who has just launched his book "A Story Unfinished: 99 Days With Eliot". You'll sense the wealth and depth of his experience in the brief post below, and I hope it moves you to support him by purchasing a copy of the book. Below his words, I'm also happy to host a giveaway for a copy. Read, then enter for your chance to win.
I vividly remember holding my son, Eliot, and thinking as never before
that I was now a witness to a miracle. I had been no stranger to talk
of miracles- having grown up around others who seemed more comfortable
than I with discussions on things that never actually seemed to occur.
Even as a child I had a certain propensity that has only managed to
grow with time; though many choose to refer to my disdain as skepticism, I much prefer the moniker of realistic.
I approach the world with doubt and people with distrust. I need to
apologize to some of you- the naturally cheerful ones- for that last
sentence, but don’t I get points for honesty? Being a child of the
Bible Belt has been tricky, indeed: this burden I did not choose and
cannot seem to shed brings glances and cast down eyes from statements I
thought we all agreed on, but apparently should not be spoken.
So, let’s just say that the fact that I came around to seeing my son’s life
as a miracle did not come easy. At 30 weeks pregnant, Ginny & I
found out from a troop of pediatric doctors that things were not good.
We would learn that the diagnosis was trisomy 18 and that such a
diagnosis typically meant that the child would not come to term and if
the child did, then the expectancy for such a fragile life would be
short- as in minutes or hours.
But I held him and beheld him. Being blessed for 99 days with what I was
not supposed to have. Each day with Eliot was a miracle. Each moment, I
quickly admitted, held more beauty and grace than I had known in all
But in all my childhood and all of my reading, there was no guidance for a
miracle that ended. It seemed to me that in the life given to my son,
God Himself had parted the seas for us. But now, these parted waters
were crashing down upon us as the end of his life approached. I could
find no template for this scenario.
What do you do when your miracle ends? When the parted waters come
crashing? Well, unfortunately I have found no quick and easy resolution
for you or for me.
I do know this. You kick and flail and float with all your might, only
to realize that the strength within you is insufficient.
The very God that did not keep the waters parted, did not leave us. It is when we are weak, that He is strong.
Matt lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he busies himself raising Eliot’s siblings – Hazel, Anders and Lena. He blogs at The Atypical Life.
To win a copy of A Story Unfinished, please share this post on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and/or StumbleUpon (preferably using the Share Buttons below), then comment to let me know how you shared it. Let's keep this REAL simple and limit entries to one/person (but to get as much exposure as possible for Matt's book launch and Eliot's story, please share as many places as possible!!). Must have a U.S. mailing address and comments will close Monday at 8am EST.