Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Story Unfinished: 99 Days with Eliot {A Read That Will Leave You Celebrating Life}


**Disclosure: As members of the Off the Shelf bloggers group, we received a complimentary copy of A Story Unfinished. No compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.

When I first received the opportunity to read A Story Unfinished: 99 Days with Eliot, I was not sure how this story would make me feel. In this book, author Matt Mooney takes readers along his journey of losing his young son and learning how to live in his absence. During an ultrasound, Matt Mooney and his wife Ginny receive a devastating diagnosis--that their unborn son has a fatal genetic disease. Little Eliot was expected to not live through birth. If he did, he would only survive for a few hours or days at best. However, for what would turn into a blessing for the Mooneys, determined little Eliot lived for 99 days.

Early in our lives, we learn that life is a cycle. However, we are never quite prepared for that permanent loss. Sometimes, we temper our feelings by saying "She lived a long life" or "He was very sick" or "He is in a better place now." Yet, we are never ready for the blow that we have lost someone no matter the circumstances.



Matt Mooney could have written a book about the depth of the despair he felt after losing his son, Eliot. However, he did not. Instead, he wrote a beautiful book about the gift that is Eliot. Mooney gracefully guides readers through his range of emotions from the foundations of his relationship with Ginny to first finding out he is going to be a father to the diagnosis to the surprise that is Eliot's gift of 99 days of life to loss to the long lasting gifts of Eliot that remain today. At no time did I feel Mooney keep his readers in despair. Even during Eliot's 99 days, feelings of impending loss are peppered with the every day joy of being a new parent like studying Eliot's toes. Eliot's memorial is marked with a beautiful 99 balloon release--one balloon for each day of his life. After Eliot's passing, Ginny and Matt navigate life to find their path, coping with their grief while rising above supported by their faith and strength. They eventually found 99 Balloons, a charity aimed at helping families with members with special needs. To this day, their family continues to be forged with Eliot always there.

This book is a meaningful read for all of us no matter what phase of life we are going through. Eliot's inspiration can teach us how to appreciate life, cherish the light in the world even amidst sorrow and how to journey through heartache.

Since we are Off the Shelf  bloggers for Beacon Hill, we have a special deal on A Story Unfinished  for our readers.  A Story Unfinished is regularly $15.99, but from February 1-15, 2014 you can use promo code AFWA on beaconhillbooks.com to purchase the book for $11.99.



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