the turning of a page

by Matt Mooney

Anders is 99 days today.  This demarcation obviously carries weight in our home.  Do we celebrate or do we cry?  Well, as seems always to be the case, probably both- honestly.

The page is turned today whereby we are no longer able to contextualize Anders’ life in terms of Eliot’s.  Having been able to do the compare/contrast thing that all parents do with their children, we now enter an era where we can only wonder what Eliot would have been like at the point in time where Anders lives.

Anders would tower over his brother if they could somehow both be here on their 99th day.  All 3 of them together would be quite a site.

On our trip to New York I accidentally stumbled upon letters that Ginny had written to our children- having packed the wrong black journal for the trip.  I finally opened it and discovered my blunder in some Manhattan espresso shop, meaning to write down some thoughts, but finding myself on holy ground instead.  If you have children, I encourage you to write letters to them.  Just tell them all the stuff you want to say or maybe just document what you did that day, your hopes for them, the areas your falling short but hoping to be better.

Maybe one day, Ginny will let me put some on here, and, truth is, they wouldn’t mean half as much to you as they do to me.  But I thought I would follow her lead and tell Anders some things I know he cannot understand today, but that I hope he one day will.



Today you are 99 days old.  This is a special day in your life for your mom and dad.  We celebrate every moment that we have had you, and we do not take tomorrow for granted, although, we desperately hope to have it.

You are such a charmer.  While the circumstances surrounding you have been quite wild even before you arrived, and especially now with hurricane Hazel that always orbits near her “Andy”- you have been a calming presence, patiently waiting for attention until it comes your way.  Thank you for sleeping so good.

I am sorry that I have not gotten as much time with you as I would have hoped for.  Mom just has some assets that require you guys to be close, but my time is in the wings and it cannot come soon enough.

On this day and every one after, I want to tell you of your brother.  I want you to know him as best you can- not as a faint dream, but as a real part of your life.  I want you to hear how I love him and I miss him, and I want to you to be able to explain what Trisomy 18 is.  I want you to know that his fists were clinched and his ear was peculiar- and perfect.

I want you to see, to hear a deep pain as I recount to you the precious moments that comprise his life.  And right there beside the pain, I want you to see the blinding light of hope and joy.  If you don’t see it, you have not truly heard the story.

In every syllable, in every picture I hold, I want you to see the love that I have for your brother; and I want you to understand that it is the same love that I have for you- for your moments, for the birthmark on the back of your head, for the way you laugh at your mom’s singing.

Today is a day we cannot take for granted.

Happy 99 days, son.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Milbrandt May 6, 2010 at 1:05 pm

my heart hurts and celebrates with you So much alike in the way we have chosen to remember them. I love that connection. (do you get tired of hearing that?)

thank you again and again for being a voice and a face for those of us who are walking with you.
.-= Chris Milbrandt´s last blog ..Look what she did… =-.

shelly @naptime notes May 6, 2010 at 2:26 pm


Celebrating & crying here to too!

Leasha May 6, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Drink. It. In!

It is so funny,parents such as those who have lost and and gone on to be parents again, have numbers burned into their hearts. They are days, a period of time, a number their family should be and it is a markings of time and such. It is a symbol a branding of pain, loss and a milestone to break, smash and to celebrate over. I have those numbers too, they are bitter sweet.

Thanks for spilling my thoughts on to paper so well.

Nora Dalasta May 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Wow. I ended up on your blog after reading another woman’s blog on infertility and she mentioned your inspiring story and, well, Google did the rest. A good friend of mine has had 2 miscarriages and a stillbirth and in an effort to navigate the pain and loss she wrote a book. I don’t know but you might like it. It’s touching, funny, and ultimately inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing your incredible story with the blogosphere…

Mitch May 8, 2010 at 8:28 am

When I get gloomy, I watch 99 balloons. Thank you for reminding me how life is good. Much love to you and your family!!!!

Erin From NY! May 11, 2010 at 6:25 pm

i have journals that i write to my children in. THey each have their own. Sometimes i write about a trip or something that we did. I write on birthday, holidays, and days that i feel so overwhelmingly blessed and full of love that i have to write it all down for them to read. I write about the good times, the bad times, the joys and the struggles. I plan on giving each child their journals when they have their first child. Only then will they be able to feel the feelings that i felt when i started their journals.

Elliot will always have a special place in my heart. Always.

Matt May 11, 2010 at 9:10 pm

That is such a great idea. Thanks, Erin.

Heather May 13, 2010 at 11:32 am

What a wonderful blessing to celebrate day 100 with Anders. May you and Ginny enjoy these special memories with your little guy.

Lisa June 30, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I’m going to start writing for my kids. Journals for them both.
Our oldest is Bennett. He has Tetrasomy 18p and his birthday is July 19- is that the day before Eliot’s? I don’ think he will be able to read the journal ever but his 3 month old brother Brice will someday be able to read it and understand what his brother means to us. Maybe this will help Brice to love his brother well and not feel as weary when we are not here to take care of Bennett. I love your writing and every time I read I weep. I weep for you. I’m so sorry you are hurting. I have not lost my child to death but I grieve for him in other ways. Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart.

Matt July 1, 2010 at 8:55 am

Yes, that is the day before Eliot’s. I think your idea for writing is a great one, and I bet it does you good as well; it is always helpful to work through things and have to put on paper my thoughts. I understand your “grief in other ways”. That is a good way to describe it. Thanks for checking in.

Lisa July 8, 2010 at 3:41 am

OH, I sent you an email to your yahoo account about voting for the chromosome 18 registry to win 20,000 for research. They are really in the running. Sounds promising. Only four days left to vote. Maybe people will vote in memory of Eliot! Here’s the link. Let me know if it doesn’t work. (email me at the address above if you don’t mind)

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