The site of a hundred colored balloons in the sky might not mean much to a random passerby, but for Matt and Ginny Mooney of Arkansas, it is the ultimate show of love for their late son.
The couple first welcomed their son Eliot into the world after getting some unsettling news from their doctor. They were originally told that their unborn son would not make it, as they diagnosed him with trisomy 18, or Edwards disorder. This genetic disorder causes most babies to die in the womb or in the first few days after birth, leaving Matt and Ginny hanging on to a small shred of hope.
When Eliot was born, he had underdeveloped lungs and a hole in his heart, but his parents were simply ecstatic just to be able to finally hold him in their arms. When they took him home two weeks later, Matt and Ginny had to provide round the clock care for their son. Despite the special care, the couple were glad to be able to spend any time with their son they could, as they knew that his days were numbered.
To celebrate Eliot’s life, they decided to celebrate one year of his birthday for every day that he was with them — ensuring that he got to experience as much love and celebration as he would if he lived for decades.
Each day at 4:59pm — the time that Eliot was born — Matt and Ginny would snap a photo of Eliot with a cake or poster declaring him another year older. Sadly, Eliot’s journey came to an end on his 99th day of life. At his burial, his parents had everyone release balloons so that there were 99 floating away at the same time.
“How beautiful it was to watch. How quickly they were gone, just like you,” said Matt in a video dedicated to their son. “So today we celebrate. Although we miss you more than we could express, we’re only separated from you by our time left on Earth. See you soon, son. Mom and Dad.”
Check out the touching tribute video made to celebrate Eliot’s short life. Make sure you have some tissues nearby, you’ll need them!