Matt was two years old when he first held Elle. They grew up together, sat out under the night sky and looked up at the stars when Elle said she wanted to be up there with them. But Elle also watched her mother slowly die of cancer and suffer needlessly; she swore she never wanted to be kept alive by machines or to suffer a slow death no matter what.
Matt became a neurosurgeon and Elle became an astronaut and lived her dream of going to the stars. They wanted to start a family but Elle suffered from an autoimmune condition that prevented her from carrying a baby to term and suffered a few miscarriages. A tragic accident leaves Elle brain dead and on life support, something she didn’t want, leaving a grieving Matt to disconnect her when he finds out she is pregnant.
What happens next is a legal battle which pits Matt, who wants to keep Elle on life support to bring the baby to term knowing that she would do anything to have a baby, against his mother Linnie a midwife, who knows of Elle’s desire to not be kept alive under such circumstances. It puts family member against family member and starts a long legal debate as to what Elle would want knowing she is pregnant.
This is a heartbreaking book but told with delicacy that the subject deserves. It is a case of what would you do for your loved one and family. This book brought out many emotions in me as my grandfather was found on the floor after suffering a massive heart attack, which with help from the EMT’s, left him alive but brain dead. My grandmother believed that he would come out of it, but the rest of us knew better. It took 6 long and painful weeks before she decided to let him go and be at peace. It is a hard subject to write about and do it with dignity as well. It is about love, hope, faith and trust.
This is a remarkable first book that was very well researched regarding the laws surrounding pregnant women who are brain dead, which vary from state to state. I cried in parts. It’s a thought provoking book that is also, in it’s own way, life affirming. I highly recommend this book