Friday, May 26, 2006

Each week brings its own rewards and sorrows when working with a mission such as ours at Soulumination. I am sad to say I'm sorry I never got to meet baby Noah, but am so thankful for the fact that his parents have so selflessly donated enough funds to pay the costs we incur for the next Soul family. To think they took time to think of others in this way speaks of the legacy they are building for their son and it moves me completely.

I also want to mention the loss of yet another woman to ovarian cancer. She leaves this life after fighting the battle for an amazing three years. She was a dear friend of our supporter and volunteer Kari, and her passing touches so many lives. I just received the latest photos of my new friend Camari, who is fighting her second bout with breast cancer. These photos are the latest in a series we are recording and show her in her firefighting gear. I hope to put up a nice collage of the work at some point in the near future. The triumphs with Camari and the loss of Patti just keep fresh in my mind that in the future we will work out a project to benefit research in these devastating cancers.

Tuesday was such a highlight for me as a new Soul family arrived from California and were brought to my studio by local photographer Susan Doupe, who is a volunteer with Soulumination. This vibrant group included the mom and dad, older brother and sister, Taryn the four-year-old who suffers from a mitochondrial disease and her vivacious two-year-old sister. The entire family radiates love and care for this darling girl who does not speak or hear. She is so full of smiles and has such a gentle and sweet demeanor. We had the best time together and I have been so touched by the lovely emails that I have received from the father. We hope to have photos ready for them by midweek and I am posting today a photo that the dad sent of me playing with Taryn after the shoot.

You can also see photos that were released by Skylar's family. He is the little guy who suffers with SMA Type 11/111. I met him last week and am so happy to say that the family is looking forward to taking him home from the hospital sometime soon. I peeked in his room today as I was leaving the hospital, but he was sleeping and I did not see his mom in his room at that moment, but he looked so darling as he is one handsome little person.

Tonight I am trying to relax and calmly deal with feelings that are so flooding my heart. I got a call this afternoon asking if I could come to Children's almost immediately. There was time to deliver film to the printer and grab lunch on the run, then I was at the hospital in an hour and a half. My morning had started with the most engaging three-year-old client. Ben is new to my business and came with a yellow lab and two very personable parents. Ben and I had a rousing morning and ended up in the courtyard with him being pulled around on one of my office chairs, first by me and then by the dog. We laughed and had just the best time while his parents and I talked about the project. It was only an hour after this smiling whirlwind named Ben left that the hospital call came through. The beautiful seven=year-old I met was so tenderly attended by her mom, dad, and older sister. This little spunky girl loves horses and is a dancer. She was surrounded by many stuffed horses and had very recently spent an entire afternoon riding a friend's pony. It is hard to imagine that her life is at its end when she had been such a spirited child so very recently. The loving older sister especially touched my heart as she was reading to this lovely child and taking special efforts to be sure she was positioned nicely and that her skin was kept soft with lotion. One of the many things that I take when leaving such a family is that we all must live each day fully, we must not take our loved ones for granted and we must honor each life with an open heart and not shy away when things become just so very sad. The two children I photographed today were both a gift in my life, one with energy and vitality to burn, while the other so near the end of life, but equally compelling. The lessons are hard, but the joy of each child shines through the tears and I am so blessed to have been entrusted with recording such beautiful spirits.

I need to say that the requests are coming faster, the word spreading so that parents are becoming aware of the possibility of Soul photos. Please remember that with this increase, the cost of running this is continually rising. Please let me know if you have ideas about possible grants or other means of fundraising. I worry so much about this part of it as I never want to turn down a request. So far we are hanging in there but the stress of funding wears on me and I so badly want to feel that it will all work out. In general I trust that if we honor each family in the best way possible, then the money will follow---let's hope so.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend, in love and peace, Lynette