I want to thank my friends, Susan, Kari and Sidni, for spending time with me this past week to make the lovely photo albums that our Soul families receive. Not only did they take time out of their busy lives to create these lovely gifts, but Susan has donated most of the supplies. These women bring talent, laughter and joy into my life, and I am so thankful for such caring friends.
I have an opportunity coming up to speak with the nurses at Harborview. I will be honored to learn from the staff at this facility that offers care in such a different way from our other hospitals. I know I will learn about the idea of legacy when there has been trauma and something tells me it will be a powerful experiance and may lead to many new insights.
I had a most wonderful time speaking at Meadowdale High School. My friend Jeremy Leffel is one amazing teacher, plus he had invited his friend, who is an administrator at the school and who lost her son five years ago, to attend the class. This wonderful mom had such powerful words to share about her experiance and about the fact that she did not have the services of Soulumination. I am printing the letter below so you can see into the thoughts of someone who deals daily with the loss of her precious child:
" Your photographs are a gift that keeps giving....a picture to illustrate a family’s story. I know that you have received many messages on what it means to have been blessed with your photography, so my thoughts are from the opposite end of the spectrum - what it feels like when you have not been blessed by Lynette Johnson. The most simple explanation – it is a children’s story book without pictures.
Parents who have experienced infant death are invisible. It is a story that is written that is never published. It is a story that can not find an illustrator. My story is in my heart and what I have is not a book or a picture, but instead a gold ring engraved with my son’s name “Luke” and on the inside his birth date (2/17/01) and death date (3/5/01). To me, I feel like I will die an author that was never known. My gold ring will hopefully live on and I pray that my son remains a part of our family story. It is hard to know if he will because he is missing from the pictures taken during family vacations, family gatherings, holidays, and family portraits – it will be easy to forget that my daughter has 2, not 1, younger brothers and that my son has an older brother in addition to his older sister. My story is not written because I choose not to write it, but rather because there is no one to read it. As you know, newspapers, television producers, even Oprah, will not touch this topic because it is “too depressing.” Unfortunately, as one of those parents I was never given the option of not losing my child because it would be too sad, yet everyone else gets to choose if they want to hear it?
Thankfully, for Lynette, there is a voice to our grief and a picture to our story. I am regretful that Lynette did not come into my life 5 years ago when I was in Children’s Hospital and the day that my son died in my arms on my couch. However, I want to celebrate for those parents whose family story has a picture! It is because of Lynette that these parents are no longer invisible. As a matter of fact, she has made the parents' story visible and the child’s life is now being shared and even celebrated!
........... you choose to care about something that you do not need to care about. You choose to validate a life that our culture forgets. You choose to care about the broken hearts of parents when no one else believes their heart is broken. You are bringing national attention to people stricken with grief and as a result making every one of them learn that they are not alone, they are not invisible. Your passion and your empathy are unforgettable – simply remarkable!
I will share your volunteer opportunities and fundraising opportunities with our Seniors, as well as my friends and family.
Tomorrow we are honored to have a family travel from California who has a lovely daughter with Mitochondrial Disease, so rare no other has been diagnosed in the world. They are bringing their three other children and I will take photos of the entire family.
My life is full of so many opportunities to be of service and of course I could not continue without the great staff of Christine, Sarah and Auni, plus my great board members, friends, family and donors. I am so thankful to Microsoft for their matching funds program, I am hopeful that each year more of their employees will discover our project and be moved to give. I hope you are sharing our video of the work and salute once again, my amazing friend June who produced this wonderful piece. Today I am posting photos of one of the new Soul children. Her name is Echo and her stunning eyes will let you see how perfect it is that we call these little ones our Soul children or angel babies as her eyes are so very beautiful and soulful. In love and peace, Lynette