Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sometimes I realize how much grace surrounds this project. It's been an eventful few weeks and today brought us three new families. I will start back on the night the storm came through this region. I was heading to Olympia last Thursday to take our Llewelyn out to dinner, then was proceeding to our cabin on Hartstene Island for four days of rest and time to work on my Christmas gift projects. Rather than the usual hour and a half to get to Lew, this drive lasted over three hours and lightning struck a tree very close to my car. After a nice dinner with Lu I headed to Harstene through the storm and downed trees and power lines to arrive at our cabin, which of course had no electricity. I opted to stay the entire time as the quiet was magical and this silence seemed to be what was needed for me to move forward in the work of the project.

It had been very quiet here as we planned and pulled off the artist sale. No new families for a couple of weeks and now we are working with a new dad whose child was stillborn, plus I was alerted early this morning by a lovely friend and social worker at Children's that there were two new families with babies that would need our services today. After photographing two of my nieces and lovely baby Finnley, daughter of my wedding assistant, Dawnelle, I headed to the hospital and to work with these amazing families.

The first family's shoot went well but it was very brief, as the grief over the impending passing of their beautiful son hung so heavy in that room. I worked with the second family for over four hours, mostly waiting quietly for the doctors to finish removing this handsome little baby boy from an incredible piece of machinery that was essentially acting as both his heart and lungs. The wait was so long and nearly a dozen staff members were needed to accomplish this feat, which then led to the first time this mom had a chance to hold her son in his 30 days of life. The amazing thing was that it was assumed this little champ would not be able to hold his own, but he reminded us that nothing should be taken for granted, as when I left the hospital, his doctor had just explained that they wanted to give him a few more days to see if indeed he might be one of those survivor stories. Hold this baby in your heart and your prayers as I may never know how this all ends, but as I left the hospital, instead of sobbing, I had some peace and even slight delight as this little guy is writing his own medical story.

I want to thank my dear daughter McKenzie for being patient and supportive and gracefully giving up our Christmas shopping time together after flying home from California the night before. Time with this dear girl is precious to me but even more so when she was so kind when I had to leave her without transportation and rush to the hospital. Thanks also to my husband Doug for jumping right in to come to get McKenzie when his days are jammed with complications from the stormy weather.

I wish to thank the owners of Outcast for their amazing donation yesterday of the frames for the bracelets that Blake's mom will be making for the Soul families. This is an incredible gift with such power and meaning and I can't thank them enough for being a bright spot in a day that was otherwise looking to be filled with tension and sorrow. This is a Seattle company that does precious metal casting. One of the owners is a friend of our dear Soul child Charolette, so her gift is especially heartfelt. I also want to mention a beautiful young couple: theirs was our last wedding of a busy season and yesterday a lovely thank you note arrived with a generous donation to Soulumination. I am so touched by their thoughtfulness and by the efforts of my dear client Stasia and her daughter for sales of the Husky Nation cd. This kind of support makes this work possible and I head toward another day with a sense that the grace surrounding Soul will carry us into another year filled with growth and love and amazing families. I am posting updated photos of our new dear Emily. Her Santa hat shot melted me and I couldn't resist sharing it with all of you. In love and peace, Lynette