Interview with Founder of Soulumination
When a loved one faces a life-threatening illness, our hearts and souls are heavy with the intensity of the situation. Soulumination’s mission is to capture the lives, and the vivacity of children and their families, who are facing life-threatening illnesses by providing life-affirming professional photography, free of charge. Soulumination is currently running a campaign through February 16th where you could give as little as $6 and make an impact to this heartfelt causes mission. Please join my team and give what you can at https://seeyourimpact.org/members/kellymcn/.
I am proud to have served as Board President of Soulumination for two years and I have continually supported Soul for over 10 years. I am honored to know and love my dear friend and founder of Soulumination, Lynette Huffman Johnson. Here are her beautiful words in a recent interview.
Wf1: What was your inspiration in creating Soulumination?
Lynette: The memory of photographing my infant niece Lainie after her death, plus the experiences shared with me by one of my best friends who lost her infant son, and the beautiful memory of working with a child with Tay Sacks caused me to offer my services to families at Seattle Children’s Hospital thru their palliative care team. These three children and the powerful memories I have captured of my own healthy daughters have been the driving force in the creation of Soulumination.
Wf1: Who does Soulumination serve?
Lynette: We work with families whose children have life threatening illnesses and are between birth and 18 years of age. We also serve adults at the end of life that will be leaving behind children between birth and 18. We expanded to include adults after the loss of three wonderful moms that were my business clients, and who left behind 6 beautiful children.
Wf1: Can you tell our community about an experience with Soulumination that elevated your spirit and inspired you to continue the work of Soulumination?
Lynette: After working with a talented and vivacious 12 year old, connecting with her through art and photography and becoming close friends in a very short time, I was asked to speak at her memorial. It was a powerful experience in itself to realize what a difference Soul could make but shortly after the memorial a letter arrived in the mail. It contained a beautiful handmade card from the last art class she had attended with her mom. Inside was a letter stating that the enclosed check was her savings account and that her parents knew she would want me to have it so we could move forward to serve other families. From this friendship and amazing donation I knew we were going to be able to create memories for families thru photography that were meaningful in ways only a bereaved family can fully appreciate.
Wf1: We at Women For One work strive for authenticity while also encouraging our community to do the same? What is your personal definition of authenticity?
Lynette: Facing life with an open heart, not judging, seeing the beauty in each individual, realizing that we can learn and grow thru the wisdom of others and that each life is valuable whether long or short is how I view authenticity.
Wf1: How has the work of Soulumination touched people?
Lynette: I feel we are opening hearts – to help those who watch friends or families experience loss to be able to communicate sorrow in an open way by simply saying they are sorry. I think we are showing that it is possible to offer an appropriate part of ourselves to others who are grieving without fear and with no strings attached.
I also think that people have watched the idea of Soul grow and become established, and that they realize from this that they too can create something meaningful that is needed in society.
Wf1: How can our community support the work of Soul?
Lynette: There are practical ways of supporting Soul: thru volunteering, donating, telling others about our work, or even liking us on FB or following on Twitter helps us build a loving and caring base of support.
But in more subtle ways, if you know of someone who is facing the loss of a child or parent in the Seattle area be aware that we are available free of charge. If you know talented photographers in Seattle please tell them about us and maybe they will want to work with us or encourage others around the globe to consider forming a group to provide legacy photos.
Wf1: What few words or piece of advice do you have for the Women For One community?
Lynette: If you know of someone who has lost a child please remember to simply say you are sorry and not to compare this loss to others in your own life. Let them tell their story if they would care to without trying to offer advice. If the parent or child wants to talk often about the person they are grieving please listen and let them have the opportunity to just reminisce.