The idea for my website came after our precious son Rufus died at 5 days old in 2011, I realised how hard it was for us, our family and friends to find cards and gifts that are supportive, express what's in our hearts and show bereaved families that their babies or loved ones are remembered and always loved. So as an experienced graphic designer, I turned my creativity to making handmade cards and gifts in the hope of bringing a little comfort to anyone affected by the loss of a baby, child or a loved one. I would love to share these with you and, from someone who understands this loss first-hand, offer beautifully handcrafted and personalised products as a wonderful tribute to those we miss every single minute of every day.
“When a white feather appears out of nowhere, it’s believed to be a sign from a guardian angel or someone who’s passed on, to show they are watching over you and that you are not alone”.
I believe in little white feathers, I've collected many since losing Rufus, some float down completely out of the blue, or appear in the strangest of places or under bizarre circumstances! They are truly special gifts – of love, hope, strength, guidance and healing in our lives - and definitely when we need them most. A comforting sign that our loved ones are always with us.
... and so 'LittleWhiteFeathers.com - Handmade Gifts to Remember' was created.
I would love to share my website with you and, from someone who understands this loss first-hand, offer beautifully handcrafted and personalised products as a wonderful tribute to those we miss every single minute of every day.
LittleWhiteFeathers.com helps me on my 'grief journey' and to feel closer to Rufus – the inspiration for this website came to me because of him, because we had him, he was ours and he lived... and my passion to bring comfort to others is because of my love for him - our precious baby boy.
There is nothing more utterly devastating than the loss of your child and sadly it's experienced by far too many parents, including ourselves. In 2010 after 4 IVF cycles, we fell pregnant and were incredibly excited to be having our long awaited and much wanted baby. During an impromptu scan at 18 weeks, it was detected that a blockage in the tubes to his bladder had damage to his kidneys (this only occurs in males, statistically 1 in 8,000 baby boys) which meant our son could need dialysis from birth – the extent of the damage, however, could not be determined at this early stage and so we were referred to our local Fetal Medicine Unit in Bristol for further investigation.
Routine appointments every 2-3 weeks became a roller coaster of worry, hope, disappointment, information overload, relief, tears, smiles and heartbreaking emotions - however our consultant remained hopeful that the kidney damage was slight and could possibly be controlled with medication once our son was born. Rufus was growing well and seemed to be at the better end of the scale but we still prepared ourselves for every possible outcome - we met with kidney specialists, visited the Children's Dialysis Unit and met the NICU team who would care for him once he was born. Everything was in place to give him the very best start in life.
Rufus George Smith arrived into the world on 16th January 2011 at 40+3 weeks but it was immediately apparent that he was struggling to breathe and was rushed straight to NICU. On further investigation the consultant confirmed that as well as his lack of kidney function, his lungs were also extremely underdeveloped. Despite every effort made by the medical team, Rufus wasn't responding to any of the treatment they gave him over the coming days - they couldn’t get his lungs to open up and him breathing on his own, so didn’t attempt to look at his kidney function, as getting oxygen into him became their priority. After 4 days at his bedside willing him to respond to the medication, his brain activity was dipping through lack of oxygen and we were called to meet with the consultant for the conversation we feared was looming. We made the hardest and yet somehow the easiest decision we've ever had to make, to let our little boy go - suddenly it wasn’t about what we wanted, selflessly it was about what was right for him. We couldn’t bear to see him suffering any longer. On the 5th day we spent as much time as we could with him, washing his hair and dressing him, holding him, taking precious photos, telling him how much we loved him and saying our goodbyes before he passed away gently in my arms.
Although his precious little life was taken far too soon, we feel so very blessed to have had our very special little boy – he was too good for this world and we take comfort that he is now free from any suffering. He is still very much part of our lives, of our family, we talk to him every day, include him, miss him dearly and our lives have forever changed, because of him.
After losing Rufus, I turned to Bristol Sands for bereavement support - and I cannot thank them enough for how they, along with my husband Kevin and my amazing family and friends, helped me pull my broken heart back together - I am now a Sands Befriender and offer support to other bereaved families who find themselves on that awful, devastating journey. We have raised more than £18K over the years for Cots for Tots at St Michael's (Bristol) the hospital that cared for Rufus during his time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, in the hope that we can help other babies and their families - and now Rufus' precious legacy continues in this website, my new venture.
...and we also have an ever increasing collection of Little White Feathers – a sure sign that he is always with us.
With much love, Sharon @ LittleWhiteFeathers.com