We can be thankful that, in 2022, the death of a child is far more unusual than it once was. But how does someone come to terms with what is, for most of us, an unimaginable grief?

Baby Finley

When Charlotte and Robert Smith lost their precious baby boy, Finley William Smith, in January 2018, they were devastated. He was a perfect 7lb 4oz baby who, tragically, died during labour, when a newly qualified midwife failed to pick up the signs of his distress and act accordingly.

“We lost a piece of our heart on the day Finley died”, Charlotte writes, “and we will spend the rest of our lives missing him. We tried to make as many memories as possible with him in the short time we had – including taking plaster casts of his hand and feet. Sadly, we had to take the casts ourselves because we couldn’t find a business to make a cast for an angel baby. Sarah from Hunnaball of Witham helped us, and we will always be grateful for her support. The casts were far from perfect, but they are one of the most precious keepsakes of our little boy.”

After the funeral

As a result of their experience, and because they value the precious memories of their son represented by the casts they made, after the funeral Charlotte and Robert went on a course to learn how to make casts properly. Then, in the summer of 2018, they set up a very special charity in memory of their son, Finley William Smith. They called it Forever Finley.

Forever Finley

Charlotte and Robert, through their charity, support bereaved parents in a very special way. When invited, they visit local hospitals and funeral homes to cast 3D reproductions of the hands and feet of babies from 23-week gestation, who have sadly died. They take casts of each hand and foot and give them to parents, so they have something to touch and hold, or frame, to remind them of their precious child.
Charlotte writes about their work, “It’s one of the hardest things, to walk into a room of sheer heartbreak, fully understanding the pain that the parents are facing. But it fills us with pride to know that our son is helping each family create those much-needed memories. We also provide parents with memory making lists, to give them ideas to make the most of the very short time they have with their babies.”

Remembering together

At the Hunnaball Family Funeral Group, we feel tremendously privileged to support and work with Forever Finley, and charities like it. To play even a small part in supporting parents in the midst of their grief is very special and we’re thankful to be able to offer some help, even knowing it can never be enough.
If you want to find out more about this amazing charity, please visit their website and consider supporting Charlotte and Robert in their work.

We’ll leave the final words to Charlotte.

“Forever Finley allows us to keep our son’s memory alive and to continue to talk about him. It’s hard, because we live in a society where death, and especially baby loss, is a topic that’s often avoided for understandable reasons. None of us want to think about such pain. However, parents who have faced this kind of grief love to hear the children’s names spoken. You don’t remind them that they have died, you remind them they existed.”

Registered Charity Number: 1196195