BIG BROOD TRAGEDY Brave mum becomes widow at just 27… weeks after giving birth to EIGHTH child
Cloe Green has to put grief to one side to be mum and dad to her brood
By KELLY STRANGE
MUM Cloe Green has more to deal with than most at just 27 – her husband died suddenly when she had just had their EIGHTH child.
Cloe was left alone to care for her brood after hubby James died in his sleep at the age of 31.
It was just TWELVE weeks after she had given birth to their youngest, Elijah, that Cloe’s world caved in.
But the brave young mum is putting her grief to one side and has vowed to be both mum and dad to their children.
Cloe says: “It was so sudden and so shocking. To think James won’t be here to see the large family he wanted so much grow up breaks my heart.
“When it happened I wanted to cry — but I looked at those eight little faces all depending on me and I knew I had to do this for them and for James.
“Nobody can replace James. He loved being a dad so much. I am devastated he was taken from us but pleased he got his wish of us having our eighth baby.”
He would say “just one more” and wink at me
Elijah was just 12 weeks old when James died in bed next to Cloe, without any warning.
She believes the hardest thing she has ever had to do is tell children Leo, nine, Levi, six, Oliver, five, Megan, four, Miley, three, Lacey, two, Lexi, 20 months and Elijah, 11 months that their daddy had gone to heaven.
The couple, from Dyffryn Ardudwy, North Wales, had first child Leo when Cloe was just 17.
She explains: “It was a shock because we were so young but James took it in his stride. He just smiled and said he always wanted to be a dad.”
By the time Levi was born they were sure they wanted a big clan.
Cloe continues: “Two years later I was pregnant again with another son, Oliver, and when he was just six weeks old I was expecting again — we were both so excited to be having our first daughter.
“We married and soon after I gave birth to Megan.
She adds: “All my friends had to talk their partners into having babies but in our house, it was the other way around.
“We had nothing to be ashamed of for wanting a big family, we didn’t claim any benefits.
While I was a full-time mum, James worked his socks off in a café, slogging every hour possible to provide for us.
“He would wink at me and smile and say, ‘Just one more Clo,’ and soon we had Miley.”
They decided that, as Miley was born with additional needs, it was time to stop adding to their family.
Cloe asked her GP for the contraceptive implant but it failed and she was soon pregnant again.
She recalls: “James said it was meant to be for us to have more babies.”
In time Lacey was born, swiftly followed by Lexi and, in 2015, Cloe found out she was pregnant with baby number eight.
She says: “James was so excited, as my bump grew he couldn’t stop smiling.”
Elijah was born in September 2015. He was a small baby at 3lb 5oz so had to remain in the hospital’s special care baby unit.
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It was seven weeks before he was allowed home but when he finally arrived they felt their family was truly complete.
Cloe, whose three youngest girls have cerebral palsy, says: “It was time we stopped and I was shocked when James agreed but it felt we were complete.
She adds: “Superdad James never stopped. He’d do the school run, then go to work at the café before picking the kids up.
“Then he’d sit and play games and read until bed time. He had so much energy.”
When Elijah was 12 weeks old, James decided to treat the older kids to a day in London on December 4, 2015.
The night before, the couple had gone to bed as usual — but hours later James sat bolt upright in bed then stopped breathing.
Cloe called 999 and remembers: “I wanted to scream and cry but knew I needed to keep calm.” She performed CPR before paramedics took over, but James was pronounced dead from hypertensive heart disease.
She says: “I felt my knees go weak and tears poured down my face. Telling the kids their dad had died was just the hardest thing I have ever tried to do.
“In the end my sister explained their dad had gone to heaven to be with their grandad. The older ones began to cry.”
Family and friends rallied to help with school runs and Cloe’s mum helped her take care of the kids at home.
Cloe says: “Becoming the only parent of eight children at such a young age — when some of my friends are still partying and not even thinking of settling down — is daunting.
“In my darkest moments I wondered how on earth I would do this without James, I felt lost.
“But I had to do it. I love my brood so much I know I can do a great job for them in my husband’s honour.
“Elijah is now 11 months old. He had not long been home from hospital when James died, so we hadn’t got the chance to take any family photos of them all together.
Each day Cloe needs…
14-16 pints milk
2 loaves bread
2 cereal boxes
16 packets crisps
1 bottle laundry detergent
“I was relieved to find one of the kids had accidentally snapped James holding him on their iPad. I now treasure the grainy picture.”
She has had eight months to come to terms with her husband’s death and just how much her world has changed. She adds: “I know I can do it, I am surviving on the support of my family and benefits that I have never needed before.
“Even the shopping is a mammoth task as we get through so many groceries. But it is just one more thing I know I can do.
“My best memories are of James with the kids — he loved being a dad more than anything and has made me a strong enough parent to face this job alone.
“I make sure that when the kids feel sad we do something positive to remember their dad — like blowing up beautiful balloons and setting them free so they can float to heaven.”