As a mother to eight children, including a newborn baby, Cloe Green was undoubtedly used to the experience of being woken up in the middle of the night. Whether it was from a cry from another room or a tap on the shoulder from someone who had just had a nightmare, one can imagine that it was her duty to solve whatever problems arose regardless of how late it was.
But in the early hours of December 4, 2015, Green was faced with something different: her husband suddenly sitting straight up. Green had no idea that tragedy was about to strike at that very moment, however, as something was terribly wrong with the man beside her in bed.
Back then, Green and her husband, James Warner, lived with their children in northwest Wales. And the pair had been together since they were young; in fact, the two learned the startling news that Green was pregnant when she was only 17. Warner had a reaction that many might think of as being surprising, though.
Indeed, Green would go on to tell Photo-Features, “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.” So, in due course, the couple welcomed their first child, Leo, who would become a big brother to their second baby, Levi, three years later.
And Green and Warner were convinced that they wanted to build a large family together. Green explained, “[Warner] would say, ‘Just one more’ and wink at me. All my friends had to talk their partners into having babies, but in our house it was the other way around.”
The mom continued, “Two years later [after second son Levi’s birth], 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.”
Green and Warner then got married after they welcomed daughter Megan into the world. Just a year later, though, they put a stop to their dream of having a huge family when they had their second daughter, Miley, who was born with cerebral palsy.
At that point, Green had gone to see her doctor with the objective of getting a contraceptive implant. But fate had different plans, and she somehow got pregnant again – not that this news seemed to have fazed her husband. “James said it was meant to be for us to have more babies,” Green later said to Photo-Features.
So, nine months later, the couple had their sixth child, Lacey. After her came Lexi, who, like Lacey and Miley before her, suffered from cerebral palsy. Still, when Green found out that she was pregnant for an eighth time, her husband was nevertheless “so excited.”
And, as it happens, the couple’s youngest son Elijah was the missing piece, according to Green. “It was time we stopped,” the mom explained. “I was shocked when James agreed, but it felt we were complete.” Just 12 weeks later after Elijah’s arrival, though, everything changed for the family.
With a newborn baby taking up attention, 31-year-old Warner had decided to treat his older children to a London trip. Then, the night before the journey, he had gone to bed as normal to get some rest before traveling. At 4:30 a.m., though, he had awoken with a start.
Green would later recount the terrifying experience to the Daily Mirror, saying, “James woke up… and was acting quite odd. He suddenly just went into a fit on the bed and stopped breathing.” Concerned, the then 27-year-old sprang into action. “I rang the ambulance straight away and I started doing CPR on him,” she said.
When paramedics finally arrived, however, they took over for Green on CPR. All the while, the mom of eight was naturally distraught; she later told Photo-Features, “I wanted to scream and cry but knew I had to keep calm.” Instead, Green waited as the first responders worked – but, tragically, their efforts would be in vain.
Sadly, Warner was pronounced dead by the paramedics, and the swiftness with which his passing had transpired left Green “shocked.” She told the Daily Mirror, “Before we went to bed, it had just been like any other normal day. He wasn’t ill, so I just don’t know why this has happened.” It turned out, though, that Warner had died from hypertensive heart disease – often a side effect of high blood pressure.
With that, Green was left to explain to her eight children – all of whom were under the age of ten at the time – what had occurred. “I felt my knees go weak and tears poured down my face,” she told Photo-Features. “Telling the kids their dad had died was just the hardest thing I have ever tried to do.”
Ultimately, then, it was Green’s sister who had to step in and tell the children that their father was gone. “The older ones began to cry,” Green recalled. And their mother began to wonder how she would carry on taking care of eight children now that her partner – who was the breadwinner of the family – had passed away.
Indeed, Green would explain to the Daily Mirror, “While I was a full-time mom, James worked his socks off in a cafe, slogging every hour possible for us. 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 bedtime. He had so much energy.”
Fortunately, though, the local community rallied round Green and her children. On top of that, more than $11,000 was raised from two crowdfunding campaigns to help support the large family, whose grocery bills alone are astronomical.
But even with help on her side, Green still faced the monumental task of raising eight children on her own. And the mom didn’t take it lightly. Indeed, she explained to Photo-Features, “Becoming the only parent of eight children at such a young age – when some of my friends are still partying and not even thinking about settling down – is daunting.”
Green went on, “In my darkest moments, I wondered how on earth I would do this without James.” But, ultimately, she had nine reasons to keep going – her children and the husband she so suddenly lost. “I had to do it, I love my brood so much,” Green continued. “I know I can do a great job for them in my husband’s honor.”