13 Feb Who Are You? Where Have You Been?
So I’ve decided to give blogging a go but I really think that in order to follow a blogger you need to know who the blogger is. Where did they come from before they just popped onto your screen? What has their life been like up until this point? So that you can get a feel for what they’re all about. I guess I don’t want to be that person that just appears out of cyber space trying to gather an army of followers who don’t actually know anything about me.
So, I thought that it would only be right to explain who I am and where I’ve been until now…
I’m Chloe, but you already knew that. I’m 30 years old and I still don’t know how I feel about that. I am a very proud mummy to two absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and extremely intelligent boys (We are still trying to figure out where the brains came from) and I’m a wife to Farmer Ben who bless his heart puts up with a lot and I’m sure as time goes on you’ll realise why… But don’t let him fool you, he’s no saint!
Where I Came From
So, I am originally from a small town in Gloucestershire called Tewkesbury. It’s funny because I was always so desperate to get away from the town until I had kids and found myself feeling really alone here, and now I’d love to move back to a familiar place with familiar faces. I was saying to my mum the other day whilst on my weekly visit ‘home’ you miss things that you’d never even think about before, like the best places to walk the dogs. I know all the best places to walk the dogs in Tewkesbury, even the secret ones that not many others do. In Monmouthshire, where I now live, I’m a tourist. I haven’t a clue where to go at all… Luckily we live on 350(ish) acres so the dogs don’t really need to go elsewhere but still, you get my point!
Anyway, I’m going off track, I do this a lot. Another thing you’ll come to learn! Up until moving in with Farmer Ben I’d lived in Tewkesbury all of my life. My parents weren’t farming and that’s mainly due to the fact that my dad was disabled. I share his passion for farming and the outdoors in general and whilst he was a printer by trade (My brother in law and sister now run the business) he was also a rugby playing, retained fireman and also found the time to help out on all of the farms in the area. There is no doubt in my mind that had he not become ill we would definitely be farming on some scale.
My Dad – My Hero
When he was 29 he went to bed early one night with flu like symptoms and when he woke in the morning he had Rheumatoid Arthritis in every joint in his body. This stopped a very busy and fit young man in his tracks and he found himself only able to carry on the printing with a lot of help from my mum. They never discovered what happened to dad that night but he never moaned, he just kept going. Of course back in the day they didn’t know what they were doing half of the time it seems and they treated his RA problems with horse painkillers which then of course killed off his kidneys. He went on to have a
kidney transplant on Christmas Day (1990). They also took his one knee completely out and pinned his leg straight, and the other they tried the best they could (with the knowledge they had at the time) to fit a new knee,
so he had a bit of a bend in that one. He also had both hips replaced. He was on and off dialysis a lot and he was my hero. My everything. He never gave up, he owned a printing business and was successful man that worked every single day despite being in horrific amounts of pain. He was a proud
man, a happy man, one that everyone knew, liked and respected and I was so proud of him. One day I’ll write about it all but just know that this incredible man who baffled doctors for years eventually lost his fight in 2007. He went into hospital for a knee replacement to replace his previous replacement which had now crumbled, he contracted sepsis and he died. I was just 19 at the time and a part of me died that day.
My Mum – My Heroine
My mum is the other hero in my life. I keep telling her that she needs to write a book, I’ve even offered to write it for her! She has had an incredibly tough life (again I may go into it a bit further another time) and when I was just 9 years old they found that she had an enormous brain tumour. Thankfully it was benign but she endured two huge operations and was told that she may not survive and if she did it would be incredibly likely that she would be disabled from either a stroke, or weakness or some sort of brain damage. Now my mum is a fighter, a real superwoman. At this time she was the main carer for her father who was suffering with Korsakoff’s Dementia, she had a disabled husband to look after and 16 year old and 9 year old daughters too. We put it down to positive thinking and just being damn sure that she was not going to find herself waking up from the operating table also disabled. Call it pigheadedness but whatever it was it worked. My mum is now 63 years old and is perfectly healthy apart from some damage caused by the tumour. Another of my parents to dumbfound the NHS. She was back to work at the family business within days of returning home. What a woman!?
Of course, when my mum was going through treatment she was away for weeks which meant that my 16 year old sister Emily had to come out of school to look after myself and our dad too.
If you haven’t guessed yet, family is everything to me. It’s had to be. Life has not been straight forward for our family but it’s brought us closer, more than your average family and for that I feel so blessed. Besides our parents having really bad luck health wise we had a fantastic upbringing. We never went without, my parents definitely spoiled us and we now know that was because they felt so guilty at not being able to give us a “normal life” but that’s absurd. Our childhood was special.
When I’m Older I Want to be…
So, moving on, I hated school and was a bit of a madam come my teen years. I chose the wrong friends to hang around with, I went out with the wrong boys and didn’t really try hard at school at all. All I ever wanted to do was ride horses so after I was finally allowed to actually leave school I went to Hartpury College… It was the best thing I ever did. I met some amazing people and had the time of my life! I actually met Farmer Ben whilst at college but if you’d have told me at the time I was going to later wind up marrying him I’d have spat my vodka and coke at you! After I finished college I worked at a few different yards. A stud yard, riding schools, point to point yards until finishing up working for dressage rider, Henrietta Cheetham. It was whilst I was working for Henrietta my dad became ill and then died and so I had to leave.
The day before my dad died he perked really up. I’d later come to know that this is generally a thing with dying patients – They perk up the day before they die which is really shit because you are given false hope that some act of god has happened and that they’re actually miraculously going to recover from this. And then they die. Anyway, on this perky day it was as if he knew what was going to happen because that morning he sat up in his hospital bed and he had a heart to heart with me. He gave me a few life pointers and he told me that he wanted me to give up working with horses because he was scared I’d get hurt and end up like him. He thought that I should become a nurse, that was my calling. I’d never given it much thought and of course I didn’t again as the next day my Dad died and my world came crashing down.
A month after he left us my mum called me into the office at home. She had seen an advert. They were looking for Healthcare Assistants at the Royal Hospital and she said she had filled out an application for me and they’d invited me for an interview! I went and I got the job. I didn’t even know if nursing was what I wanted to do but I was living, or more existing, in a haze. I didn’t know how I felt anymore so just went along with things but I’m so glad I did. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. Helping people was defiantly my calling and I have a real interest in healthcare. I can’t remember a damn thing I learned at school because I wasn’t interested. I didn’t listen. But I’ve amazed myself at the things I’ve learned working in healthcare. I started work on the Neurology, Dermatology and Rheumatology Ward before moving to the Stroke Unit for a few years and then I left to work in Minor Injuries and Illness Units and man have I learned a lot… My dad would be so proud! That’s one of my biggest guilt’s… I was a moody and selfish 19yr old when I lost my dad so he never got to see the grown up and actually doing alright me.
As I said, I already knew Ben as whilst I was playing with horses he was doing the Ag course at college and we shared the same friends, though never really knew each other. I was living the party life with my new found freedom whilst living-in at Hartpury and I think I was a bit too wild for quiet and timid Ben. It wasn’t until years later that we came together again for a friends leaving do that we hit it off. And we really did hit it off, we have been pretty inseparable since that night!
We had been together for 2 years to the day when Farmer Ben got down on one knee and we were married 3 months after that! It was whirlwind and I lost 2 stone in weight in those 3 months, much to my wedding dress fitter’s dismay! The weight I lost though wasn’t due to your normal wedding day stresses, I was no bridezilla and couldn’t really care less about the perfect shade of peach coloured rose for the bouquets or who sat next to who at the meal. I lost the weight because my anxiety was born.
Hello Panic Attacks!
I hate saying that getting engaged triggered my anxiety because it sounds bad doesn’t it but it wasn’t anything to do with poor Ben, though I felt so awful that he must have been thinking I didn’t want to marry him or something! But my anxieties and panic attacks stemmed from the fact that it suddenly dawned on me in the days following our engagement that my Dad wouldn’t be there. Not only would he not be there but he’d never known Ben, he wouldn’t be walking me down the aisle, he wouldn’t be there on one of the biggest days of my life.
The panic attacks and anxiety are another blog so I’ll leave this here for now and will pick it up in another post.
In March 2015 we had our first boy, Hugo Austin Lawrence Williams. A bit of a mouthful I know but Farmer Ben of course was adamant that his grandfather’s name be carried on and I wanted my dad to be a part of our first child’s name so we met in the middle. He had his grandfather’s name, Austin and I had my dad’s middle name, Lawrence.
I didn’t realise it at the time but I was suffering with a touch of PND. Thankfully I was soon able to get ahead of it but it was during those first few months that I created the online community and Facebook Group ‘The Crazy Life of a Farmer’s Wife’ after suddenly being hit with how lonely and isolated I felt here on Ben’s family farm and well, that just developed so quickly into this incredible platform for all farm wives and partners. One of my proudest achievements yet.
Hugo was my breath of fresh air though and my cure to panic attacks! As soon as he arrived everything else in life seemed irrelevant and all of the crazy worries I’d previously had just melted away. He saved me.
Call us mad but when Hugo was just a few months old we decided to have another baby and 17 months after Hugo arrived along came Teddy Erek, who completed us. I know, his middle name is a bit unusual, this is because it’s a blend of two names. My dad, Derek and my angel nephew who lives in heaven, Eli. Derek and Eli make Erek.
These two beautiful boys are now two and three years old and they are my everything. I struggle to put words together to describe how they make me feel or the love I have for them. They are both so different on so many levels but exactly the same at the same time. They are both scary clever and insanely beautiful if I do say so myself. One is such a good boy in every possible way with a heart of gold and is every mothers dream. The other has so much love in him but also has a wicked sense of humour and a rather cheeky side… but I’ll let you figure out which is which! They both keep me on my toes and life has been crazy since they arrived. It’s very loud (which Farmer Ben hates) and we are constantly on the go but I love it, even on the days where I’m pulling out my hair because I have two nutty children running around my feet playing pirate chase games or really bad hide and seek games where one will literally shout “where are you?” and the other will shout from the distance “Here!”
But it’s all part of the fun right?
So, that’s me very briefly touching on me, what makes me me, and where I’ve been until now. Actually reading it back there could have been 10 more pages but I realise this is a hell of a read already… Sorry! But I wanted to touch on the main points in my life that has made me who I am today. The reasons that I have so much to say.
Follow my life and you won’t just get one subject you’ll get several, from living with disabled parents to mental health to farm life and being a stay home mummy trying to build her own business and of course all of the drama (because it really does seem to follow me) along the way!
I’ve come to learn that my life hasn’t been a “normal” one but I’ve never liked normal anyway!
Love & Hugs to you,