It’s been 391 days since you left. That’s 391 mornings of waking up with a knot in my stomach that I’ve now realised will probably never go away. Some days it takes it takes a little while to hit. You have those few moments of ignorant bliss before your mind catches up and reminds you your life has been indelibly changed.
It’s funny when I say that to people, that my life has completely changed over the past year. Most people think that’s since The Bachelorette, because I’ve moved cities, changed jobs, got a boyfriend and have become more recognisable when I walk down the street. And of course those things are new and different too. But it’s the gaping hole you have left that I really mean when I say my life’s changed, because that’s the one thing I know I will never, ever get used to.
It’s amazing how one year can feel so long and so short all at once. 365 mornings waking up with a knot in my stomach. Of not having you in the year I’ve needed you the most. 365 days without my best friend. There is nothing I wouldn’t give to have you back for just one day. I love you and miss you more than words ???? #fuckcancer
Everyone tells you it never gets easier. But the one thing I was never warned about is that it actually gets so much harder.
There’s so much I wish I could change, Mum. And you know better than anyone that’s not a sentence I would have ever said a year ago. I’m not someone who has ever lived with regrets or wanted to change anything. I take every hurdle in life as a simple speed bump. Every knock an experience. Every blindside a lesson.
Losing you is the one thing I can’t find a positive in. I’ve tried to look for the lesson it’s given me but I just can’t see it. People have told me it’s made me stronger but I disagree. I feel the exact opposite. In losing you I lost my strength, my rock, the glue holding me and our family together. With you, I always knew there was someone who’d have my back through absolutely anything but I don’t have that anymore.
Listen: Georgia Love on finding Lee, losing her mum and dealing with the paparazzi. (Post continues…)
Of course I am very lucky to have so many others in my life who show me love and support every day and I would never want them to think I don’t value and love them to the enth degree. But they’re not you. The unconditional, maternal, has-been-through-literally-everything-with-me love doesn’t exist in anyone else. And the realisation I have lost that forever stings me to my absolute core.
There are days I’m really angry with you, I’m not going to lie. If it’s true that you’re always with me, you’ll know this already because there have been so many times I’ve yelled at you and cursed you out loud for leaving me. I really wish you’d told us just how sick you were. I understand why you didn’t; you wanted your last months to be as happy as possible, not filled with sadness and the dark cloud of looming mortality. I know you didn’t want your friends to look at you differently, treat you differently or as you’d so eloquently put it yourself, “pussy foot” around you.
You were one tough cookie and as stubborn as a bloody ox! And more than anything I know you were doing it for us. But I really do wish I’d known what you’d known but chose to protect your daughters from.
If I could turn back time, I would have done far more research into pancreatic cancer. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in a time when The Big C is no longer the death knell it used to be. In 2016, we are taught that so many cancers are survivable. And isn’t that a wonderful thing! A diagnosis is devastating, there’s no doubt. But you think, “Hey, we’re going to have a bloody rough time and chemo absolutely sucks, but we’ll get through this! I haven’t really heard much about pancreatic cancer but it can’t be that different to breast cancer and if Olivia Newton John got through that, my Mum can!” But if I’d looked into it more, I’d have realised why I hadn’t heard much about it. With a survival rate of just seven per cent, who wants to talk about it? You certainly didn’t.
But you know what? Maybe I wouldn’t have changed anything had I known we only had six months from that day we found out (whilst at a winery in Tasmania, because that’s just the woman you were!). Maybe life happened just as it was meant to. Maybe if I’d realised just how little time we’d have left with you, I wouldn’t have gone away for three months to film The Bachelorette. But then I wouldn’t have met Lee. And God knows I’ve needed him in this year that’s followed.
Maybe I wouldn’t have let the show’s publicity schedule cut short what would be our last family holiday together, just six weeks before you passed away? But then it wouldn’t have been the happy family holiday we had if we’d known it would be the last. Maybe I would have taken more photos with you in those last few weeks? But then the memories of a happy, healthy Mum would have been overshadowed. Maybe what happened was always what was meant to happen. I just wish I understood why.
The constant and ongoing pain of losing you to this insidious disease is one I don’t wish for anybody to know. That’s why in your final days I sat by your bedside and googled pancreatic cancer charities. That’s why, less than a month after we lost you, I pulled together all the tiny traces of strength and energy I could muster to go on national TV and speak about Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
I know you’d be proud of me, Mum. And in a brand new world I am still learning to adjust and maybe that’s all I’ll need to keep getting through each day.
I believe the reason my life led me to being on The Bachelorette at that exact point in time was not just to meet Lee, but to put me in a position where I could shed light on the taboo subject of pancreatic cancer, and promote the incredibly important and tireless work done by Pancare to help support families who are going through this battle. To raise money to put into vital research to try to find a way to detect pancreatic cancer before it’s too late.
Up to 2,823 people will die from this insidious illness in 2017. To help support the fight against pancreatic cancer, you can donate and fundraise for Pancare by clicking here.