health

The crushing moment Georgia Love realised her mum wasn't coming home.

It was meant to be one of the happiest times in Georgia Love‘s life. After months of keeping the result of The Bachelorette a secret, her relationship with Lee could officially ‘start’ publicly, kicking off with many media interviews and appearances.

Instead, 24 hours after the finale aired, Love was in hospital with her family as her mother Belinda passed away from pancreatic cancer. She was 60 years old and had been diagnosed just six months before.

“It’s only got a seven per cent survival rate and there is no early detection. She had had abdominal pains for a few weeks, and she’s a nurse as well, which was probably a bad thing because she didn’t want to complain or step on anyone’s toes,” Love told Mia Freedman in the latest episode of No Filter.

Listen: The highs and lows of Georgia Love. Post continues after audio.

“She just thought she had a bit of a dairy intolerance, so she cut out dairy for a few weeks but it didn’t do anything. Then she cut out gluten, and again it didn’t make a difference, so she thought ‘Better go check it out as I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable’ and then they found a massive tumour in her pancreas.”

Up until her mum was admitted to palliative care, Love says she believed her mum would be in that seven per cent.

“I think I always thought that she would. She’s strong and we’re all strong and you never think that something like that will happen to you,” she said.

“You hear so many people surviving cancer so you think ‘Great, get it out, a little bit of chemo and then we’ll be good to go’. It wasn’t until really quite late on that we realised it wouldn’t be that.

My heart is utterly broken. 7 weeks ago we were sipping cocktails in Italy. 7 months ago you weren’t even sick. How is it possible you’re no longer here? Mum, you were my first friend and my best friend, my rock, the one who knew me better than anyone in the world and who supported and backed me through every single thing I did. You were the one I went to for advice, the one I shared every story with and the one who was always there to pick me up. There is so much more I need and want to share with you. I have no idea how to even begin to say goodbye. I love you, Mum, and will continue to every single day. “If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever.”

A photo posted by GEORGIA LOVE (@georgiealove) on

ADVERTISEMENT

“When I say ‘we’, I mean my sister and I because my dad is a surgeon so he understood a lot more of what was happening than we did and he and mum kept a lot of that from us, you know, so as not to scare us. But that made it hard as well because we could see that they were struggling to keep it up and to keep going.”

Love says it was around the third of fourth day in pallaitive care she realised her mum wouldn’t be coming home again.

“The worst part up until she passed away for me was when mum and dad told us that they were stopping the chemo because it wasn’t doing enough and that’s very, very hard to accept,” she says.

I am so overwhelmed by the huge outpouring of love, support and condolences from all over the world since announcing the devastating news of my beautiful mum’s passing. I’m absolutely amazed by the number of messages I’ve received from others who’ve been through or are going through the same heartbreak, let alone from those who are just sending well wishes. Thank you to every single person who has shared even a single thought for me and my family. This is an absolutely awful time in our lives and we know the hurt will continue for a long time. But one thing my mum taught me was to believe in paying it forward and that from every negative can come even the slightest positive. So I hope my family’s gut wrenching loss can create some awareness of the brutal disease that is pancreatic cancer and hopefully do some good in helping to find a cure. November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. If you have time, please head to www.pancare.org.au and if you have even a dollar spare, please think of donating or buying a purple ribbon or wrist band to wear this month in support of @pancareaus and let’s hope the sobering statistic of a 7% survival rate for this awful cancer can be changed ???????????? #pancare #pancarefoundation #pancreaticcancer #pancreaticcancerawarenessmonth #bacheloretteau

A photo posted by GEORGIA LOVE (@georgiealove) on

“Because then you just go ‘Fight more! Why would you stop the chemo, just fight more, don’t give up’ – and that’s a very, very hard point to be at when you’ve got a loved one in that situation.”

As an ambassador for Pancare, Love is trying to raise awareness and funds to help find an early detection test, which would greatly increase that seven per cent survival rate.

“I’m really proud to be able to put my name to something like that. I’ve not had a close connection with a charity or a need for charity which is fantastic and how lucky have I been but when something affects you so badly and so close to home, it really makes you reassess everything,” she says.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Obviously it hadn’t been able to help my mum but I don’t want anybody else to know what it feels like, to be a slave to that insidious disease.”

Due to her sudden passing, Love says there were some things her and her mum didn’t discuss.

“We never spoke about her dying. That’s not the way we wanted to spend our last time with her and not the last conversations we wanted to have, so her and Dad spoke about it and he spoke to us a little bit about it but it was a little bit of ignorance is bliss, ‘lets pretend everything is ok’ because that’s just a nicer way to be,” she says.

“While there are times I wish I’d said to her ‘What do you want from me?’ and talked about the future, marriage and kids and stuff I just think it would have made more distressing on her in those final days. It’s been very, very hard.

“I’m glad that we did it the way that we did and played it all as normal, making fun of each other, laughing right up until the end and that’s our family through and through.”

Listen: Julie Watson about her life, getting sick and what it is like to be told when your chances don’t look good.

You can buy any other book mentioned on our podcasts, from ibooks at apple.co/mamamia, where you can also subscribe to all our other shows in one place.

00:00 / ???