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Mel Greig: "I miss my mum so much. Mums, please know that we love you so much."


Tonight on the Celebrity Apprentice Mel Greig explained her absence from last week’s episode. Sadly, Mel’s mum passed away from cancer. Mel has written a letter to all mums to pay tribute to her own and help raise awareness for the cancer awareness month. 

To all the mums,

I’m dedicating the next few minutes to you and I want to explain something to you through the eyes of a daughter.

Let’s get this straight, it goes without saying that we love our dads, but we need to talk about the incredible bond between a mother and her daughter. You are the one that literally brings us into this world. We come out and we look at you and we instantly connect. From the day we are born we rely on you. You feed us, you protect us and you are always there for us. As we get older we know that you are always there for us and when you know that something or someone is always there, you can often take it for granted.

We don’t wake up thinking that you won’t be there for us. In our mind you are there forever. We don’t plan or prepare for not having a mother in our lives. So it’s important that you know that we love you so much, you are our world and we wouldn’t be the people that we are today without you. The reason we might go a week without a phone call or a month without a visit is because we just assume that you’ll always be there.

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Mel Grieg with her family. Image: Supplied.

I used to get reminder calls from my dad: ‘make sure you call your mother’. I would instantly realise: ‘crap, it’s been a few weeks I need to ring mum’. It’s never that we don’t want to call you, we get busy and we assume you’ll always be there.

So what happens when you find out that your mum won’t always be there? When you get that phone call and you’re told that your mum has terminal cancer and has three months to live? In that moment you wish that you had made those phone calls, paid more visits and lived life thinking that any moment you might lose your mum so you could treasure every single moment.

I remember the day I received the phone call that my mum had terminal pancreatic cancer. I remember it so vividly not only because it was devastating but because I received another life changing phone call on the same day. The day I found out my mum was dying, was the day I found out I was going to be on Celebrity Apprentice.

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We were told that my mum had three months to live, filming for Celebrity Apprentice was two months. I had a big decision to make. Well, so I thought. Mum made the decision for me straight away: “You need to do this, I’ll be fine don’t worry about me, I’ll be angry if you don’t do it because I just want you to have a bloody job.” She was so funny, she was so honest and cheeky. The decision was made, I would do apprentice, mum would hold on and I would fly back every day off to spend time with her.

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“As we get older we know that ‘you are always there for us’ and when you know that something or someone is always there, you can often take it for granted.” Image: Supplied.

Our filming schedule was hectic but two weeks in I made sure I went back home to see mum. She was drained but in high spirits. We both decided to be naughty and eat McDonald’s, she didn’t have much of an appetite for much else… so it was perfect really. We both loved eating naughty food and it meant no one had to cook. We spoke about the show and she said: “You better not have been fired yet? And don’t look like an orangutan with your spray tans, try and be a lady.” It was such a great weekend and she didn’t look ‘sick’. I was feeling confident that I’d make it through filming and she’d be fine.

Five days later I received a phone call from my sister during filming (she knew only to call if it was an emergency). She told me that mum had been given a few hours to live and that she was in a coma. I was in complete shock and panic, I didn’t understand that she could go from being so alive and coherent to death bed in a coma? That’s what cancer does. I hate cancer.

Fremantle Media and Channel 9 got me on the next plane back to Adelaide and I made it just in time. I arrived at the hospital and the devastation burst out of me, I was whaling and whaling at seeing my mum like that. I just wanted to talk to her and let her know how much I loved her and that I was there. I didn’t know if she could hear me, so I kept talking to her and playing her favourite music and playing with her hair the way she liked it. After being there for one hour she moved her head and I thought OMG she’s going to wake up she’s going to be ok… she opened her eyes, looked at me for two seconds and closed them again. She was gone.

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Mel’s mum on her wedding day. Image: Supplied.

I’m so grateful that I was there for her last breath. She was there for my first breath and I was there for her last. The pain of losing your mother is beyond words, I’ve experienced death before but I don’t think anyone can prepare for how painful it is to lose your mum. To the mums reading this, please do your children a favour… can you please write us a letter… we don’t know when you are leaving and we will have our memories, but we need that final encouragement from you when you leave us. I wish I could speak to my mum one more time and I wish I knew she was ok.

Sadly, a lot of families are going through the same tragedy. Cancer is one of the world’s biggest killers and God damn it, we need a cure. Watching my mum die of cancer was horrible and when I think about cancer as a whole, I think of the vulnerable, I think of the people that have only just started life and are faced with the biggest battle of their life. Children.

I want to help raise awareness and funds to help children going through cancer. I am going to put my passion and hard work behind the Childhood Cancer Association, an organisation who helps young children and their families dealing with childhood cancer.  The Association provides emotional and practical support, as families go through one of the most challenging times of their life.  The Association needs funds so they can add another Counsellor to the team, to ensure families continue to receive the best possible care and support.

Ironically, October is cancer awareness month for a lot of organisations. If you have the time to help or the opportunity to raise funds or donate to your charity of choice, please do it. Cancer is taking away our loved ones… our mums..  I miss my mum so much. Mums, please know that we love you so much.

Lots of love from your children.

You can find more information on Mel’s charity of choice, the Childhood Cancer Association, here

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