"I was in the process of doing that, and I was approached, and they said, 'Do you want to come back?'" Joan shared.
"And I said, 'Yeah, I'd love to come back, let me see how I'm doing with my daughter.'"
The private school administrator from Rockland, MD, recalled, "The journey that I left, it was so abrupt and I felt I had unfinished business."
However, Joan admitted rejoining The Golden Bachelor's cast of bachelorettes ultimately "wasn't in the cards" for her because her daughter "wasn't good again" amid her mental-health crisis.
"We just hadn't made it far enough -- I hadn't gotten her a doctor yet," Joan explained. "I had calls in but it just couldn't unfold quick enough."
But Joan looks back on her The Golden Bachelor stint fondly, revealing, "I felt like I found my tribe. I found these people that were just like me, and I haven't had that since my husband had passed away, and leaving them was as hard as it was leaving Gerry, honestly."
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On The Golden Bachelor: The Women Tell All, Joan got emotional when watching her journey back on the show, and she told host Jesse Palmer how she felt really bad about disappointing and hurting Gerry.
When Jesse asked Joan how her daughter and baby granddaughter were doing now, Joan said everything was great at home.
"My daughter had a really serious case of postpartum depression, and she needed me. She needed her mom, and I didn't think twice. I knew I had to be there. I heard it in her voice and I could not get on that plane fast enough," Joan explained.
But Joan confessed that her goodbye conversation with Gerry was very hard because he had met her expectations and really impressed her. Joan also said that Gerry's understanding and empathetic personality made quitting The Golden Bachelor "even worse."
Joan told Jesse that she could see Gerry is a wonderful father and that they might've had a bright future together.
"If circumstances had been different and you stayed, you think it might've worked out with Gerry?" Jesse asked.
"I think we had a good chance," Joan replied.
"Gerry helped make me feel visible. He looked at me and he cared about what I was saying and he wanted to get to know me. Society makes us feel like we've had out chance, we've had our children, and now it's time to support the next generation and kind of take a backseat. And Gerry opened my heart."
Joan also admitted that she briefly "held out hope" for a life with Gerry once she returned home.
"I did think a couple times maybe I would come around the corner, coming home from work, and [Gerry] would be sitting on my front porch," Joan shared.
Joan said she sometimes caught herself thinking about what could have been with Gerry.
"I went from wanting to find somebody to craving it now. It was such a good feeling and I'm working hard to find it; I'm not giving up," Joan announced.
"It's a privilege to be a mom to four amazing kids and a grandmother (they call me Jojo) to two beautiful grandchildren. But once a mom, always a mom and sometimes the timing doesn't work out with finding love," Joan said, according to Us Weekly.
Joan reportedly went on to say, "I hope one day I will get the chance at love again."
Joan subsequently uploaded a photo with Gerry via Instagram and wrote, "My journey to find love took a detour this week as I traded the mansion for motherhood and headed home to be with my family."
Joan reiterated how "family comes first, period" in her eyes.
"Once a mother, always a mother, I'll always choose my kids first," explained the blonde beauty.
"Thank you for all of your outpouring love and support, for not only me but also my daughter -- everyone is now healthy and happy! As for me and my journey to love... guess we will have to see where it takes me next. Until then, stay golden #thegoldenbachelor #teamjoan."
After being crowned the winner of The Golden Bachelor's talent show on a group date, Joan -- who had written and read a heartfelt poem, despite her stage fright -- accompanied Gerry on a romantic dinner date inside of what appeared to be an antique store.
"I want to tell you that I'm as excited to spend time with you as I've ever been with anyone," Gerry gushed to the bachelorette. "And so here's to you, and here's to a future."
Joan said she had connected with The Golden Bachelor star on "so many levels" and she could truly envision herself being with Gerry for the long haul.
But the next day, Joan received a distressing message from her daughter, who apparently needed her help.
Joan explained how "things go wrong" and she needed to be there for her child.
Joan therefore announced to all the women how she'd be leaving the show but her heart was "breaking" to break up Gerry. Susan Noles even cried, knowing how much this experience meant to Joan.
Gerry, meanwhile, woke up that morning feeling like "a million bucks," mainly because his night with Joan was so "revealing" and had ended with them forming a tight bond. But he was about to find out that Joan was going to quit on him.
When Gerry arrived at The Golden Bachelor mansion to pick up his date, Joan asked to speak with him first. Joan then let him down gently that she'd have to leave the show prematurely.
"As much as I don't want to leave our journey, I've got to be a parent, and I've got to go home to my kids," Joan explained to Gerry.
Gerry began crying, saying that he totally understood where she was coming from, but, at the same time, he was extremely disappointed to lose her from The Golden Bachelor.
"Although I know I'm doing the right thing for my family, I feel like I'm doing the hugely wrong thing for us," Joan admitted to Gerry.
Gerry was very hurt and sad about their breakup, but he told Joan that he'd remain with her in spirit.
Joan said she wanted Gerry -- an "incredible" man and "a really, really good guy" -- to find happiness, but she left him crying in his hands outside of The Bachelor mansion.
Joan expressed to the cameras in her final words how she felt Gerry had "fixed" her heart to some extent.