Unexpected loss of my mum, not coping, so angry

My mum was battling ovarian cancer for 4.5 years, she had the upper hand but needed occasional chemo to keep the illness at bay. We visited her oncologist in December, after stable 18 months she needed the top-up, there was a tiny growth. My mum was worried if the chemo will work, the doctor was positive, mum always reacted well to the treatment, and if not, other options are available, she said. Mum was strong, ready for the fight.

Mum had the treatment on Monday, contracted bacteria, died of sepsis on Saturday. I never had the chance to fly back home and say goodbye. It has been 5 weeks and I still cannot accept it. I understand what happened but cannot get over it. She would be half way through the treatment now and I was supposed to be flying over to see her this weekend. Instead I write about her sudden passing.

I cannot describe how angry I feel. I dont know how she got the bacteria. Was it at the hospital, was she not careful, was she just so unlucky? A treatment which was to help her, killed her. If she had it another week, she would be here. If she had different treatment, she would be here. My head cannot get it.

I am angry at my dad, I believe she would be alive if they went to hospital sooner. My mum hated hospitals, always waited until last minute. He should have known better. Or is it possible her body just didnt feel the sepsis coming? Or they wouldnt be able to help her even if they arrived in time as her body was weaker after the initial de-bulking surgery, when they needed to take her spleen? I will never get the answers.

So angry with people telling me my mum is resting now without any pain. My mum was not in pain, in November we were in Paris together, she had more energy than any person I know. She was happy, she had such a lovely smile that I will never see again.

So angry with people telling me - oh its better she passed aways so fast, what if the chemo didnt work. So everyone is a doctor now? Her actual doctors were positive and other treatments would be deployed.

My mum just turned 66, 3 days before chemo. I know that there are people who passed away younger, but majority dont, thats why the average life expectancy in Europe is 80.2 years. I knew that she would never live that long due to the illness, but I feel years were stolen away from her. Might it be one, two, three, four… I would be grateful for anything. Just one more time to hold her and tell her how much I love her.

My husband is trying to be supportive, but his parents are younger and alive. All my friends have both parents. And people who tell me that they also lost their parents lost them when they were in the late 70s, early 80s. I know the loss of a parent hurts the same, regardless of age, but my sweet mum deserved more years and enjoyed the company of family and friends who love her so much.

How am I supposed to accept it? Lose her so suddenly, without warning, so young?


Hello @Martina_inpain ,

I’m part of the Online Community team and I can see that you are new to the community - I’d like to thank you for bravely starting this thread and sharing how you are feeling angry after the very recent and unexpected passing of your mum. I’m so sorry to hear about your mum. Most community members have sadly experienced the death of a loved one and so will understand some of what you are going through.

I’m sure someone will be along to offer their support, but I wanted to share a few Sue Ryder resources with you that might be helpful.

I really hope you find the community helpful and a good source of support and I also hope you feel you can access more support should you need it.

Thank you again for sharing – please keep reaching out and know that you are not alone.

Take care,


Hi Martina,

I’m sorry for the loss of your mother. It is incredibly distressing to lose your mum seemingly out of nowhere without the opportunity to say goodbye.

I have posted on here quite a bit as I am struggling with grief after the loss of my father. My father had cancer in 2020 and we thought he was through it. We found out in September that the cancer had returned and dad passed away 8 weeks later.

Cancer is a dreadful disease. The ups and downs, unpredictability and hope along the way make it a truly traumatic experience for the person and the loved ones. One moment we think that they are doing ok and the next they can be taken without warning. It feels exceptionally cruel.

It is extremely difficult to know that you should be spending time with your mum this weekend but instead you are seeking support on a grief site. This is not something that is easy to come to terms with.

It is my birthday tomorrow and the first one without my father. My dad finished his radiotherapy on my birthday in 2021 and I naeively believed this was a good sign. All I can think is that tomorrow should be two years since my dad finished his radiotherapy treatment and we should be celebrating but instead I am sat here wracking my brain as to how and why he could be taken from us so quickly.

I understand the feelings of anger. I know from speaking to other people on this site that anger is very normal. My father was 70, older than your mother but prior to cancer he was fitter than most people my age. I feel like we have had years stolen from us, as you say life expectancy is 80’s. I think the myth that medical science can cure almost anything these days makes it particularly difficult to bare. My dad’s cancer was one that is very curable or so I was told.

I also have questions that I will never get answers to and I have found that my sadness often manifests in anger. I even blame myself that I didn’t know that dad was ill again but doctors didn’t even know so how could I? Your dad will have been doing his best for your mum I’m sure.

You have suffered a terrible, life changing loss. I think we are told we must find acceptance but this will either come with time or it won’t. You are entitled to feel sad and angry.

I’m sorry I can’t offer any further advice. I am struggling myself. You are not alone in how you feel.


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Hi Katherine,

thank you for your kind words. Indeed, cancer is a dreadful disease and causes so much pain.

I was so scared when my mom was diagnosed, but as she was doing so well, my worries passed. I knew she was ill but when you get the reassuring words from the doctor, you worry less. I spent a few days with my family before xmas but spent the actual xmas with my husband’s parents as I believed we had more years with my mum. I feel so guilty that it is eating me alive. In the past year I stopped praying for her daily, as she was so well, I wonder if this was God’s way of punishing me.

I cannot digest that the life was so cruel to her. She survived the worst (having a stoma bag, debulking operation etc) and then she passed away of bacteria. I know there is no such a thing as ‘if’ but the thought that she could be alive if she had the treatment on a different day, is killing me. The week it happened I thought of her a lot, I thought how proud I was of her doing so well but didnt call for few days. Maybe if I called and knew she was unwell, I could have persuaded her to go to hospital sooner. I have been dying inside at the idea that there was a chance of saving her and we failed her. She was a bit afraid of chemo, but we all told her that she will nail it and it will be over fast. And it should have been and destiny changed it.

I would have shaved off years of my life to give it to my mum. I already had a much nicer life than she had thanks to her. She worked hard in the factory all her life to give me a better life and now when I am in position to return the favor, look after her and treat her to luxuries she deserves so much, she is gone. At 66!!! After the funeral I went around the graves, everyone was around 80 when they passed, I cried so much knowing years were stolen away from her. Not because the treatment didn’t work but because she was in the wrong place the wrong time to contract the bacteria. I spent weeks searching the survival rate of infection in chemo patients, it is actually high if you go to hospital asap. And my parents didnt do it, they waited, I dont know what for but she still could be here if they acted faster. I know it is not my dad’s fault but currently I cannot talk to him. I didnt call for 4 days and she was gone. And I will never see her, hear her, kiss her, cuddle her. I love her so much and want her back.

So lost and broken xxxxx


I just read your post and my heart goes out to you .I have no words to comfort you as you are experiencing the worst possible nightmare.I just want you to know I am thinking of you
Deborah x


Hi Martina,

I can tell how much you love your mother and I’m so sorry that you are suffering so much.


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My mum battled cancer for 8 years, she was pallative but had 2 recent stable scans. She was sick on the friday and complained about stomach pain, exactly the same hated hospitals. She said she felt better saturday, i worked nights that night and by the time my dad rung me to saybhe thought something was really wrong it was 2 late. We think it was sepsis or toxic shock, she died sunday at home. I relate with so much of your story, my mum was 80 and battled so hard…i the end it came so quick and so unprepared i thought she had another few years…i am struggling x

Our mums fought for their lives and we can be so proud of them I know if my mum could have stayed she would still be here so whatever it was that got her in the end was way too much for her. She was such a fighter. I always thought my mum would have a few more years also and didnt see this coming at all. What a shock it was to be told death was imminent. I feel so angry about the way they told me.
Thinking of you
Deborah x

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I feel your pain, i am thinking of you and understand. There are things that play on my mind over and over…loss is so overwhelming but i am so proud of our mums, who fought everyday…i am going to be atrong for her x

The sudden loss is just so painful. I always said that if I were to die, I would like to go fast but now seeing the impact the loss of my mum had on so many people, I would not wish it on my dear ones.

For me the added grief is my mom’s age. I would gladly give up years of my life to give it to her, to die at 66 was just unfair, especially the circumstances, and I cannot cope with it.