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How could it go so fast?


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Hi all,

My lovely mom passed away last week after fighting a very tough battle for 8 months. She was 67 years old. I will never forget the night we found out her diagnosis; pancreatic cancer that had spread to her liver and lungs. It was earth shattering. Despite knowing the stats, over the course of her 8 month battle I lived with (false) hope that she would somehow be the exception to the norm, as I'm sure many of you did too. As long as I still had my mom, I wasn't thinking to much about the end. For the first few months, the chemo was working. However, as time went on, it started to be ineffective and became harder on my mom's body with each round. Her pain increased tremendously and in the last few months, she developed ascites. We knew that our appointment with the oncologist wouldn't be a good one and we weren't mistaken. She said that the treatment would be stopped and my mother would need hospice. Sadly, we never made it to hospice and my mother was hospitalized for the last 10 days of her life. Her pain became intolerable. She was getting over 1000 mg of morphine plus a slew of other pain meds. During the last few days of her life, she received sedatives, as she could no longer bare being awake due to the pain. In the end, I believe that the morphine is what did her over. Her body was still pretty strong at the time of her death and I don't feel like it was her time to die. But, she could no longer handle the pain and she wanted to die. Although her condition has been declining for the last two months, the end was very fast, leaving me very confused. I always imagined that it would take more time. I thought that when we got the news of hospice, we would have at least a few more months with her and time to say our goodbyes. However, she was taken from us so abruptly.

My mother was a best friend to me. I could talk to her about everything and I spent a lot of time with her. I am very grateful for the relationship I had with her for 30 years. I am having a very difficult time processing her death and understanding that she's no longer here. I don't really even know what to do with myself. Luckily, I have an amazing partner and very close family and we are keeping each other strong.

So, any advice on:

- Processing death

- Dealing with the shock

- Dealing with anger of not getting diagnosed sooner

- Dealing with feelings of guilt

Would love to hear if anybody else experienced these feelings.

Thank you!

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PCUK Nurse Rachel R

Hi rufusthedog,

It's Rachel here - one of the nurses. I am incredibly sad and sorry to hear of the rapid passing of your lovely Mum. My heart goes out to you.

I'm sure other people that have their own personal experiences of losing such a close person to them will reply soon, however I just wanted to let you know that we are here if ever you wish to chat - the support line details are in the strip below.

Kind wishes,


Rachel Richardson

Pancreatic Cancer Specialist Nurse

Support Team

Pancreatic Cancer UK

email: nurse@pancreaticcancer.org.uk

support line: 0808 801 0707

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Hi Rufusthesdog,

First of all I am so sorry you have lost your mum to this bloody awful disease. I lost my dad last August. He died three months after his diagnosis.

I felt just like you - angry, confused and I couldn’t accept he had gone.

I have a wonderfully support family and even through they helped me greatly, I decided to seek counselling through the hospice that cared for my dad in his final two weeks. It helped me immensely and I would really recommend you ask for this. It made me see things from my dads perspective and helped me feel better about questions I had and guilt I felt.

My councillor explained how when someone you love dies it is like a ricochet where you feel completely lost and desperate and then have moments of feeling strong and accepting of what’s happened. You go back and fourth and at first are more lost and desperate than strong and accepting. As time goes on you spend more time as strong and accepting but the sadness never goes away completely.

It’s a cliche but you have to give yourself time. Let yourself grieve and cry - don’t bottle it up. Talk about your mum and talk to your mum - keep her memory alive.

The early days are the darkest but it will get easier x

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