I am in a very rough situation. Non-US PhD program.
I already have a research MS from US. I came back to grad school a good time after my MS (I worked in industry and Academia in between for around 5+ years) because of my PhD supervisor. I knew the research area/prior work well before coming in, and my supervisor was quite knowledgeable in the area.
During my 2nd semester - I took a parental leave. The week after I came back - my supervisor died suddenly and unexpectedly - quite young for his age. Everyone was stunned and had difficulty processing it. I was working with a postdoc and my supervisor - and the postdoc was already scheduled to leave the week my supervisor died. So suddenly, I was faced with a new project I just came onboard, had very little documentation and support and no-one to turn to.
We were quickly assigned alternate supervisors by university and I focused my 3rd semester to deal with the supervisor death fallout (finding new supervisor, sorting out held up funding, understanding which project to work on). My new supervisor is a good one - same research area but different topic/thurst. Attended a course with him to understand if I would change research direction, but he advised me to try and work on the old project and stick to that area.
Honestly, I am struggling. Resources are scarce and not finding enough help or support, let alone the psychological fallout of the loss of supervisor.
If I decide to discard the last year and apply for another grad program this year - can death of PhD supervisor be considered as a valid reason to find a new PhD program? Do I talk about my situation in SOP? How would this be viewed? Am I likely to get support for this move from those in my current department?