Feeling ashamed

A friend of ours lost her grown up daughter without warning, nine months ago. At the time, we did our best to be supportive, trying to help with texts, emails and phone calls, knowing that she and her son were bereft. By a terrible coincidence, we lost our daughter, also with no warning, two months later. We have carried on the contact, trying to be supportive but we are both struggling to cope with our own grief and with that of our son-in-law, so it’s difficult to respond positively when our friend sends texts etc which are very negative. We appreciate that her husband is out of the picture (it’s a long story) and that we do still have each other but she has a son both to support and be supported by.
We don’t want to be cruel and goodness knows, we should understand if anyone does but we’re finding it hard when she calls on us, usually just expressing her own unhappiness very strongly. The difference with choosing to come on to a site like this, is that there’s a choice, to read or not, to respond or not, depending on how strong we feel at the time, whereas a friend’s texts are more immediate and demanding.
Does anyone have any experience or suggestions how we can respond positively without bringing ourselves down in the process?

I appreciate how difficult this must be for you. The unhappy coincidence of you and your friend both losing someone so close has really added to your burden. I’m so very sorry to hear about your daughter. I have never lost a child so knowing how you feel is not easy, but grief is grief.
I just don’t know how to advise you, but let’s look at the situation. Your friend is obviously still in deep shock, and is reaching out trying to find an answer to her pain. The first thing I think is important is not to think you are being selfish You most certainly are not. You don’t need added grief, but at the same time, you have a friend in distress.
Is it possible to talk to her about some form of help? Would she come on here or go for counselling? Can you try and be positive when she talks to you? But I doubt you feel very positive yourself.
I know, anything I suggest is going to be difficult for you.
I have a belief that whatever we do if we do it with love and empathy it will come right.
I’m sorry, I feel that what I have said is rather inadequate. You may find someone on here has been in a similar situation and can help better than I.
Take care. I wish you well at this awful time.

Thanks, Jonathon. I suppose I really know all this but it’s so difficult to cope when we have our own feelings to contend with. Our friend has had counselling but doesn’t seem to feel she’s benefitted much from it.
On a lighter note, we had some good news today from some other friends, whose daughter is responding well to treatment for cancer. (You wouldn’t make it up, would you?) So we both feel a bit more positive, today.
Thanks again

Hi J. I too have lost my son to cancer 15 months ago. The pain is insurmountable. I have a friend who has no children and never been married who drains me mentally and emotionally with her personal problems. She is exhausting. She calls me at least 3 times per day and never once asks how I am. In addition, she does say to me on the odd occasion to talk first as she has too much to tell me. I find it exhausting and quite selfish as she does get a lot of attention from me. Her problems are not a patch to what I am going through but to her they are very big. She has done counselling but still demands my attention incessantly. I find it exhausting. I have told her in a very nice way that I am always there for her but I am battling myself with my own grief. She backs off a few hours and then starts messaging and calling. I cannot phathom why she cannot comprehend how we all have our problems and sorrow to handle. …but she continues. The only way I can get through to her is by saying to her I am not in a good place and that I will contact her when feeling more together. She then stops but she tells me how hurt she feels. I speak to her kindly and reassure her that as I am not in a good place myself I am concerned I may come across as negative which is the last thing I want to do as I care for her as a friend. It seems to work well. Being firm but with a gentle approach seems to work for me. A xx

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