I work in the US. I share some duties with a woman, Jane, who has been out the past few days due to her son having major surgery. Since she has been out, I have been doing all the work of the duties we share plus trying to do tasks I have been assigned we don't share. I am empathetic to what she is going through but I feel I am drowning in work.
On Saturday, Jane sent me a text advising of her son's condition which wasn't good. I empathized. I told her he is in my prayers and that her son who is 24 is a fighter. I asked if she thinks she might be in next week and she said she is not leaving her son's side in the hospital until he is stable which is understandable.
In order to let her know how things are going on the job, I explained how a particular task we both do has increased exponentially and I am trying to do the best I can to get the work done. My intention was just to update her on the state of things, not to tell her to come back to work. I understand where her priorities lie.
Then all of a sudden I receive a text saying to not bother Jane with all this and she can take all the time she needs and if you have a problem, you can talk to me on Monday. I then realized that I was actually in a group chat where Jane was updating her friends on her son's condition. I had thought Jane's text was only directed to me. This was not the case. Our manager was on the text routing list. In my defense, I did not feel I was bothering Jane.
I was just letting her know how things were going in her absence. And to know what was her plan going forward, as a friend and coworker. Now maybe it looks like I am selfish and just thinking of my workload and not her son's condition. I did not respond to my manager's text. Now I have to go in on Monday and possibly be confronted by my Manager who thinks I'm badgering Jane about coming back to work.
My question is, how do I let my manager know that I cannot keep up with my shared duties as well as my own duties and it seems Jane does not plan on coming back to work anytime soon? I also do not want to come across as unsympathetic to Jane's son situation.