DEAR AMY: When my wonderful husband passed away two and a half years ago, I set up an educational fund for my children — for those who wished to provide gifts in his memory. People were overwhelmingly generous. At the time, it was very hard for me to read all the kind cards and letters I received (it still is). Last night I found three checks I had missed: two for $50 and one for $500! These are from people I don’t see on a regular basis, if ever. I know it’s far too late to deposit the checks but not too late to say thank you. My question is whether and how to acknowledge the uncashed checks. Should I just send them back with my thank you notes? Should I say something about not depositing them, and if so, what? I feel very awkward about this, and no less appreciative of the uncashed checks than I am of the checks I deposited. — More Than a Day Late
DEAR DAY LATE: You are so right when you say that it is never too late to thank people for their generosity. Do this right away. You should write a note, explaining your challenge. Say, “I see that you donated generously to my children’s educational fund and that I never encountered (or thanked you for) your very thoughtful donation until now. I am sending your check back to you. Even though it has not been cashed I want you to know that I am incredibly touched and deeply grateful. The educational fund is in great shape and so please don’t feel compelled to replace this check. The thought of your generosity is all the gift we need.” Follow this with a few lines about how you and the children are doing and sign off with affection.
DEAR AMY: I met a wonderful man who is kind, shares my religion, does not have any addictions (to my knowledge) and makes me feel loved when we are together. He is widowed and I’m divorced. I let him know that I wanted to spend time together, but that he needed to let me know in advance rather than just show up at my house. Now he makes excuses for why we can’t spend time together. He doesn’t offer to take me out, nor does he ever buy a meal and bring it to my house when he shows up. I have not met any of his friends, even though he has said he wants to marry me. He claims he is honest but I have caught him in a number of lies. I told him I don’t trust him. I tried ending the relationship but he begged me to give him another chance. I told him the lies have to stop and that he needed to start putting his words into actions. He promised he would — but he has not. I’m really confused. Should I end the romantic relationship and just be his friend? — Wanting It to Work
DEAR WANTING: Let’s recap: He is a chronic liar and you are certain that you can’t trust him (so — maybe he was lying when he said he wanted to marry you). According to you, not having an addiction (to your knowledge) is really one of his best qualities. If you decide to try to stay in this relationship, you should enjoy it for what it is and make no assumptions about what it could be. But based on your own description, you should consider ending the romance. You should also reconsider even having a friendship with this man. Liars make terrible partners — and terrible friends.
DEAR AMY: Thank you for recommending that “Emotionally Exhausted Daughter” attend an Alateen meeting. I have been an Alateen sponsor for almost 16 years. I am fortunate to be part of a highly functional and large Alateen group. Five of our Alateens graduated from high school last spring. All are doing very well despite their very difficult circumstances. Alateen does work. Thank you for spreading the word. — Proud Sponsor
DEAR SPONSOR: Addiction is extremely isolating. Meeting with supportive peers who are also living with an addict can be transformative. Thank you for your advocacy.