07/03/2001DEAR ABBY: "Mortified Daughter in Michigan" wrote that when there is a death in or outside her family, her mother always sends a card with cash in it to the grieving family. The daughter thought it was "tacky." Thank you for siding with the mother.
That girl should stop criticizing and rethink her stance. A little extra money could help with the larger phone bills that are generated when others are notified of the death. Money will be needed for stationery and postage for thank-you notes. Sometimes there are travel expenses if the deceased is buried elsewhere. Money might also be needed for hospital bills. -- SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE, ESCONDIDO, CALIF.
DEAR SPEAKING: Thank you for so astutely pointing that out. "Mortified Daughter's" letter generated a flurry of mail -- all of it illuminating. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: The president of an organization to which I belong lost her husband suddenly. When I attended the funeral, I gave her a card in which I had enclosed some cash. This woman appeared to be fairly prosperous. (I later learned that she made all of her own clothes.)
At the meeting of our organization following the funeral, she drew me aside and told me that her Social Security check had been withheld pending settlement of the death benefits. It would be a month before she would receive a check from Social Security for her benefits. She added that the funeral expenses had absorbed all the money she had. Without the money I had given her, she would not have been able to buy food. -- JOAN IN OXNARD, CALIF.
DEAR JOAN: That's shocking. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: When my husband died from a sudden heart attack, I don't know how I would have managed without the generous cash gifts I received. Our joint credit card account was canceled, and I had to redo the paperwork.
While "Mortified Daughter" may think giving money is tacky, I'm sure there are many bereaved families in my position. Believe me, we are grateful for monetary gifts to help us over the rough spots. -- WIDOW IN ROY, UTAH
DEAR WIDOW: I believe you. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Most people don't realize how long it actually takes for paperwork to be handled before death benefits are paid. Some insurance companies take up to eight weeks before they pay the beneficiaries. Try telling your mortgage company the check is in the mail for eight weeks.
No matter what financial situation you think the family is in, money is the most practical and useful gift. -- D.S. IN CRYSTAL LAKE, ILL.
DEAR D.S.: Well put. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: When my husband passed away suddenly, we were living on a fixed income and I was raising a grandchild we had adopted. We were in our late 70s. Had it not been for friends who gave money, I don't know how I would have paid the bills. Their kindness will always be remembered. Flowers are beautiful, but in a few days they are gone.
When someone I know passes away, I always tuck a little money in my sympathy card. It is my gift of love to them. It's not the amount I send, but the thought that counts. -- GRATEFUL IN TAMPA, FLA.
DEAR GRATEFUL: You're right. Any amount will do. If it puts fuel in the car, or pays for a meal, it's one less thing for the grieving family to worry about. Thanks to all the caring people who wrote to confirm this.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
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