DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Dwight," was very ill a few years ago. Some wonderful folks held a fundraiser to help us with bills and unpaid leave. We paid all of the outstanding medical bills and living expenses with a large portion of the money; the remainder has been set aside for an organ transplant Dwight will need a few years down the road.
We are extremely grateful to everyone who put forth the time and effort, as well as those who donated money. Dwight is now in remission, and we are both back to our full-time jobs.
Over the last three years, the only time we have taken for ourselves is a couple of long weekends. Our home is old and we've had to replace some windows and do some minor repairs. Our car is 10 years old and still runs fine, but eventually we will have to buy another one.
I'm afraid that people who helped us may think we are squandering their gift if we take a vacation or buy a car. Even when we repaired our home, we felt guilty.
My husband is healthy right now, and we would like to enjoy ourselves before things change again. The last thing we want to do is hurt anyone's feelings or jeopardize our friendships. Would you please share your thoughts on this? -- LIVING IN A GLASS HOUSE
DEAR LIVING: In a situation like yours, appearances DO matter. People are extremely sensitive these days about money that is intended for one purpose being spent on another.
If you haven't already done so, to avoid any misunderstandings, put what remains of the donated monies into a separate interest-bearing account earmarked for your husband's transplant. This will enable you to live your lives.
Should anyone second-guess you, explain that you are taking the vacation or buying the next car with your earnings, and that the funds that were donated will eventually be used for the purpose for which they were intended.