DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I have built a new home to accommodate the special needs of our disabled adult daughter, who lives with us. The building project, and then the move itself, did not go smoothly at all! Murphy’s Law has been at play.
On the rainy day we finally moved in, several neighbors personally appeared over the course of the afternoon to bring tokens of welcome, including holiday goodies and even a plant. It was all very kind and very much appreciated.
Getting settled continues to be a huge struggle. Between caring for our daughter around the clock and unpacking while dealing with unexpected leaks and similar mishaps, I am an exhausted, nervous wreck. I have not even begun to unpack my desk, pens or stationery.
In these circumstances, am I expected to write thank-you notes for the welcome gifts? I’d really like to, but have no idea when I may have the time, energy or wherewithal to figure out the neighbors’ names and addresses, and find notecards and stamps, etc.
Is there a requirement or deadline for such things? I am truly very appreciative, but also a wreck.
GENTLE READER: And therefore you are fortunate to have such good neighbors, on whose kindness you may have occasion to depend.
Miss Manners often hears the argument that it is a cruel imposition to expect those in difficulty to express gratitude. What she finds callous is the notion that in this era of constant feedback, it is kindness, compassion and generosity that may be ignored.
Perhaps later you will be able to reciprocate, but Miss Manners begs you to take a few minutes now to assure them of your appreciation on whatever scrap of paper you can find. (It should not take longer than it took you to write this letter.) Addresses can easily be matched with names on the internet.
If you ignore them, well-meaning people may conclude that you wish to be left alone to cope with your problems.