DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my church members lost her son when he was killed tragically in a car crash. I feel so sorry for her. She has decided to take up the cause against drunk drivers because of this, and she has asked all of the members of the church to support her. I understand how upset she is, and I do want to help. What I don't want to do is to join the committee and march and all of the other stuff she has planned. It's not because I don't care. I really do. But I have my own life and responsibilities, and I feel like I can't take on anything else. I have offered to make a donation, but so far, she has not agreed to take it. She wants me to be boots on the ground with her. How can I support her and draw the line on what I will do? -- Striking a Balance, Cleveland
DEAR STRIKING A BALANCE: I'm so sorry to hear of your church member's loss. This type of death is very hard to understand and accept. Good for her that she wants to bring awareness to such an important topic. And good for you that you know your limitations. You can be clear with this woman that you love and support her and that the way you can be of help is financial.
She may not realize it yet, but everything costs money. What you are able to contribute will eventually prove to be helpful. You can have an honest and compassionate conversation with her, explaining that this is the way that you can help her and that you hope she will accept it. Put a check in an envelope with a sympathy card and give it to her. When she asks you to do something you cannot or do not want to do, say no.