Q. I lost my husband some six months ago. My family and I received mounds of sympathy cards, food, flowers and money. We received over some 500 cards and correspondences. I have attempted to set up help from friends and family to respond to many of these, but the scheduling often fell through. I have responded publicly and with personal correspondences to some, as well as organizations/affiliates and co-workers. I however have not fully taken care of corresponded to many individuals that I desire. During these past six months multiple changes, family and work related matters and my health have impacted my ability to organize and stay focused to this task in a timelier manner. Can you advise we on the appropriate time frame and window of opportunity that I may still express my gratitude to these people? Also, is there a timeline on a public newspaper thank you?
A. I am sure that most people who sent notes and gestures of condolences do not expect a response from you in your darkest period of mourning, or any immediate action whatsoever. There is no definitive timetable which you should adhere to when sending out your thank you notes, and it is never too late to express your gratitude. Simply attend to your list as best you can, when you are feeling up to the task. If your close family members or friends are not able to write them on your behalf, it is better that you do so personally when you feel you are able. We are not aware of any protocol associated with a newspaper thank you, as we recommend that all notes of condolence or acts of kindness (except when a printed condolence card is sent without a personal message added, which does not require an acknowledgement) be acknowledged with a handwritten note.