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Dear Abby: Tardy condolences were indeed cold

Dear Abby: We received a nasty note from our daughter-in-law, "Ariella." She lives several states away. Her father passed away about six weeks ago. They lived out of state, and we were never close with them.

Ariella is angry because we didn't send flowers to the viewing and didn't send her mother a sympathy card until two weeks after the funeral.

We're in our late 70s. Ariella's father was 89. Should we have sent flowers? And is two weeks after a death too late to send a sympathy card? Our other three children each received identical notes from Ariella. — Befuddled in Alabama

Dear Befuddled: I'll say this about your daughter-in-law — she's outspoken about her emotions. Ariella's parents may have lived out of state, but they are (were) members of your extended family, and frankly, the nonchalance with which you treated the death of Ariella's father surprises me.

No law says you were obligated to send flowers for the funeral — but to have done so would have been a compassionate gesture and let her and her mother know you cared. To then wait two weeks before extending any condolences was cold in light of the fact that you could have picked up the phone and done it immediately — and the same goes for your children.