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Can I get some help wording an e-mail?


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My brother has asked for something for his birthday that we can't possibly give him. It involves a cross-country trip and tickets to a particular celebrity event. Honestly, I'm not sure if he was somewhat kidding; nor am I sure that he didn't mean for us to join him. My brother has issues, and social appropriateness is among them.


My (extended) family does not celebrate each other's birthdays. I might or might not receive an e-mail birthday wish or a card from someone in my family. I would never expect (or receive) anything more. So this is WAY out of left field.


Another detail -- this brother, who is mildly handicapped (barely reads, socially clueless, not very nice, though he was once married, and is employed in a blue collar job), lives probably 75% off my parents. That is, he *does* work; but he does not begin to support himself. Could he live on his income? Yes. I'm sure many reading this post live on as little money as he makes. But he would be quite poor, and my parents can afford to support him, so nobody minds their doing so.


However, I'm afraid that he feels entitled to being supported. His siblings cannot and will not support him. (My parents have provided for him in their wills. He can expect that, but he can't expect more than that.) (And there are no hard feelings among the siblings over this.)


OK, that's a lot of information.


Help me write an e-mail telling him we can't provide this birthday present. It has to be kind. I'm not interested in throwing down any gauntlet or putting him in his place. His life is sad to me, and I'm not interested in making him feel unloved or embarrassed.


I just don't know what to say to him.


Thanks so much.

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"Dear Brother,


I wish we were able to give you the trip as a birthday gift.  However, we can't

afford that kind of gift--but we absolutely wish you a great birthday!   Please know

that you are very important to us and that we really love you.


Your Name"

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