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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Abused as Child Still Bears Pain of Waiting to Tell

DEAR ABBY: As a longtime reader, I have often been inspired and touched by the special poems and essays you include in your columns. A few years ago, I sent for your "Keepers" booklet, so that I would have some of your favorites on hand in times of need.

Our special "time of need" came last fall, with the death of our daughter Kathy after a long and fierce battle with kidney disease. Her death came about seven months after my mother's death and just three weeks after my mother-in-law's passing.

In the midst of our grief, it was very important to us that Kathy's services be appropriate to her courage, her love, and our belief that death could not destroy the love our family has shared. From "Keepers," we selected two poems, the beautiful "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep" and "A Parable of Immortality." We have had many positive comments on both readings and requests for copies.

Thank you for compiling your "Keepers" booklet. There are many poems that we love and use often. And once again, thank you for being there. You have often lifted my heart with hope, and at times provided a good chuckle as well. -- BARBARA P. KRAUS, CLAYMONT, DEL.

DEAR BARBARA: Thank you for your kind letter. Clearly, 1996 has been a difficult year for you. Please accept my deepest sympathy not only on the loss of your mother and mother-in-law, but on your cherished daughter as well. I am gratified that I was able to provide some comfort to you and your loved ones.