DEAR ABBY: A couple of years ago, you had a beautiful piece in your column I would love to have, but I can't remember the name of it. In it was this line: "Kisses aren't contracts, and presents aren't promises, and sunshine burns if you get too much of it."

Please try to find it and run it again. I believe the author was unknown. - JOYCE IN K.C.DEAR JOYCE: Here it is. It was copyrighted in 1987. The author is Joy Whitman.


After a while you learn the subtle difference

between holding a hand and sharing a life

and you learn that love doesn't mean possession

and company doesn't mean security

and loneliness is universal

And you learn that kisses aren't contracts

and presents aren't promises

and you begin to accept your defeats

with your head up and your eyes open

with the grace of a woman

not the grief of a child

And you learn to build your hope on today

as the future has a way of falling apart in midflight

because tomorrow's ground can be too uncertain for plans

yet each step taken in a new direction creates a path

toward the promise of a brighter dawn

And you learn that even sunshine burns

if you get too much

so you plant your own garden

and nourish your own soul

instead of waiting for someone

to bring you flowers

And you learn that love, true love

always has joys and sorrows

seems ever present, yet is never quite the same

becoming more than love and less than love

so difficult to define

And you learn that through it all

you really can endure

that you really are strong

that you do have value

and you learn and grow

with every goodbye

you learn

DEAR ABBY: A dear friend of mine recently lost her 30-year-old son. He was a Navy pilot. The cards and flowers were so numerous that when I called to ask her how she was doing (after the funeral), she said she just didn't see how she was going to send out the required thank-you notes - inasmuch as her mind was numb, and it took all the energy she had to make it through the day.

I feel that the social amenity of having to send thank-you notes when there has been a death is one we need to reconsider. Surely, those who send remembrances know in advance of the family's gratitude and thankfulness for being thought of at this tragic time. - HER FRIEND IN KANSAS

DEAR FRIEND: Under the circumstances, it is acceptable to send commercially printed cards. For example: "The family of thanks you warmly for your thoughtful expression of sympathy."

Stationers who print such cards can help your friend frame an appropriate message.

- Everything you'll need to know about planning a wedding can be found in Abby's booklet, "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)

990 Universal Press Syndicate