DEAR ABBY: "Helene," my future sister-in-law, asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding this June. I agreed.

I just found out I am pregnant, and by my doctor's calculations, I will be eight months along in June. When I told Helene why I couldn't be in her wedding, I started a family feud. She feels it is perfectly OK for me to be a bridesmaid with an enormous belly. I say I would look ridiculous, and my physical state would detract from the wedding.I don't want to hurt their feelings, but I also want to preserve the sanctity of the wedding. (Also, that far along in the pregnancy, anything can happen!)

What's your opinion? - THE BELLY IN EAGAN, MINN.

DEAR BELLY: If you would be uncomfortable standing up for the bride during your eighth month, your future sister-in-law should be sensitive enough to release you from your promise and allow you to sit this one out. You are correct - at eight months, anything can happen.

DEAR ABBY: A close friend of mine is mourning the death of her 8-month-old son who was drowned when he fell into a five-gallon bucket of water.

My friend was preparing to mop the bathroom floor when her telephone rang in the other room. She ran to answer it and said she was gone no longer than three minutes. When she came back, her child was headfirst in the bucket - dead.

She is filled with guilt, poor thing, and inconsolable. She asked me to write to you so you can warn your readers that this can happen. - HER FRIEND

DEAR FRIEND: Some years ago, I warned my readers who had toddlers to keep the door to the bathroom closed because a child had climbed up onto a toilet, fell in and was found dead of drowning shortly after. Readers, please look after your precious children and keep them safe and out of harm's way.

DEAR ABBY: I have enjoyed your column for many years. Thanks for keeping such a great conversation going.

I write poetry now and then. For example:

"Forget Happiness!"

It will not be found, like a lost purse;

It will find you, like a lost person!

If you would be found,

Be little to be seen,

Be silent to be heard,

Be simple to be known.

Be heartful to be loved,

Be giving to be strong,

Be empty to be filled,

Be rooted to be grown!