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Greetings, dear readers!  It’s been so long, and I apologize for that.  Honestly, time has just gotten away from me.  I often feel like this year has only just begun.  But no!  We are now in the midst of Spring (in this hemisphere at least) and the glorious season of Easter, springtime of the soul!  So, first thing: I want to wish a joyful and blessed Easter to all of you!  :D

As usual, I have been prompted by my friends and your fellow readers that I am overdue for a blog post and an update.

Not too much has changed, but the changes there have been have been quite significant.  I am recently moved into a new apartment in a different part of town.  I also have a new relationship with a wonderful gentleman.  As you can imagine, these new circumstances have brought great joy and freshness to my life!  I feel like I have finally closed an old chapter in my story and entered into an entirely new one.

I was starting to think this would never happen.  It seemed like a wild fantasy, something impossible and out of reach.  I yearned for it so greatly, and the yearning seemed completely ineffective and futile.  I felt I would be consigned to the same place for the rest of my life.  But it did happen.  As gradually and delicately and naturally as a new bud opening in Spring it happened.  Without my realizing it, it was happening for quite some time, until the full glory of it struck me.

The natural seasons happen much the same way, don’t they?  They change over time until one day you are struck by the fact that it is Spring or Summer or Autumn or Winter.  It should come as no surprise; these changes happen every single year.  And yet each season is always new and extraordinary, even if we may only appreciate it for a moment.

Thinking of nature’s splendor brings to mind a very dear and special person–and this is another recent change to my life: the recent passing of Father Edward Mathias “Matt” Robinson, O.P., the spiritual director of my local Lay Dominican community.  He lived to the ripe old age of 97, and will always rank as one of the most knowledgeable and wise people I have ever known, learned in the natural sciences as well as theology, philosophy, and spiritual matters–much like the patron of our local priory, St. Albert the Great!  He was also known as the patriarch of the local pro-life movement.  I highly recommend his online work, Fetal Life and Abortion: Human Personhood at Conception which appeals to human reason through philosophy and natural science to demonstrate the personhood and right to life of fetuses from the moment of conception.  There is also a brief obituary posted there currently.

April has also brought the second anniversary of my father’s passing.  Grief does strange things to time.  Sometimes it feels much longer than two years, while sometimes it feels like just yesterday.  The one thing that is constant is my missing him.  I know he is still near to me, but there’s nothing to replace the sound of his voice or the warmth of his hand enclosing mine.  How lonely life is sometimes!  This too is a season that must run its natural course.  I know that’s exactly what he would tell me.

And of course, I have plenty of people and things to which to devote myself in the here and now.  In every time, we must be faithful to the present, so that is what I am trying to do!

I hope you all are doing well, and keep you in my prayers as always.  God bless you!

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Mom called first thing this morning and said that Dad was refusing to eat and that delirium was setting in… and that the hospice doctor said he would probably pass within a week.

I am going to the funeral home in my hometown to set up some arrangements.

I will probably go back to Pittsburgh on Thursday.

I am eerily calm about everything.  Maybe it’s shock and numbness.  Maybe it’s weariness.  Maybe it’s the grace of God fortifying me and holding me together.

It’s all rather surreal.  But it’s not a dream.  Oh, if only it were just a dream!

I feel like my life is passing from one shadow to another.  I was finally starting to recover from losing my fiance, Patrick, in April 2005.  And now I am about to lose the most important man in my entire life… Dad… I feel like my wounded heart is bursting open all over again, just when I thought it was healed and whole again.

Oh, why must things happen this way?  I thought we’d have more time together.  I thought I might get at least a few years of a normal, happy life.  I thought my Dad would walk me down the aisle at my wedding someday, and get to know a grandchild or two.  Oh, why couldn’t things have happened that way?

Oh Lord…

Recently, my ring broke very unexpectedly.  It was the only ring I wore.  Silver with a mystic fire topaz.  This one.

I’d bought it for myself shortly after my fiancé, Patrick, died.  I’d wanted a wedding ring just like it.  At the time, I fancied it helped keep my bond with him alive and “real.”  But it was just a ring I’d bought for myself.  And I wore that ring through some incredibly brutal times.

I was sad when it broke, but then I realized that compared to the sadness I’d come through already, with that ring on my finger, it was as nothing.  In fact, I’ve come to see it as a kind of release, a liberation.  As if my ring were saying, “I belong to that time… but you do not.  I’ve accompanied you far enough.  You should go on ahead now.  Find a new ring to go with you.”

It reminded me of a very vivid dream I had one night a few years ago.  I was sitting next to Patrick.  It seemed we were up on a high cliff, overlooking a sea.  He was telling me that our ways must part and we must go on our own ways.  He said there were other people who needed my love, and I must go to them and not linger near the past any more.  It was a sweet, gentle, simply truthful scene.

I felt a definite breaking off, a definite separation.  But it was a natural break, not a painful, jarring one.  It wasn’t a complete destruction of the past–nothing can ever destroy the time we had together.  It just shrank to a broken shard that I could carry around for remembrance, but not enter back into.

Sort of like the piece of ring I still have lying on the table.  I’ll probably keep it, at least for a while.  I still admire it.  But I won’t be wearing it any more.  I won’t be having it repaired.  I’m going to let it stay broken.  And get a new ring for this new time in my life.

I’m thinking about a deep red garnet.  It can remind me of the Precious Blood of Christ that has purchased my new lease on life–not only this life, but the one to come.  Maybe this one.

Or perhaps a lovely color-changing alexandrite to remind me of life’s transience?  Perhaps this one?

What do you think?  Are there any gemstones that have special significance in Catholic tradition?

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(Image from a painting at St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Metairie, Louisiana)

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