The cold I brought back from California with me is finally starting to subside, so I will get on with my slightly-delayed Part Two of Trip Report. Please ignore the sound of snuffling in the background...
As most of you know, I combined a trip to the Pantheacon Pagan convention in San Jose with a trip to San Diego to see my family (or, as we like to say, the whole famdamily...shorthand for the whole damn family). It was a bittersweet visit, because my beloved grandmother died two days before I got there; I had REALLY been hoping to say my final goodbyes in person, but alas, it was not to be.
On the up side, I had the previously-unplanned company of my sister Sarah and wonderful brother in-law Rich (who live in Schenectady, not far from the Albany airport I fly out of), who journeyed out to SD with me so the family could be together. There we would join my parents and my youngest sister Becky, her husband Nick, and their two kids. This would be the first time in six or seven years that the three sisters would be together (we saw each other, but not all at the same time)--a tremendous bonus at any time, but especially important to us all as we came together to mourn the matriarch of the family.
That's Sarah on the left, by the way, and the ever-gorgeous Becky on the right.
My mother had been kind enough to set up a viewing for me at the crematoriam where my grandmother had been taken (Germambie had everything set up ahead, including instructions for her cremation and the disposal of the ashes--made life MUCH easier for my mom, who had to deal with the details. Make a Will, people. Fill out a Health Proxy. You never know...) so I got to say my goodbyes there. She looked very old, and very peaceful, as if she had just fallen asleep. It seems morbid, maybe, but for me, it was what I needed.
Then we all went to lunch and enjoyed each other's company. It was good. Although the weather, cold and rainy, was not was I'd been hoping for, in running away from an Upstate New York winter. Shame on you, Southern California!
Luckily, the next day brought us a morning of 65 degrees and sunny, and my sisters and brother in-law and I promptly decamped for the beach. Just the four of us, we spent a wonderful few hours walking along the ocean, decompressing and sharing our memories. Very healing, and truly a gift for the spirit that was worth crossing the continent for. Have I mentioned how much I adore my sisters (and BIL)?
Then we had lunch at a fabulous restaurant with a view of the ocean, and raised a glass to Germambie's memory.
In the evening, we had dinner with the whole famdamily, and I took this picture of the entire gang. (Minus me, of course.)
So here's the strange bit: if you look closely at the picture, you will see what looks like a bunch of little soap bubbles, scattered throughout the frame. We took a bunch of pictures in the series, in the same lighting, and they're not in any of the rest, with the exception of one picture of the three sisters together. So--nothing on the lens. Nothing in the lighting. And yet...there they are.
My writing partner Lisa says it is a phenomenon known as "Spirit Orbs" and that these are small energies that show up in the presence of a spirit. Was Germembie there, watching over her family one last time? I don't know. But still...it is a nice thought.
All in all, the trip to San Diego was lovely, and I was almost sorry to leave on Friday morning to go on to Pantheacon. Except, hey--I was going to PANTHEACON. More on that, next report.