Friday night, on our way back to the house of my parents' friends, we stopped by the house of my oldest cousin for a big family meal. She is a teacher, and the other teachers and staff at her school provided such a delicious feast for the whole family--several pans of enchiladas, rice, beans, salad, chips and dip, and tons of dessert! It was for lots of people too. My aunt and uncle have 4 married daughters, and there are 17 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren! Most of them were there Friday, although a few were still traveling then, and a (very) few just couldn't make it at all. I think the thing I enjoyed most of all about the trip was getting to see these family members that I just never have been able to spend much time with, since the west coast is so far from the midwest, and now the east coast! I have met a few of the grandkids, but only when they were young, and they definitely didn't remember me. Now at least 4 of them are married themselves, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the ones I talked with. It was also really wonderful to catch up with my cousins. Facebook is great because I have been able to see wedding, baby, vacation, etc. pictures, but it's still not like a conversation!
Saturday was the memorial service for my aunt. Although the church it was held at was a little far out, in the mountains, it was really well-attended. The church also had a beautiful view of trees out the front windows of the sanctuary, so it just had a restful, peaceful feeling. Even though everyone was sad, I think it was one of the more joyful memorial services I've ever been too. My aunt knew she trusted in Christ for her salvation, and she was confidant that she would be with him when she died. She had battled internal melanoma for 6 years (much longer than what doctors told her to expect to live), using primarily alternative methods. She was able to see 4 grandkids get married and 2 great-grandchildren be born in those 6 years, and she was even able to take a big trip to Hawaii with several of her kids and grandkids last March. Everyone was relieved that she was not in pain anymore, and she left a lifetime of memories and relationships. In fact, the grandkids had each brought things she had made for them--quilts, table runners, stuffed animals, cross-stitch projects, etc--and had them all out on a table in front on display.
The slideshow was full of beautiful pictures, my dad spoke, my oldest cousin read a poem she had composed about her mom's hobbies and interests, and then my second oldest cousin read a series of texts from various grandkids that came in as my aunt was dying. Wow, those were so moving! They really showcased the relationships she had with each of them, and all the things she enjoyed doing with each person--cooking, sewing, playing games, doing puzzles, etc. Then the pastor opened the mic up to anyone else who wanted to speak, and some other relatives spoke as did a neighbor, and her Community Bible Study leader. Everything together gave a really full picture of my aunt's life, and what she considered important, primarily her faith and her family. It was really neat.
Then we all went over to my third cousin's house for a meal, so everyone got to visit some more. I heard more interesting stories about the area, and I took this picture of a picture--my grandma with my 2 aunts and my dad!
Sunday my parents and I went to church with Bob and Lucille, and then out to lunch, and on to a church small group with them. During the small group time, I got the disconcerting text that my flight to San Francisco had been delayed, and that meant I was going to miss my connection home! So afterward, my parents drove me to the airport so I could talk with the ticket people there. The problem was all the rain/bad weather in CA, and SF was delaying/diverting all the smaller airplanes. There just aren't many planes flying out of Medford, and the ones in the morning to Denver nad SF were full. The earliest I could get out was 10:40 Monday morning to SF, connecting to a flight here to DC. My worry was that that flight would also be delayed, since it was still going to be raining, and then I would eventually get to SF but not be able to go anywhere else on Monday. "Well, yes, but at least it would be the daytime, " was the helpful response from the ticket lady. I knew I didn't want to be stuck in SF, and that the later I got there, the more likely it was that I would get stuck! I was definitely getting worried, but after some time, another lady came over to help. She was able to change me to Delta so I flew out Sunday night to Portland, then to Atlanta, and then home Monday morning at 9:00. What a miracle and answer to prayer! (And the person who helped her do that wanted her to be sure to tell me it cost United a *lot* of money. I am very, very grateful!!) My parents flew out Monday morning to Denver at 5:25. When they got to the airport, they found out that both the morning flights to SF had indeed been cancelled on Monday--so I would not have gotten out that day on United either. I was so thankful to be home Monday morning!! I took a 3 hour nap, then ran several errands and prepared for Rivendell on Tuesday. Back to real life! But that is better than being a terminal rat, LOL!