My uncle’s text reads, “Grandma’s in the hospital. She broke her hip.” I rush immediately to her side. I know this could be the last time I see her alive. I treasure our caffeinated hospital visits. Six months of rehab institutions. Pureed peas. Grandma Virginia dies peacefully in her sleep in a nursing home.
I inherit grandma’s vintage wardrobe. It amps up my queer femme sensibility. Hats with delicate netting. Lacy slips for nightwear. Fur stoles where the animal died pre-WWII. Pearl chokers. Silky handkerchiefs I began to carry in my purse. Scarves reminiscent of my San Francisco party girl youth. Every time I blend grandma’s retro with my Los Angeles widow’s weeds I feel both womanly spirits close to me.
When my domestic partner was alive? She called me, “The femme-iest femme who ever femmed.” Five years after her death? I still wear her wedding ring. Loyal to her memory.
Good Friday. Pale dawn light creeps through the blinds. I wear grandma’s lacy negliges. Her pink and black bakelite necklace. Ring of my lesbian ghost wife.
I kneel at the altar in my witchcraft room. Surrounded by two circles of crystals. Circle of Major Arcana Tarot cards. I light incense before grandma’s black and white wedding photo. Light a candle by my domestic partner’s funeral portrait.
“In the name of the guardian ghosts Virginia Garaventa and Katie Jacobson, I pray for an epiphany,” I say. Tea lights upon on the altar flash with flame. Faerie lights draped around homoerotic oil paintings flicker. The stick pentagram beneath the altar levitates. Touches the blessed crucifix from grandpa’s funeral. Jewelry of the dead heats my flesh.
I know now what I must do. Live as a ghost of my former self. Erect monuments to the dead.
Bio: Andrea Lambert is a queer writer, artist and filmmaker with Schizoaffective Disorder. She lives in Nevada with her four cats. Site: andreaklambert.com