Casandra’s Journey with Grief and God

May 1, 2024

The mint-green, glass bracelet makes Casandra hug her knees tightly, as her back leans against the light pink wall of her bedroom. The glass beads of her mom’s bracelet resting in Casandra’s palms force her heart to clench her hand into a fist as the memory of her mom’s warm smile continues digging the hole inside of her. She calls this hole loneliness. She likes to imagine that this dark hole is a window into the pile of abandonment that gnaws at her insides, echoes inside of her soul, and slams against her rib cage.

The bracelet can shatter at any moment because glass breaks easily. She is broken like the glass. People can see it in her eyes like her whole body needs to plunge into the dark hole inside of her. She digs deeper into the hole, as she bites her fingernails and bends her back forwards, her head leaning into her lap. Her lap is the only place she will ever lean into because the only “friends” she has are people who smile at her in the hallways and know the following facts about her: she lives in Manhattan, her name is Casandra, and she has bright red hair, which is short and straight. She is tall, has dark brown eyes, her whole face is covered with freckles, and she has pale white skin.

The street she lives on in Manhattan is usually quiet. Three or four people walk on it every couple of hours. A Catholic church is built on the quiet street, but Casandra refuses to pray to a God she no longer believes in. Her mom’s voice would echo onto the marble walls, and her glass bracelet would be raised to the light as her hands were held above her face to praise God. The presence of God always seemed to reflect onto the glass bracelet, and the bracelet would always sparkle with a white light. Casandra has come to realize that in reality, it was shining because of the lightbulb on the ceiling. Thus, her mom is not with God but is disintegrating into the earth. Casandra clutches her hands together, praying unconsciously that her mom’s passing is just an extremely realistic nightmare. Her prayers make her heart feel heavy, like the weight of the marble that comprises the church her mom used to sing in until her voice was raspy and she felt the light of God dancing inside of her—a god that Casandra now believes never actually existed, only a lie created to deceive her.

Casandra’s heart sinks into her chest, because being an atheist would make her mom’s face turn bright red, like the color of Casandra’s hair. She tugs at her hair. Her hand clenches into a fist. Her body becomes locked into a cage. Casandra steps outside, her feet gliding against the cracks on the sidewalk. She feels desperate to sink through those cracks, deeper into the dark hole that lives inside her, like a parasite. 

Casandra clasps her hands together, as she holds the bracelet into the sunlight, and watches the light bounce on the beads, like her mom did under the fluorescent lights at church. She imagines her mom’s bright smile in the light and her mom’s dark brown eyes smiling at her. Casandra’s lungs fill with oxygen, and she imagines the sunlight filling her body with brightness. The dark hole inside of her begins to mend itself, and the gap between her mom and her starts to close.


Rachael Weiser is a talented, passionate, and motivated writer. She is also a curious, insightful, caring, compassionate, observant, and creative person. Rachael is very eager and excited to work for a company as a writer after she graduates college!




Featured image by Alexey Demidov.