Grief Series; Hazed Panic

 Grief is loss; but grief isn’t just loss of physical life.

Distorted Vision, February 2022

Grief is the loss of a life you had, or an existence you had prior to the rug being ripped from underneath you. Sometimes we are blindsided by the people we love – sometimes there are secrets held from us, and when we find them out it changes all we believed, all we loved and all we had ever known.

We make ourselves believe we can tough these things out – we make ourselves convinced that things aren’t as bad as they are. What may be worse, is those that lie, hide important information, or gaslight us, also make us believe that other people are over reacting or that we can ‘tough it out’ with them – us against the world, babe.

Cassandra endured a massive amount of trauma. Her foggy vision became clear in a terrible night of recognition and betrayal from someone she trusted. The blame game of others began as her significant other tried to dodge the truth, and placed her in a terrible situation. This grief isn’t so straightforward. No grief is. Confronting situations you never thought you’d be placed in is so incredibly hard. Losing not only the person you thought you loved, but who you thought you knew. Losing not only the life you had built, but the friends, the circle of trust, and the family you had taken in as your own.

The moment of panic never goes away, the memories that deeply cut us become more of a haze that resemble a bad dream rather than reality. Even as we press forward to new joys, new habits, new love, these moments of heartache, betrayal and pain will always exist.

During these moments we do have other things going on. Sometimes life is unfair in that way, or actually, most of the time it is. Complicated relationships we have with family members may exist while we go through these harder moments – yet these relationships due to their history, feel like a safe haven.

Cassandra endured grief with her significant other in a way that took much strength to move forward from, but also found herself confiding in a family member that she had a complex relationship with. After the nightmare with her significant other ended, this family member passed away. This idea of childhood and trust was taken away – for most of her life – and through all of these events made it more complex.

Their main form of communication was a phone – this person left her when she was younger, physically, but remained a source of communication and dependency in the time of chaos with her significant other. They were distant enough to talk about these personal struggles without judgement, but close enough to understand. They gave her the reassurance she needed to get through – always reminding her how strong she was, how proud they were of her, and remained close to her until they passed. When it feels like everyone we know is abandoning us, these relationships and moments of love and affirmation are really the thread we have that keep us hanging on and pressing forward.

Cassandra’s story isn’t a typical story of betrayal and distrust – it’s much more than than a typical cheating significant other. It’s a story that cuts deep, is full of trauma, and put her own personal belongings and life at risk. Obviously this project is not one that will go into the details of people’s trauma for those to be entertained by the internet, but it should be noted that I personally was in complete shock when Cassandra opened her past and heart to me.

But she’s pressed on – found a new understanding significant other, who from what I can tell is a very lovely, strong, and compassionate human being. Cassandra finds joy in art, her animals, her love, and photography. These small simple joys are somewhat big in the terms of healing – finding someone who you can trust is very monumental once the one you trusted for years turns out to be distrustful. Wanting to create art – for yourself and others – sometimes feels like a chore when you are healing – but these things are the things that keep us going in moments that make us feel like we cannot see clearly.

Sometimes I’m not really sure what it is exactly that keeps me going or gives me hope. Maybe just the fact that I got through it because I have to, or maybe it’s just the constant momentum of life that we can’t avoid, or just acceptance that it happened to me, or the deep down belief that good things happen in the end.


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