Dealing with Grief

Mommy, my brother is an Angel

By on February 4, 2017

Going to the cemetery where Sebastian is buried became Gia’s and mine weekend routine. Today, as usual, we went to see Sebastian. I laid down the flowers on ground and took out the flower vase to fill it with water. Typically, while I prepare the flowers to place them in the vase, Gia insists on cleaning the headstone. She diligently wipes the headstone and then washes it with the well water. Then we stay for a little bit longer and, while I silently talk to Sebastian, she either plays with the toys we brought for him or just walks around. I always try to do to my best to keep my mood as light and as natural as it is possible.

Today, as we were getting ready to leave, I told Gia: “Tell Misiu (that is my Polish nickname for Sebastian) bye-bye and see you soon.” Every week, every single time I say this, my heart stops for a moment. The memories of them playing together flash in front of my eyes—and then I come back to the present—standing in a cemetery, looking at my baby’s picture on the headstone… Gia usually just waves goodbye and says: “See you soon Misiu” as she is getting ready to leave, ready to go to the playground. However, today was different: she stopped for a moment and came back to the tomb and stood over it for a moment then said “Bye-bye Misiu. I love you.” As she was saying it, all of a sudden, she kneeled down and kissed Sebastian’s picture on the headstone. As I watched her, I tried to hold back my tears since I did not want her to see me crying. However, in reality my heart sank deep. On one hand I was filled with gratitude for this beautiful moment, on the other I was terrified…

For many reasons things are so much easier because Gia is still so young. She usually does not ask where Sebastian is or what happened to him and her father. Nevertheless, because she is so little it is so hard to guess what she might be thinking. After that fatal night, I could tell Gia was very confused. She was just an 18-month old baby girl when her whole world was turned upside down. In one day, her beloved brother and playmate just disappeared and so did her father. All of a sudden, she found herself living in another house, without her favorite toys, her outdoor playground and her whole daily routine was changed. She was only 18 months old and we all know that an 18 month old has feelings and desires just like adults, they are just unable to verbalize them the way adults can. In a way, I was glad she was not able to talk yet when that fatal night occurred. I think I would have lost my mind if she asked me about what has happened back then. However, even though she had not been able to express her confusion and pain through words, her body language–as well as a confused look—said it all.

Following that fatal night, going to playgrounds was really agonizing for me for a variety of reasons. Playgrounds seemed so empty without Sebastian there… and I had to watch my baby girl persistently chase little boys resembling him in hopes that they would play with her. However, as we all know, majority of 3-4 year old boys are not particularly interested in playing with an 18-month old little girl…Watching her confusion grow and pain escalate was pure torture. Making matters even worse was seeing her need for male attention. While staying with my friend post the incident, Gia used to constantly approach her husband wanting to sit on his lap, play with him, hug him. While looking at her I also realized the obvious: my 18month old baby girl does not have a father…Yes, it was quite obvious after that fatal night, however some things do take more time to really sink-in. It has been over a year and a half since then but she still takes every chance she can to play with little boys. Majority of her school friends that she talks about are boys. She also takes every opportunity to be close to male figures in her life: she adores her uncles and always wants to be close to my friends’
husbands. I do hear the word “Daddy” quite often coming out of her mouth but I am not sure is she actually understands the concept behind it…

I never talked to Gia about what had happened to her father or Sebastian. Our apartment and my cell phone are filled with pictures of Sebastian and the two of them together however Gia never really asks where Sebastian is. Sometimes I wish I knew what she is thinking however, to be honest, I am afraid to ask. There have only been a few times when she asked about Sebastian. One of those times was when she saw a picture of the three of us at the beach and said: “Mommy, I want to go to the beach with Misiu (Sebastian).” My heart really sank and for couple of seconds I had no idea what to say so I just whispered my rehearsed sentence “Gia, Misiu is now your Angel in Heaven and he is watching over you. He is always with us, even at the beach. We just cannot see him.”

I have to admit, I dread the day when Gia will finally questions me about what happened and, when she is old enough, for me to tell her the truth. I pray often about it and I ask for strength from God when that day comes for both of us but especially for her. I still want to believe that even this horrific story can have a happy ending, not only for me but also for my baby girl. I hope that the shadows of that night can one day be overcome by light and both of us can bring some light to others as a result of that darkness…



About Me



Hi Dear! My name is Urszula. Through this blog, I hope that my words can bring you some comfort and encouragement. Please know, that there is always hope no matter where you are in your journey. You have the power to enjoy your time now and make today better, than yesterday.