Lucie is a five-year-old girl who has been living with her grandmother for almost a year since she and her parents were involved in a high impact collision resulting in their death. Lucie appears to have coped with this enormous life-changing event with surprising strength.
Although she cried a lot in the first few weeks after the accident and spoke about wanting to “go back” to be with her parents, she has been able to return to preschool three days a week and is “being a good girl” for her grandmother. However, her grandmother suspects Lucie is being “too good” and that something is not quite right. For example, Lucie’s grandmother often catches Lucie playing with her two dolls over and over again for hours at a time, almost as if she is in a daze, with no change in activity. When she tries to join in with Lucie, Lucie often walks away, refusing to talk. At other times when her grandmother pushes her to try something new or fun, Lucie will erupt into a massive tantrum that seems unreasonable given the situation. Finally, Lucie often seems tired and unrested; as if she is not getting enough sleep despite the fact she is in bed for eleven hours nightly. Lucie’s grandmother is starting to suspect Lucie is having a delayed reaction to the loss of her parents and worries that Lucie has lost her spark.