Recovery and Loss for Swedish Toddler who Survived the Tsunami

The story of young Hannes Bergstrom is one of many remarkable recovery stories from December's deadly tsunami in Asia.

The Swedish toddler and his family were on vacation in what they considered to be paradise -- Khao Lak, Thailand. At the time the wave hit, Hannes was with his grandparents while his parents went shopping. Hannes' mother, Suzanne Bergstrom, and his father, Marko Karkkainen, were walking along the beach when the waves hit. Bergstrom was swept away as Karkkainen found cover in a bathroom.

Hannes, not quite 2 years old, was found after the waves subsided, covered with mosquito bites and with scratches on his face. The boy was brought to a Thai hospital and remained there for three days. He was finally claimed by his uncle after photos of the boy had been posted on the Internet and seen by his family.

Three days after the waves struck, Hannes was reunited with Karkkainen, who was in a Phuket hospital being treated for tsunami-related injuries.

Trying to Move On

In the months since the tragedy, Karkkainen has been trying to make life as normal as possible for Hannes. Bergstrom's sister, Viola Hellstrom, e-mailed an update to ABC News.

While Hannes does not speak of the wave -- "he is only two years old" -- she wrote, "He sometimes asks for her [his mother] and looks for her and when he gets sad and upset about it Marko, of course, comforts him.

"It's not easy to explain for an almost 2-year-old boy what have happened to his mother but we try to explain to him that mother is gone and will not come back."

But Hannes is back in daycare and playing with his friends as he did before the tragedy, she said.

Karkkainen is still in "deep grief," according to Hellstrom.

"They were soul mates and each other's best friends," she wrote. "He takes one day at a time. Marko is spending all his time with Hannes and focused on bringing him up. That will be Marko's task in life."

Bergstrom's family has put together a tribute page that tells her story: www.tsunami2004.se.

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