Guillermina’s path to processing Pocha’s loss is her own, and she’s handling it in the way that she knows best. Being so young, she naturally has higher and more playful energy, which hasn’t gone away. But it is balanced with more thoughtful moments, as well. It’s natural for a young elephant to experience a whole range of emotions when learning to navigate life without her mother.
There is a beauty in being able to find one’s way through grief at sanctuary, because there is space for Guille to take time to herself when she’s processing emotions that might be intense. Sometimes, if Guillermina is trying to work through strong feelings she might need to walk away to burn off that energy. Sanctuary offers plenty of room and time to do that, whenever she chooses. But the other elephants also allow her to channel that energy through casual interaction or play, if that’s what is needed.
There have been some light moments where she gets cheeky and starts to vocalize, which we believe is a good sign. She doesn’t seem to be in denial about what has happened and she definitely shows moments of sorrow, but she hasn’t lost herself in her grief and still finds ways to express a playful emotion if that’s what she’s feeling. We can’t predict how her emotions might deepen or evolve over time but, at the moment, she continues to receive support from the other elephants and is building upon those relationships in a positive way, as they continue to support her through this time. None of us know what Guillermina is going through – not even the other elephants can fully understand. But they are giving her grace to decide what she needs to feel and when, which is lovely to see and perfectly elephant.
P.S.: The independent necropsy team has informed us that preliminary results on the cause of Pocha’s death will not be available until next week at the earliest. As soon as we have more information, we will share it with you.
Photo of Guillermina