…through my psychotherapy internship at the Parents’ Center, I took a bibliotherapy workshop. I remember sitting in a dark, little room at the Parents’ Center, reading and talking about one of the books, when my eyes suddenly welled up. Long suppressed tears rolled down my cheeks, uncorking the realization that I had never mourned the death of my first child, the ephemeral Dawn Leaf, who had been premature and had died after twenty-four hours. At Black Bear Ranch commune, where I had been living, her death had been ignored, never mentioned at all, and I had stuffed the sadness deep inside me, unable to express it to anyone, not remembering that death must be mourned. The hospital had not told me anything about her burial, and I arrived back at the Ranch with no body and no certificate. It was as if she had never existed. At that commune we had not yet learned about death rituals, having not experienced much death at our young ages. We did not know how to talk about it or acknowledge it. And I was too traumatized to ask about burial or funeral. I did not even realize that I was traumatized. I only felt empty.
©2022 Marianna Mejia