Ceremonies help find peace for grieving Emerald Beach community

The Paddle Out for Tim. Photo: Karen Newlyn – cameradoinitaussiestyle.

 

EASING the grief felt in mourning the passing of Tim Thompson, the young surfer from Woolgoolga who died from his injuries after a shark bite on Shelly Beach on 6 September, the tight-knit community of Emerald Beach and Tim’s family gathered for a healing Smoking Ceremony and paddle out.

Gumbaynggirr man Nathan Brennan led the ceremony on Garby Country to help the family and first responders who fought to save Tim’s life on the beach, within minutes of the accident.

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Hundreds of locals and visitors held their space on the surrounding headland.

Nathan told News Of The Area, “The ceremony was about helping the family move on with their grief…with an energy of healing.

“The Smoking Ceremony enables the spiritual journey; he’s left this physical world and it’s about enabling that journey on to the next journey that he’ll take.

“For the first responders it was about healing that heavy energy they now carry.

“What the first responders experienced is very traumatic so it’s about being able to support them in what they now carry and will carry for the rest of their lives.

“People said afterwards it gave them a sense of peace with the ocean.

“Many had not been back in the water since the attack and couldn’t go in until they’d made this peace with the ocean and country.

“As sad as it was, there was a community sense of healing to move on with peace.”

Lilli Nicolson, a supporter of the ceremonies, described the paddle out saying, “We held a silence for Tim, and gave thanks and acknowledgement for the family, the first responders, the ocean and Gumbaynggirr community.

“Things like this affect us all and represents an opportunity just to feel a part of community and our deep love and passion for the ocean.”

A heart-shape photograph says it all, taken of the surfers during the paddle out experience.

Coming together on country has helped shift the Emerald Beach community towards a positive experience of the area again that will live forever in their hearts.

This remarkable ceremony was held with the blessing of the Garby Elders who oversee this area of Gumbaynggirr country.

 

By Andrea Ferrari

 

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