A familiar face to many Novocastrians, particularly those who frequent the Junction, is embarking on a new business journey a little outside of his usual approach.
Garth Ashford is best known for his hospitality ventures, which include well-known restaurants Talulah Bar, Lime and Mucho’s, but his latest offering is a much more personal one.
Nearly 30 years ago, Garth’s 19-month-old daughter died in his arms. This life-changing event put Garth on a journey that required him to recover, rebuild and readapt.
Garth now uses his experiences to help others in his role as a Grief Guide under the business name, The Soul Embrace.
Garth said his aim is to guide bereaved people from grief to peace and embrace their soul as the name suggests.
“I describe the journey from grief to peace as being similar to that of a sailing adventure where some winds are favourable; some not,” Garth said.
“An individual’s journey is taken at their own pace; whatever the winds offer them.
“To use the sailing analogy, if someone seeks to reach Peace Island, they’d need to stop and replenish at three smaller islands on the way: Recovery Island, Rebuild Island and Readapt Island.
“At each stop there are rhythms, rituals, acknowledgements and learnings all sprinkled with courage.
“The program I offer complements other support services but looks at death and loss through a different paradigm.”
Garth offers one-on-one support, consultation and an empathetic ear to those who’ve lost a loved one.
For those who’ve been struggling to move on from their loss, Garth supports them through his grief to peace process and offers advice and coping skills at each stage of the grief experience.
Garth has taken his teachings and experiences from his one-on-one consultations and created an online course through which individuals can follow his guidance at their own pace. The course will be available online before Easter.
He will also be hosting local workshops and undertaking a number of speaking engagements this year.