August 22nd was the big day to celebrate Molly's life. Lots of people helped to plan and make sure Molly's party was the biggest, best party we could throw for her, and it happened to fall on what would have been her 6th birthday. We didn't know what to expect with Hurricane Bill on the way, but everything turned out perfectly.
A traditional Hawaiian paddle out ceremony was planned to celebrate Molly's life. By 6:45 people were already arriving, and when the event kicked off there were probably around 800 people on the beach. It was a humbling showing of community.
The day started off with some moving words from Ralph Fatello and then Buck, talking about Molly, the history behind the paddle out tradition, and about the incredible community in Hampton, NH. While the crowd was organized, flowers were placed on all the surfboards laid on the beach. Lead up until, and during the speaking, it was eerily quiet. When it was time to head out, people grabbed their boards and took the flowers with them (mostly in their teeth) and few people had leis as well.
The paddle out took place in the little cove in front of the Fish Shacks, at the north end of the Wall towards the bath house and Cinnamon Rainbows. This area was mellow enough that even with some hurricane swell it was an easy paddle out, and lots of groms were able to paddle out and join in. The goal was to have everyone form in the shape of a heart, found in Molly's logo, with the kids closer to the beach to make it a little easier for them. It was awesome how many kids took part. Meighan and Keiran were in an outrigger that was paddled out into the center of the heart, with a pink Molly flag hanging from the outrigger.
About 300 people paddled out, and it was incredibly organized quiet, not what you'd normally expect with 300 people around you in the water. Waves were calm, and as things got going the morning fog lifted and the sky cleared up as soon as everyone was in motion. At this point, it turned into one of the most spiritual, emotional events many of us have been to.
Ralph said some words, each of them followed by 300 hoots, each pass getting louder and louder. After some more words, people started adding their thoughts. Because the event took place on Molly's sixth birthday, someone yelled out "Happy birthday, Molly" which turned into the entire heart singing happy birthday to her, easily audible from the beach. There were lots of cheers, lots of hoots, lots of tears, and even a few laughs. At the end of the ceremony, Buck and Meighan threw their flowers into the water, followed by the rest of the crowd, leaving an ocean full of flowers to paddle through to come back in.
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