The Woman lights eucalypt leaves on fire and watches them burn, then blows out the flame. As the embers smoke, she sings a song in the Gamilaraay (sometimes spelled Kamilaroi) language for the spirits of those she has lost, asking for their permission to tell the tale of her sorrow. The words of the song translate roughly to a kind of prayer for cleanliness and a lament about the heaviness of the Woman’s weeping.
The Woman’s purification ritual demonstrates her desire to pull herself together and climb up out of her sorrow in order to tell the stories of her family and her people. Storytelling is the only way the Woman knows how to make sense of her grief or to do justice to her family. In spite of the heaviness of her pain, the Woman knows that she has a responsibility to her people and to herself to soldier on in the face of sorrow.