“Finding Dory” (2016, Pixar) is a touching animated movie about a fish named Dory who gets separated from her parents at a young age, and goes on a journey in search of them. Guiding Dory are the memories she has held onto all of her life. Since Dory suffers from “short term remembery loss” she is guided by only glimpses of her past, and along with it, the sense of home, and feeling of belonging.
Years pass. Dory meets new friends, including a quirky fish named Nemo, that become like family. One day, Dory’s memory gets triggered, and she is compelled to find her lost family.When Dory was young, her parents set out a trail of purple shells to teach her how to find her way back home, she follows it. So Dory sets off on an epic journey to find her parents.
Dory’s parents spent years forming trails for her to follow – up and down valleys, across distances and through the dark currents of the ocean, in the hopes that she would eventually find them.
“Finding Dory” offers a powerful message for Protective Mothers separated from their children that is familiar to those who have experienced this particular kind of pain, grief and loss.
And for children separated from their mothers, what Dory felt may also be familiar – missing family, fear of rejection and the emotional experience of trying to piece together memories.
The purple shells are what connect Dory to her parents, and trigger the memories that eventually lead her home. The tiny shells are unremarkable in the vastness of the ocean. At times the sandy floor washes over them, and they disappear. But Dory is not alone, with the support of her friends, she finds her way.
What are your purple shells? Each parent and child has something special or shares something that links them together. It could be a physical or emotional reminder. A trinket, photograph, a prayer or special song, a drawing or toy etc
You can also create “purple shells” to honor your parent/child or to preserve special memories. Some ideas: scrap booking, releasing balloons on special occasions, lighting a candle, spiritual celebration, talking with friends/family, writing a letter etc.
Create a Path in the ways you can. Find creative ways to connect to or reach out to your parent/child if possible. Use your shells to bridge the distance. Seek support to help cope with the loss or grief.
Another message in “Finding Dory” is that Dory, and her parents, never gave up hope. The love they have for each other is unconditional. For those mothers/children who are estranged from each other, and have no contact or communication, there is a value in hope. And value in holding onto the love you share. Through love, we maintain our “purple shells”, our connection to our family – and it does not diminish with time or distance.
Also, when Dory was separated from her parents she found other ways to express her energy and love, and was able to channel her loss in a positive direction. You see that especially in her unique optimism, and her loyalty to friends. Though a loss of a parent/child can never be replaced, we can channel the expression of our love, and what that person meant to us, in other areas of our life. Or use that love to make a positive difference in the world. Some ideas: volunteer, be a friend, participate in community groups/activities, do something in memory of your loved one, fight for a cause, raise awareness, join a prayer chain etc
Mom and author, Orla Kelly, penned a heartfelt letter to her child on that begins, “I am writing this letter to you as a permanent reminder of how wonderful you are, and to tell you that no matter what happens, you will always shine. I say this not just as your mom, but because of how much you have enriched all our lives and how you will go on to enrich the lives of others you are yet to meet…”
Orla goes on to describe how her child has touched her life, and what she loves about her child, “You speak your truth even if the world is not always ready to hear it, and you have a great awareness of what fits together in life and what doesn’t. This can sometimes get you into trouble, but the world needs speakers, dreamers, creators, inventors, explorers and you have a part of each of these…”
And offers her wisdom on life to her child as they grow, and encounter life and its adventures,”Never lose your wonderful imagination my beautiful child, even if others may poke fun at you. They cannot see the miracles and magic unfolding in your head and they cannot see the places where your adventures take you to…”
To my little birds, for whom I will forever ache, missing under my wings since 12/13/2012…
Gone, but always on my mind and in the hole in my heart that can only be filled by you,
A, R, R, Z. You are forever in my prayers and thoughts.
My hope is that you are truly happy, genuinely allowed to enjoy your childhood, and that you do not suffer paralyzing grief because of our separation.
I hold hope in my heart that one day we can sweep up the pieces, laugh and cry about all we have lost/missed, and can never again be forcibly kept apart.
This poem is by Emily Dickinson…and is my dreaded, daily reminder of you, my sweet Angelbabies…love you to the moon and back, more than ice cream, and forever and always…
“Quite empty, quite at rest, The Robin locks her Nest, and tries her Wings. She does not know a Route But puts her Craft about For rumored Springs She does not ask for Noon She does not ask for Boon, Crumbless and homeless, of but one request The Birds she lost.”
“Here’s to you
Every missing tooth
Every bedtime story
Here’s to Barbie cars, light saber wars
Sleeping in on Sunday
Had to crawl
Before you walked
Before you ran
Before I knew it
You were teaching me
The only thing love can
Hold hands through it
When it’s scary, you’ve got me
Won’t you stay here a minute more
I know you want to walk through the door
But it’s all too fast
Let’s make it last a little while…”
~ Nichole Nordeman
Nicole, a single mother with two children, wrote “Slow Down” song the night before her son’s fifth grade graduation.She says on facebook, “I don’t know of a more uttered or whispered phrase from a mother of any age, about her child of any age, than ‘It’s going by too fast.’I feel like I spend my life trying to slow time. Trying to celebrate the growth and the milestones of my children, and then secretly day dreaming about building a time machine in my garage, so I can return to rocking my babies at midnight. If you’ve ever looked at your child running across a field, or striding across a graduation stage, or walking down the middle aisle of a church clutching a bouquet, you’ll know why this song is special to me. Please watch the video, remembering the moments we wish we could slow down, and sharing them with those we love most.”