Losing a Parent-the Disney Way

Ever wonder why (almost) every Walt Disney story starts off or is preempted by the loss of a mother or parental figure? Well, guess what? It forces you to grow up, I unfortunately know from experience. When you lose your mom, you lose your built in confidence. No one else will sit there and tell you your painting is ‘excellent’ when clearly it sucks, coordinate your everyday outfits and meals, and honestly, just listen to your seemingly endless problems.

It takes a genius like Disney to make light of this horrible situation. Remember when Snow White found the dwarfs in their dirty and motherless home? She came in and cleaned things up for them, but where did this come from? What inspired Walt Disney to create this world in his mind?

walt disney

Apparently after he made it big in Hollywood, Disney went on to fulfill every kid’s dream of buying his parents a house. Tragically, his mom passed in that very house when a leaking gas pipe exploded. Because he felt he could have prevented it, Walt felt an overwhelming sense of guilt.  This immense loss and the brutal confrontation with mortality that losing a parent creates must have impacted his storytelling. His fairytales are universally accepted and adored, but why? Most of the reason, I think, is that his stories touch on real emotions and dreams that everyone can relate to.

little mermaid cinderella snow white

Ariel was trying to find her “whole new world,” Cinderella, her escape from her wicked stepsisters, and Snow White, well she was just trying to not get killed by the jealous, evil Queen. We are all like these characters. During hard times, especially those without a parental figure, we search for an escape.

I am no Disney here, but there are a few things that I have found are helpful when dealing with the daunting task of growing up without a parent.

1. Realize that the guilt will never go away. You will always wish you asked that question, videotaped that conversation, saved that memorabilia, or just simply, hugged your loved one that much more. It will always be with you. Just try and live by Walt’s example. Let’s turn those negatives into positives… or was that Biggie Smalls? Who knows?????

2. Get new hobbies.

3. Do things that you know would make your loved one laugh. Wear those extra dorky shoes. Or write something incredibly stupid (like I am doing here).

4. Cry when you need to. Don’t let ANYONE tell you differently. No one will ever truly understand how much your parent means to you…

5. Have fun and honestly, try to smile.

Hope this helps….. I know how impossible this situation is to deal with. I wish you the best of luck and if you have any suggestions please let me know. Here’s to finding our “happily ever after.” Thanks Walt.

walt disney snow white



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