It Started at a Disney Movie

Hello Friend!

I hope the summer finds you enjoying the warm weather and making family memories.

It has been beautiful here in the Seattle area and I savor each day. As a matter of fact, I write this from my back-yard deck surrounded by hundred-foot cedar trees as the sunlight dances through their branches. It’s a little slice of heaven!

I’ve been praying about how to share what’s been happening in my world.

There is so much to tell of my journey to healing. It is hard to decide where to begin.

I’ll start with a story of what happened last fall, when I saw the movie Saving Mr. Banks starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks.

It is a delightful story about the making of the Disney movie, Mary Poppins. Here is the movie trailer:

I enjoyed the movie. But when I couldn’t stop crying as the credits rolled, I knew I was in trouble.

I’m not talking quiet tears. I mean shoulder-shaking, heaving sobs.

The kind of crying that makes you wait until the theater clears so you can sneak into the bathroom to get your act together.

The kind of tears that made my son, Gabe, and husband, Steve, look at each other and ask “What do we do now?”

You see, Saving Mr. Banks is all about Mrs. P.L. Travers letting go of the story of her childhood.

It’s about grieving loss and wishing things were vastly different.

It is about finding someone who knows your pain and challenges you to tell the story.

I found myself right in the middle of P.L Travers’ struggle to deal with the loss of her father.

Her birth name is Helen Lyndon Goff. My birth name is also Helen. This tiny fact was eerily coincidental.

Helen Goff arrived too late to her beloved dad’s death bed. That’s when my tears began.

At that moment, I saw me as a curly-headed little girl staring at the fish tank in the lobby of the Veteran’s hospital, wondering what was taking my mom and older siblings so long. They were upstairs visiting my sick dad. I wanted to see my hero, but the hospital had a minimum age of thirteen for allowing visitors. I was only seven.

Early the next morning, the phone rang. My aunt Jo answered and told the caller, “The angels took him home.” I wondered it if was my dad she referred to, but I quickly dismissed the thought.

That afternoon, my mom sent us to the Saturday matinee. The movie showing was none other than, Mary Poppins.

Mary Poppins

I came home that afternoon and mom told me dad was dead. The angels took him home. I never got to say goodbye.

I don’t remember crying when my dad died. I learned at a young age to hold my tears. My Nana warned us not to cry so we wouldn’t upset Mom. She had enough to deal with as it is. Ten crying children would only make things worse.

So I learned to stuff my pain behind a smile. I learned to wear a mask.

Then P. L. Travers and Walt Disney taught me that hiding pain is never a good idea.

In the weeks that followed, my counselor helped me make sense of what happened to me at Saving Mr. Banks. She encouraged me to trust that God was showing me the path to healing.

It was time to get help for my pain.

Over the next several months, I came to grips with many things I had stuffed all these years.

It was then I realized I needed professional help. I just couldn’t stop the tears.

Shortly thereafter, I sought help at The Center – A Place of Hope where I worked through years of pain and loss. I cried buckets of tears.

Isn’t it strange how things become clear when we least expect it? How a scene in a movie can trigger years of stuffed emotion?

And so, my healing began at a Disney movie. And I’m so glad I got the help I needed. I feel so much better now.

How about you? Has there been a movie that led you to a healing place? Or a place of revelation about something you hadn’t thought about in years? I hope you’ll share your story.

I continue to pray for whatever is on your heart. May God guide you to a healing place for what’s going on in your world.

Blessings on your day.


PS: If you haven’t seen the movie, I hope you take time to rent it this summer.





  1. Comment by Michelle hollomon — July 10, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

    Gigi- this is a powerful story. Thank you for sharing it. I’ve been loving disney movies lately because they are hitting my heart. Recently Malificent with repentance, forgiveness and redemption themes.

  2. Comment by Lauren Hudson — July 10, 2014 @ 5:53 pm

    Hi Gigi,
    Thanks for sharing some of your healing story.

    Yes, I had a similar experience with the movie “Sleepless In Seattle”. About 3/4’s through the story I realized the relationship I was in at the time was over. I knew it by the way Tom Hanks looked at Meg Ryan. It hit me like a ton of bricks, he didn’t look at me like that and I knew we were done. I started to cry too. A few weeks later he broke up with me and the rest is history. But I still remember that moment like it was yesterday. Thanks for sharing and we’ll talk soon.
    God Bless you

  3. Comment by gigi — July 10, 2014 @ 6:20 pm

    Lauren, thanks for sharing your story. I loved the movie Sleepless in Seattle but I am sorry it brought you pain. But then again, it was an awakening to a truth, as hard as it is to take. Bless you.

  4. Comment by gigi — July 10, 2014 @ 6:23 pm

    Michelle, thanks for the comment. I want to spend time this summer watching a few other Disney movies. Harder to do with men in my house who would rather watch action flicks or thrillers. I’m a story girl – especially with a little romance and fun.

  5. Comment by Katie Miller — July 10, 2014 @ 10:51 pm

    When we watched Saving Mr Banks a couple of weeks ago I knew I would never be able to watch Mary Poppins again without thinking of this. I cried for her and will always remember the real story. The only time I can remember a movie hitting me that hard was watching “Uncommon Valor” many years ago. I had gone to the movie by myself the boys were with their dad for the weekend. It was about a man going to find his son in Viet Nam after the war was over and they thought he might be a POW. My thoughts at the time were for a family friend who was shot down and I kept thinking what if he is still there and no one knows and also but for the grace of God it could have been my DAD. I cried all the way home after waiting for everyone to leave and found myself crying in the shower several more times. As I sit here typing this I have tears welling up just thinking about it. Thank you for sharing and I am glad you got the help you needed to deal with all this. Love you. Katie

  6. Comment by marjie Schaefer — July 11, 2014 @ 9:18 am


    I am blessed to know you and to have had the privilege of praying for you on your journey. You so beautifully expressed yourself here and I loved all the significant similarities. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable. Vulnerability is contagious.

    Love you so much,

  7. Comment by Marjorie Pomeroy — July 11, 2014 @ 11:38 am

    I was rocked back to my strong emotional reaction to this movie when Marjie shared your blog today on fb. I thank you for your real and clear thoughts written there that have come straight from your heart. So thankful for your ability to capture your path of healing and share it so I and many others can nod in the knowing that the Lord’s strong and mighty hand is seeing you through this process…and that is sure hope for those of us you have shared this with. What rigs with me is your acknowledging this all began when you least expected it–Wow!
    You are a delight and a blessing, this day and always! Love, Marjorie

  8. Comment by gigi — July 11, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

    Marjorie. Thanks for the comment on my blog. My prayer has always been that God use the circumstances of my life to show others His loving kindness in times of difficulty. Let it be so, Lord. Bless you for your light to others.

  9. Comment by Ardis — July 23, 2014 @ 11:48 pm

    Gigi, I stumbled upon your blog tonight and am glad I did. I’m sorry to hear of your pain these past many months. I remember you sharing once that after you sought therapeutic help you were able to rework your book, making it much better in the end. The healing process gets us in touch with ourselves, with who God created us to be, and makes us better, more authentic writers. Your healing work is bearing much fruit in your writing as witnessed above. Embrace your tears. They are not wasted. May they lead you to greater clarity and peace in your soul. Blessings, Ardis

  10. Comment by gigi — July 28, 2014 @ 8:06 pm

    Thank you for your comment on my blog post. This has been an amazing journey to walk through the dark times and then see the light, right in the middle of it. You are right, this process makes us better because, at least for me, it draws us closer to the One who can comfort us when we don’t have all the answers. I have so much to share, with a hope that others will find the help they need by relating to my story. Thanks for your encouragement. God is good. Bless you. Gigi

  11. Comment by gigi — July 28, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

    Thanks for replying to my blog post and sharing the story of how the movie, Uncommon Valor, touched you deeply, much in the same way Saving Mr. Banks touched me. Funny how a movie can reach into our heart when we least expect it.

    I don’t know if I’ve seen Uncommon Valor. I’ll have to put it on my watch list.

    I too am glad I got the help I needed for the deep sadness that came over me. I am thankful for caring family and friends who pointed me to a place where I could clearly see through the pain and into the light of God’s love. I am doing much better and have come to realize it is my daily choice to love with an open and honest heart!

    Take good care. Love you. Gigi

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