Mimi Fery. Inset: Sidonie Fery
Frank Franklin II/AP
07/11/2013 at 12:00 PM EDT
For one grieving New York mother, a recently discovered message in a bottle feels like a comforting directive from her daughter from beyond.
A dozen years ago, Sidonie Fery, then 10, innocently launched a bottle into the Atlantic Ocean bearing her phone number and a quote from her favorite movie, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
: "Be excellent to yourself, dude."
For Sidney's mom, Mimi Fery, who lost her daughter in a tragic accident in 2010, the words her only child scrawled on that note are deeply poignant.
"Be excellent to yourself, dude," Fery told the Associated Press, quoting the message. "It makes so much sense."
Sidonie died at age 18 after she fell from a cliff while attending boarding school in Switzerland. Her mom told the AP that her daughter was a "very artistic and vivacious young woman."
Fery received the note around Thanksgiving last year after workers in Patchogue, N.Y., on Long Island, discovered the green plastic ginger ale bottle after cleaning up from Superstorm Sandy
Brian Waldron, a 23-year veteran of the Patchogue parks department, said he was working with a few temporary workers hired to assist with Sandy cleanup when one of them said he found the bottle with the note inside, jumbled together with broken boating docks and other assorted sea junk.
"We opened it and it had a phone number inside, so I called the number and left a message," Waldron said. Later that same day, Sidonie's tearful mom called back.
"I told her I felt like her daughter was looking down from heaven and wanted me to give her a call," said Waldron, who added that he collected a second bottle filled with sand near where the ginger ale bottle was found and gave it to Fery along with the note.
This weekend, according to AP, Patchogue officials will host a ceremony unveiling a small plaque honoring Sidonie. Sidonie's mom plans to attend, and will once again thank the workers who provided her with one last, unexpected memento.
"I was just sobbing when I heard they had found it," Fery said. "These are very, very kind people."