Gary Andrews, a former Disney illustrator, started his Doodle Diaries three years ago on his 54th birthday, documenting his happy life with his wife Joy and two children.
His journal features sketches with funny cartoon caricatures of himself and his family, infused with humor and happiness at his good life. But six months ago, a tragedy struck his family. Gary was in Canada on a work trip when his wife fell ill with what they thought was just flu. She was rushed to the hospital but after four days, she died from multi-organ failure caused by sepsis.
Gary was on an emergency flight home and arrived in the UK only to receive the devastating news: “We’ve lost her.” Completely lost and shocked by the sudden death of his wife, Gary struggled to find an outlet to his crushing grief. He picked up his notebook and pen and let his emotions pour out onto the pages.
“I was crying so hard it was difficult to focus on the page. I was drawing through tears,” the TV animation director told the Daily Mail. “Joy had been my soulmate for 19 years. She was beautiful, kind, generous and funny. We did everything together. When I lost her, I felt half of me had gone.”
He continued with his doodle diary throughout his grieving process, recording every single day, good, bad, funny, or sad. He hopes to publish his diary to raise funds for the Sepsis Trust and to raise awareness of the silent killer disease.
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) April 27, 2018
What’s always so amazing is how suddenly your feelings can change – and change back again. Grief is an unpredictable companion. Getting used to it though. Friends are amazing and an absolute lifeline. Be open with everyone #doodleaday #widowerlife #sepsissucks #copingwithgrief pic.twitter.com/t0inKM0JD7
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) April 25, 2018
The happiest moments lead to the worst pain. I think the sun coming out just made me think of you. Still can’t believe you are gone. #doodleaday #widowerlife #sepsissucks #copingwithgrief pic.twitter.com/aFYFSjV3VB
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) April 20, 2018
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) April 18, 2018
It seemed like flu but then it all happened so fast. If you have ANY suspicion at all, ask to be checked for Sepsis. 5 months on its still hard to believe she’s gone. Love persists though. @UKSepsisTrust @SepsisUK #widowerlife pic.twitter.com/yUoEqc4jQo
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) April 2, 2018
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) March 18, 2018