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Keeping a diary is a common and therapeutic habit, allowing an order to the cluttered thoughts and emotions that occur throughout our daily lives. Naturally, if you are a Disney animator, your diary can take on a visual format to become a 'doodle diary.'

This is what former Disney animation professional Gary Andrews started doing on his 54th birthday, as a happily married father-of-two, documenting the joy of family life with his beautiful wife and children. Sadly, tragedy was to strike, and Gary would become a widower and a single parent within three years.

While away on a work trip to Canada, Gary's wife Joy fell ill with what they thought was a simple flu. However, it soon became apparent that it was much more serious than that, and Gary rushed home to be near his beloved. On arrival back in the UK he received the devastating news: Joy had passed away from sepsis.

Completely shell-shocked from the sudden death of Joy, Gary struggled to find a way to respond to his overwhelming grief. He opened up his notebook 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,” he 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.”

Through the stages of grief, Gary continued with his doodle diary, recording the ups and downs, the good days and the bad. The process of putting his thoughts and emotions down on paper helped him to cope, by allowing him to vent his feelings. Joy is a recurring part of his doodles, and he also manages to capture the continuing happiness and fun that his children bring to his life, navigating the world of being a single parent.

Sepsis is a silent killer, and cartoonist Gary hopes to raise awareness for an illness that is often regarded as an afterthought for many doctors. Its symptoms, including fever, sickness, blotchy skin and dizziness, are often mistaken for other illnesses and not recognized until too late. If captured early on, it can be treated with simple antibiotics. Gary doesn't blame anyone for Joy's death. However, it was merely bad luck. “From the minute Joy was admitted to hospital, specialists from every department tried to find out what was wrong,' he says. “They couldn't have done more. It wasn't until the post-mortem that they narrowed it down to sepsis.”

“Blame and 'what ifs' won't bring Joy back. Would she still be alive if I hadn't been to Canada and a doctor had been called a day earlier? I can't think about things like that. What happened has happened, and you have to come to terms with it. I want to move forward, to honor Joy's memory and bring up our kids in a way she would have approved of.”

Scroll down below to see some of Gary's poignant doodles for yourself on how to deal with grief, and let us know what you think in the comments.

More info: Twitter

Shell-shocked from the sudden death of his wife, Gary struggled to find a way to respond to his overwhelming grief

He started drawing some doodles in his journal to document the daily life without his soulmate and found that expressing his emotions helped a bit

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Joachim Rimer
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

14 Years. Some days it's still hard to process. It took me the first 4 years to really learn, that she will never come through the door again. #widowerlife #cancersucks

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Kjorn
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

that''s the hardest one... hear the kids missing mommy...

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Dian Ella Lillie
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

When I saw the title I thought "oh no, another Sad Panda post." I couldn't look away though, and of course I'm crying for the family, especially for the kids. If only I could magic their mother back... And all because of sepsis - if only they'd pinged it a little earlier, there'd almost certainly have been a different outcome. I know now what superpower I'd want - to be able to make the pain better for people who've had to suffer too much through fate's fickleness.

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Guy Williamson
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Scattering ashes around a tree, brings her to you through a living monument!!

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Moo Jar
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Its amazing that he still has stuff like that to remember her even better

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Deadpool
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is just so sad, and now I’m all depressed in guitar class 😞

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PRATIK GHADAVALE
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The star that glows the brightest and that catches our eyes when we look up,.....it is the only star that relates to our loved ones .....so we know they are looking and shining upon us

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Pamula Furness
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Now I'm crying. How beautifully he has drawn her, captured her essence.................,

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SillyPotato_Wolfhard
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Whisky and stranger things... sounds like a good night to me... but im 14 so lets make the whiskey orange juice.

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KT Trondsen
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I can't keep looking at these, I'm going to cry at work. They are beautiful

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Pamula Furness
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

She really is amazing, isn't she? (I'm guessing she's a lot like Mum?) x

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Aine
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

from one Pagan to another, Samhain is always hard, yet comforting at the same time... all the best, fellow traveler!

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Randy Inbred
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Hey man you are doing a 3k run with your kids!!! Lesser men (like me) would be getting drunk or nursing a hangover. You are stronger than you think! Keep going!

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The Gumnut Flock
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Omg I have been literally sobbing while reading this. You guys are so strong, I know that you will make it through this ❤️❤️

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sharron lynn parsons
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The first year seems to be the worst, after that you gradually get stronger, the children and the memories will be more comforting !!!

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PRATIK GHADAVALE
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

presence are comforting .....even when ppl are not around us.....we feel them , and miss them ....but we smile as we know they are here somewhere

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Audra Granath
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My Mother passed away when I was 10 as well. I'm now 52 & still not over it.....

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Felicia Dale
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

A very dear friend of mine died just a month ago. All the songs are sad right now.

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PRATIK GHADAVALE
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

stay strong brother......she is always there and always will be .......ur love and bond is pure......

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Kikka io
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

when I happened to be in mourning, one of the fundamental foods to cure depression and pain was Nutella. it is a pain reliever, an antidepressant, a painkiller for the brain. and it's very good

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Randy Inbred
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I can totally relate. It's the dreams that kill you. Some natural sleep aids can help but don't drink till you pass out. I did that and it took years to break the habit.

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PRATIK GHADAVALE
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

ohh stop it man...u are making me cry with all this post.....its such a beautiful feeling ur are passing to me....i never wanna lose the person that i love the most.....RIP for your wife.....she seems a kind hearted person and ur love shows in all the post......may god bless u and ur family

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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If it helps, buy something for your little girl and explain why.

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Anny Seavey
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6 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This was great Grief is so long it does get better but tears and that chocking feeling are never far away my grief is my son. This is a club no-one should ever join!

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