The poignant drawings depict what life after devastating loss has been like for Gary and his two young children, something that we are sure a lot of Meningitis Now supporters can relate to.
Gary kindly agreed to share his story with us, as well as allowing us to replicate his drawings. Here in his own words is what happened to him:
“It is awful when you lose someone unexpectedly, for whatever reason, especially someone so full of life as I did. Joy, my wife, was just 41 (15 years younger than me) in October 2017 when she went down with what appeared to be ‘flu. Within 3 days she was dead, struck down by septicaemia."
“It all happened so fast and there I was, 57 years old and suddenly a widower with two young children aged 7 and 10. It’s hard to describe the pain of the first few days but slowly and inevitably, life went on. It had to - not the least for the kids’ sake."
“My friends were amazing, setting up a WhatsApp group for me to call on if I needed sitters or indeed anything, and also my work was incredibly understanding. But this I think is true for many people."
“The one thing that made my situation different is that I kept a visual diary documenting my everyday life. As an illustrator and animator I draw every day anyway and had been keeping the diary for around 18 months. It was after Joy died that it became a kind of life-line for me. I used it to vent my frustrations, explore my grief, share my experiences of single parenthood and my struggles to live as normal a life as possible."
“Eventually the doodles got noticed and there followed newspaper articles, radio, podcasts and even TV appearances. It seems people responded to the way I had I opened up and shared - often expressing feelings they were having but found it hard to talk about. I realised people needed to talk about things like this but some found it hard to and my doodles had made it possible for them to share with friends or family for the first time. This has been a very humbling experience but knowing that it is helping others makes the loss of my beautiful Joy less pointless."
“To follow me on Twitter or Instagram search @GaryScribbler - hopefully it may touch you in some way; raise a smile or even shed a tear. All emotion is healthy!”
The death of someone close from meningitis or meningococcal septicaemia can be traumatic, distressing and painful. We are here to help; visit our Bereavement page for more information, call our Helpline on 0808 80 10 388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.