— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) October 29, 2017
On his 54th birthday, TV animation director Gary Andrews started a Doodle Diary. This still-ongoing project is simple, but it has proved powerful over the past year; he chronicles his day in a sketch. When he first began the endeavor, Andrews often depicted his life as a happily married man, enjoying the world with his wife Joy and their two young kids. But now, it’s a different story. Joy suddenly passed away on October 27, 2017, from multi-organ failure caused by sepsis. Andrews was on a business trip at the time and was unable to say goodbye to his wife before she died.
With Joy’s passing, the Doodle Diary changed overnight. Although Andrews missed drawing on the date his wife died, he was back to sketching the next day. He used the notebook as an outlet to channel his feelings and poured his emotions onto paper. “I was crying so hard it was difficult to focus on the page,” Andrews recalls. “I was drawing through tears.”
The sketches that followed the family tragedy show Andrews as he navigates being a widower. They chronicle the intensity of his grief as well as adjusting to life as a single parent. Sometimes, it’s as common as coordinating busy kids’ schedules, while other times it’s a look into how the family grieves together. But always, the poignant drawings offer a powerful reminder that life goes, for better or for worse.
A selection of drawings from the Doodle Diary were turned into an animation that appeared on the BBC. It’s a beautiful tribute to Andrews’ late wife by honoring their life before her death and what has come after. Watch it, below.
When TV animation director Gary Andrews’ wife Joy suddenly passed away, he chronicled what he was feeling through his Doodle Diary.
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) November 26, 2017
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) November 21, 2017
They feature the family grieving the loss of their dear wife and mother…
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) December 8, 2017
… as well as Andrews as he navigates being a widower and a single parent.
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) November 2, 2017
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) November 7, 2017
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) January 13, 2018
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) March 18, 2018
So proud of our children today as they scattered mummy’s ashes – It was a beautiful experience – very positive and peaceful. Although I still find it hard to accept that she’s gone, I am starting to feel that there is hope, and light, and happiness to be had. #doodleaday pic.twitter.com/uGEHDUkwbI
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) January 26, 2018
— Gary Andrews (@GaryScribbler) April 27, 2018