Secure Mind Solutions from Daddy and The Two Bears
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Daddy and the Two Bears. It detailed an account of Gary Anderson’s brave step of writing a book about his experiences through losing his twin baby daughters. The reaction to the post was phenomenal with people wanting to know how Gary and his wife Michelle are doing now. This prompted me to get back in touch with Gary and ask him for an update. This is their continuing story.
In Gary’s Own Words
No parent should have to go through losing a child, but as we know, that reality is tragically ever occurring. Both of my twin daughters died in 2003, three weeks apart. My loss may have been nearly 18 years ago, but for me, real grieving didn’t begin until 2017 when another tragedy, my wife being diagnosed with breast cancer, tipped the balance and my grief poured out.
It was then that I decided to write down my experience of the times and events around my twin daughter’s deaths. I didn’t know where it would lead and at that point, only imagining sharing it with my wife to express to her how I was feeling back then. Whilst writing, it occurred to me that there were probably hundreds, if not thousands of dads out there who might have also spent years holding in their grief like I had. With this at the forefront of my mind, I knew I wanted to turn my memories and experiences into a book for others to read – for dad’s like me, partners like my wife, families, friends, medical / mental health professions even, anyone really who would benefit from gaining an insight into such a tragic situation. My hope was that the book would open conversations that may have been hidden from view in people’s lives. So, my first book, ‘Daddy and the Two Bears’ was born, and over three years later, it was published in March 2021.
The book will carry you through the joys of finding that my wife was pregnant – being presented with a gold box containing a ‘positive’ pregnancy test – to then finding out at 11 weeks that we were having not just one baby but two; through to the journey of them becoming Twin 1 and Twin 2 and later, twin girls called Alana and Dana. But first they were ‘The Bears’, a name I affectionately gave them early on in the pregnancy. It’s often said that nine months gives you time to get your head around having children. You prepare. You tell your friends. I couldn’t wait for them to arrive so that I could fill them with the love and support that I felt I never received as a child. I was also struggling with my own mental health issues at this point, issues that had been plaguing me since childhood.
All seemed to be going well until one day a scan showed that all was not going well at all. From this point, the raw emotions that I felt were so real. I tried to keep them in but sometimes they oozed out, mostly presenting as anger, my go-to. I hadn’t a clue how I was meant to feel, how I was meant to act – every day and every new scan telling us more news about our little girls. Six months later and three hospitals later, they were born, and for them to be alive was an incredible feeling. They’d made it, and I was their dad. However, what followed still remains the most devastating time of my life – as I’m sure it is for anyone who has experienced the death of a child(ren). There feels like there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel – or ever will be – but my story shows that eventually things did begin to change for me in a more positive way, that my light did begin to flicker again.
No one wants the experience but the experience has moulded me into the person I am today. For many years after their death, I wanted to support others who might be going through something similar but was unsure how to. I dived into doing annual charity sponsored activities for the Fetal Medicine Department at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. To me this kept the memory of my daughters alive. In more recent years, I’ve become a qualified counsellor, an inspirational speaker at events talking about my experience of loss, all things mental health and recovery. I want to get the message out there that there can be life lived after such a loss, even if it might feel like a battle to get there. I am certain proof that it is possible. By doing what I do now, I may not be doing something directly for my daughters but they’re with me at every turn, encouraging me to go on and reach out.
My life would never have taken this angle without the experience of losing them. My hope is that others, bereaved in whatever circumstances, whether a recent loss of a loss from way in the past, get the courage to speak to someone – a professional like me, or a friend, partner, whoever. Find someone who will give you the time and understanding to share your story. It’s never too soon or never too late.
Thank you to Gary for sharing his ongoing experiences with us.
Gary and Michelle can be contacted in the following ways:
Telephone: 07737 394050 (Mobile)
You can purchase Gary’s book from Amazon by clicking here