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Daddy and the Two Bears by Gary Anderson – A book review by Beverly Guest our Charity Champion 

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I can’t seem to find the right words to do this book the justice I believe it deserves.  So, I’ll just try to do my best to honour its author, Gary, his wife Michelle, and of course Alana and Dana, their twins.

Parenthood is a journey all of its own, and no two journeys will ever be the same.  Most of us have endured sadness and loss of some kind on our own journeys, yet this loss, the loss that Gary and Michelle had, was like no other. 

I cannot even begin to imagine how I would feel in their shoes.  It’s impossible to.  No parent should ever have to lose their child.  Having had a difficult pregnancy, to then lose both of their twins, is just total sadness, and heartbreak. 

Gary writes in this book how he felt throughout, and he gives us a very personal insight into his innermost feelings.  He relates back to his own childhood, and gives us a glimpse of how it has affected his thought process and life.  He discusses Mental Health so openly, and in a way that helps those to understand more, raising key awareness of something so vital. 

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Gary writes candidly about how he tangles with how he thinks he should feel , and how he does feel.

His struggles internally, mentally and in the here and now during his toughest experience.

His writing is absolutely honest, transparent and you are compelled to read through to the end.  It’s often difficult for anyone to write exactly how they feel and to get the reader to understand.

However, Gary clearly explains the trauma, sadness and frustrations he goes through from a Dads perspective, and from the personal view of a guy who’s working through his own mental health challenges.

A truly raw and heart-breaking account of a tragedy too hard to imagine.

Having suffered through his early life growing up, Gary is faced with something he had no control over.

How he explains his struggles in coping, or not coping, his true story reaches into the depth of your heart and beyond.

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Gary’s description on how he faced people and situations after makes you stop and think.  How would you ‘deal’ with this if faced with the same scenario? Nobody could truly say.  How long would you feel sad for?

Nobody can say, it’s an impossible question, and I truly appreciate how Gary highlights that there are so many things in a persons mind that can affect this and it’s outcomes. 

He makes you stop and think – makes you realise that everyday we may walk past, work with, or know people who are facing their own tragedies who may be keeping it in, or are reacting in some way …. we should never judge people as we don’t know what they are going through.

Gary and Michelle’s story takes me back to thinking about my sister in law. Her gorgeous first daughter was stillborn.  I had tried to do all I could to support her, she asked me to be present when she had to be induced and give birth, and I remember it all being so sad, yet surreal like it wasn’t happening in real time, but like I was watching it happen on a tv or something.

The emotions I had were real, yet I could never compare it to my sister in laws – this book explains a journey which makes me understand more, that she dealt with what happened in her own way, as did Gary and Michelle.

I would truly recommend this book. It has a lovely foreword from Paul Whitehouse, acknowledging the courage and hope Gary’s words give. A book that covers so many different areas, that everyone who reads it will learn something new.

Gary talks about mental health, grief, pain, and the resilience he didn’t realise that he had.  What an amazing couple he and Michelle are, allowing the reader to share their most inner thoughts, and feelings, whilst also raising awareness of TTS – Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

An emotional rollercoaster, make sure you grab your tissues beforehand – you won’t want to put the book down and will feel yourself willing the powers that be to shine some happiness on their lives. 

Thank you to Gary and Michelle for allowing us the privilege to read about their journey…


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