Catherine Mayer and Anne Mayer Bird: Embracing Life at a Time of Death


Catherine Mayer and her mother, Anne Mayer Bird, lost their husbands just 41 days apart on the eve of the pandemic. Entering the nation-wide lockdown as new widows, they began meeting every week (socially distanced and in protective clothing) as Catherine cared for her mother and both women learned to navigate loss, ‘sadmin’, and unexpected dramas.

Catherine is an author and journalist and Anne is an arts publicist. The two co-wrote the book, Good Grief: Embracing Life at a Time of Death, and they will be interviewed for the Good Grief Festival by Liz Gleeson. Liz is a highly qualified and experienced psychotherapist and educator in the field of grief and loss. She is also the curator of the podcast Shapes Of Grief, which is a recommended resource in universities and colleges internationally, as an excellent resource for grief education

As well as tracing Catherine and Anne’s intertwined stories of love and grief, Good Grief shares the two women’s thoughts, ideas and advice for anyone facing the loss of a loved one or wishing to know how best to support others in these circumstances.

They confront the unspoken fears and unhelpful stereotypes that leave so many unprepared to deal with death and unsure how to comfort anyone experiencing loss. Part memoir, part investigation, Good Grief also details Catherine’s exploration of the possibility that her husband, the musician Andy Gill, whose death made global headlines earlier this year, might be one of the earliest victims in the UK of Covid-19.

Above all, this is a book about love. Catherine and Anne share their insights, pain, hope and humour, and detail how in losing the loves of their lives they found an ever-closer relationship with each other.

Photo credit (c) Leo Cackett