‘Grief is more than the price of love. It is love. We must learn not just to live with it, but to make it welcome.’
Mother and daughter Anne Mayer Bird and Catherine Mayer were widowed within 41 days of each other on the eve of the pandemic, then locked down alone. Their profound isolation was broken just once a week, when Catherine visited Anne to care for her, at distance and in a mask. Together they found ways to navigate their loss and the startling questions and challenges that confronted them.
In this memoir, Catherine also investigates the possibility that her husband, renowned musician Andy Gill, contracted Covid-19 when his band, Gang of Four, toured China in late 2019. Her main focus, however, is not on death, but on life and love. This is a captivating account of lives well lived, moving and spiked with black humour. It is interwoven with letters Anne wrote to her husband John to tell him of the astonishing and heartrending events since his death and her small triumphs in living independently.
In sharing their insights and experiences, Catherine and Anne aim to help those who have lost or will lose people or who wish to know how best to support others in such circumstances. They also celebrate love—for John and Andy and each other.
‘We are extraordinarily lucky, my mother and I. We have each other and we have this room.
‘In this living room, we are learning to embrace the things we can’t touch, each other and the lovely dead.’