Coping with death: Two widows discovered that sharing their pain was a great source of comfort.


Coping with death: Two widows discovered that sharing their pain was a great source of comfort.

Catherine Mayer and her mother Anne Mayer were both bereaved within 41 days of each other, and their shared grief was a great source of comfort. They’ve now published a moving and shocking memoir on loss.

Anne Mayer Bird and her daughter Catherine were widowed within 41 days of each other on the eve of the pandemic. They were subsequently locked up alone, with only Catherine, 59, coming to see Anne, 87, once a week to break up their grief and isolation. They’d keep their distance and she’d wear a mask, but there would be some contact.

They chatted about the emotional isolation of losing a loved one during a global pandemic and the realities of widowhood during their treasured Sunday visits at Anne’s house in north London.

Anne’s second husband, John Bird, died a week before their 40th wedding anniversary last year, soon before Christmas.

“I was living in a world that John would not have recognized just two months after he died. I lost my beloved spouse, and five weeks later – literally minutes – I was engulfed in the pandemic. Anne recalls, “I’d never lived alone in my life.”

The spouse of her youngest daughter, Catherine, died of pneumonia just six weeks after John’s death, having falling ill in early December.

Andy Gill was the lead guitarist for Gang Of Four, a rock band he co-founded in 1976, as well as a producer for Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Stranglers.

For the past two decades, the pair had been married.

Catherine, an author, award-winning journalist, and co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party, says, “In losing the loves of our lives, my mother and I have found an ever closer bond.”

“Catherine copes with my technological failings by putting on the double duvet that I can’t quite manage.

“Being twin widows was not something we expected to happen,” Anne says, “but we are up and running.”

Mother and daughter are working together to cope with their grief and the problems they face as twin widows, including what they refer to as “sadmin” and “dreadtape” — the unpleasant paperwork that comes with mourning.

They’ve also authored Good Bereavement, a stunning and very poignant story on how love can help people cope with grief.

“In this extremely dark world, our book is a ray of hope,” Anne explains.

They, too. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”


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