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Embracing life at a time of death

Paperback edition,

updated and with brand new chapters and letters,

3 February 2022


UK Bookshops

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“The most life-affirming book ever written about death.” Sandi Toksvig


“Beautiful, incredibly moving and unexpectedly comforting.” Marian Keyes

"A celebration of life" i

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. 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.
Now updated with brand new chapters and letters, Good Grief is an essential companion for loss and a testimony to enduring love. Spiked with wry humour, it is an uplifting, moving and unexpectedly joyous read.

“A perfect book, specific and personal, but spot on about the universal nature of grief and how we grieve. Every page sings.” Kate Mosse
“A most powerful and helpful book about grief.” Anita Anand

“Every life has a start, a middle and an end. Everyone prepares for the first two events, but are we doing what we can to prepare for the end? Catherine and Anne generously share their experience of widowhood knowing that they can help others prepare and cope with grief. An important book on a very important subject.” June Sarpong

"Smart, upbeat and brimming with fortitude" Observer

"A powerful read" Bella

"Exceptionally insightful... would be very helpful to anyone who has lost someone dear – or who knows someone who has. Which is all of us." The Lady

“One of the saddest things I've ever read but also the most powerful. It's made me want to cling tight to the people I love while acknowledging their mortality and mine too.” Marian Keyes

“Fantastic book, full of beautiful honesty on such a dark subject.” Rio Ferdinand

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