Above and Beyond Wellfleet: A memoir welcoming life after loss deals honestly (with a bit of humor) about the arduous task of recovering from a life-shattering loss. Above and Beyond is Wilder's account of a decade-long journey back to familiarity. It is about resilience, determination and, above all, spirit.
Wilder believes that grieving people are lost: so few people understand what is happening within their heart and mind. She also believes that the subject is largely shunned, because even those wishing to comfort are inevitably reminded of their own mortality and the mortality of the ones they love.
Above and Beyond Wellfleet is also a love story. Wilder writes, "Facing tragic loss tears us to the bone. It is hard to know who we are anymore; we've been knocked off our gyroscope, tipped off balance because we have lost an integral part of our being. That is what love is all about; you cleave to the one you love and when they are physically gone, you are diminished, almost disappearing in the aftermath of that loss." A story of resilience and courage, love and loss, and, above all, the struggle to find joy in life when your heart is broken, the words will stay with you long after you close the book.
While Above & Beyond Wellfleet was written about the ten-year journey recovering from the death of a spouse, the book has resonated with readers who have experienced loss caused by the death of parent, the death of love through divorce, and the agony of a loved one's suicide.
Above and Beyond Wellfleet is a book that will make you examine your own life, whether or not you've suffered loss. This book also serves as a wonderful reminder for all of us that we need to take control of what happens next. Not only can Above and Beyond Wellfleet help people heal, it is also thought-provoking on a host of family and aging issues.
During the decade in which her book was written, Wilder traveled alone, bought and sold two homes, and made her instincts her new partner. She whittled down her possessions, faced the prospect of living alone for the rest of her life, and, most important, she began to see that life can begin again.
The stories in Above and Beyond Wellfleet are a peek into a heart that was breaking. The book is a memoir about love lost and courage gained. While grief is universal, each person's response is unique. The stories are about the unwelcome challenge of learning to live alone, not by choice but by circumstance. They are about the monumental and the mundane aspects of coping with loss and learning how to create a new way of living.
Wilder acknowledges in Above and Beyond Wellfleet that the "letting go" must be tempered while holding on to memories that keep the loved one alive in the corner of our hearts—but not taking up so much space that there isn’t any room for joy. In the words of Kahil Gibran, "joy and sorrow are inseparable…together they come and when one sits alone with you…remember that the other is asleep on your bed."