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William & Wendell: A Family Remembered

Cover of William & Wendell: A Family Remembered

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William & Wendell: A Family Remembered by Donnali Fifield offers reassurance, and a welcome measure of relief, for those who are struggling to recover from a loss.

Therapy, she writes, has added a "subtle burden by converting grief from a fundamental human experience into a therapeutic process whose goal is to overcome the loss." By pointing out why the theory of a cathartic resolution is oppressive, she provides a thoughtful and different perspective on the current view of grief.

She came to this conclusion from her own wrenching experience. In 1990, she lost both of her twin children. Wendell Fifield-Freeman died two days after birth. His brother, William, lived for three months but suffered the complications of prematurity, including cerebral palsy. Their deaths were the last in a series of tragedies that began with the murder-suicide of her half brother's family in 1987.

As she recounts her realization that she would not heal but would have to live with a changed, more painful reality, she makes an original contribution to the understanding of bereavement. Articulating hidden, often unacknowledged aspects of grief, this incisive and probing book will speak to anyone who feels inadequate because of the contemporary expectations of recovery.

More than simply a poignant chronicle, William & Wendell: A Family Remembered also has surprising flashes of wry humor and evocative passages about her childhood in Provence, as the author links past and present in a singular work of remembrance.

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