Well, I wrote a book. But it’s not about helping my mother die. It’s about helping myself live. It’s about how losing my best friend, the person whose voice I trusted most in this world, called me forth to befriend myself and claim my own voice in deep, unprecedented, and vital ways. And it’s about learning to exchange a fantasy life, fueled by a stark fear of intimacy, for a real life fueled by the vulnerability and messiness of real love.
~ Cheryl Rice, Where Have I Been All My life?
Imagine losing your mother and being plunged into unprecedented sorrow. Imagine that in seeking solace you begin therapy — only to find yourself falling desperately in love with your therapist. The series of comical yet powerful events that follow will shatter and redefine your deeply held notions about love, longing, and what it means to be whole.
~ From the description on the book cover, Where Have I Been All My Life?
Full disclosure: Through TLC Book Tours, I received a free copy of Where Have I Been All My Life?: A Journey Toward Love and Wholeness in exchange for a review of the book on my blog. My review was scheduled to be posted as part of the tour on January 28, but I was busy having surgery that day. My apologies to the folks at TLC Book Tours and the book’s author for not getting this done on time.
I have to be honest with you, the surgery isn’t the only reason I put off doing this review. Cheryl Rice’s book hit home with me on a number of levels due to some of our commonalities. Ms. Rice’s mother died of lung cancer. My mother died of lung cancer. Not that it matters what they died of/from. The death of your mother (or any loved one) can leave you reeling for a while. Ms. Rice’s memoir about her journey through grief and the way she candidly bares her soul made this a tough read for me at times. I could see myself in her descriptions of being a people pleasing “good girl,” and found it difficult to get started on this review because of how much I could relate to some of Ms. Rice’s book and journey.
But what I yearned for most, what I was most homesick for, was a welcoming, sheltering, and abiding home within. Learning to cultivate that abiding sense of self would come to be my most worthwhile journey of all.
And the journey began the moment my mother died.
~ Cheryl Rice
Reading about homesickness and longing in Where Have I Been All My Life?, brought me to my own ah-ha! moment, a realization that the homesickness I’ve been feeling since our big move from the Bogs to the Wabi-Sabi Ranch was about more than my place in the physical world. It is learning that home is wherever I happen to be because the feeling — or sense — of home is something that comes from being grounded within. I used to think “home is where the heart is” meant home is where the people you love are, but have discovered that what it truly means is that home is where your love resides, starting with love of self. Reading Ms. Rice’s memoir helped me see that if you are not at home with yourself, it is difficult (maybe impossible) to be home anywhere.
Where Have I Been All My Life? takes you on Ms. Rice’s roller coaster ride through grief, therapy, and finding that sense of home within. It is a well written, sometimes witty look at her struggle to go from a people pleasing “good girl” to acknowledging that life is not perfect and that her parents were not perfect, to finding her own sense of self “and abiding home within.”
About the author: Cheryl Rice is a professional speaker and coach. Her company, Your Voice Your Vision partners with women striving to be leaders in their own lives. When Cheryl decided to take the advice she so passionately offers her clients, she emerged with a memoir. Her essays have appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Cactus Heart, and Cure Magazine. Cheryl has M.S. degrees in both Psychological Services and Organization Development, and lives with her family outside of Philadelphia. Find Cheryl online at www.YourVoiceYourVision.com. You can also find her on Facebook (Cheryl Rice) and Twitter (@RiceOnLife).