Posted in Books, Life, Love, TLC Book Tour

Where Have I Been All My Life?

Where Have I Been Al lMy Life

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?

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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.”

Cheryl Rice
Cheryl Rice

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).

 

You can find the book and purchasing info on GoodReads, Amazon, and IndiBound.

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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

25 thoughts on “Where Have I Been All My Life?

  1. I can certainly understand why this story impacted you so strongly. I can see some similarities in my own life, though I’m lucky to still have my mother. Still, I think there is a lot I could learn from this book.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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  2. Ah, grounding in self! Even though my mother is still alive and well, this book sounds like a good read for knowing and trusting the anchor within. Thanks for the review!

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  3. An honest story, well written, will do that for you. What a serendipitous event in your life to uncover the truth about where the heart lies. If it is not within and for yourself, than it cannot fulfill it’s function, which is to love all things. It is the difference between contentment and people pleasing. 🙂

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  4. Condolences on your mother’s death, Robin. I lost my mother in 1998, so like you, I know the pain of that particular loss. I think some deaths are easier to accept than others, though, and unlike you, I think the manner of death matters. To me, I think death can be a release under certain circumstances and very tragic under others,but in the end the results are the same.

    I hope your surgery went well, and that you are recovering by now. I was sorry to hear to had to have it at all.

    And finally, I agree that you have to be ‘at home’ within your own being—you are the only person that will always be with you in spite of how many other people you love, or how deeply you love them … you are still your own individual and have to deal with all that comes with the package you are born in. Sometimes it is hard to separate ourselves from those whom we truly love. With that separation, though, comes personal realization … and that, my dear, is my two-cents for the day. 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Marcy. My condolences to you. I threw that out there without thinking about it, but have to agree with you that the manner of death matters. My mother had lung cancer and was in a lot of pain. Death was a release for her. As much as I miss her, I wouldn’t have wanted her to continue to suffer that way.

      I like your two-cents. 🙂

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  5. The title of the book had me intrigued from the beginning….I’ll look the book up on Goodreads, but I must admit, having read your review, it could be a difficult book for me to read also, having lost my mum in 1993. I hope your health is improving with each day too, after your surgery. Take care.

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  6. I’ve been thinking of you lately because I knew you were scheduled for surgery. I hope it went well and you are recovering. Never fun!
    I enjoyed the review & your honesty about the challenges it brought you – it would touch a nerve with many of us. I’m intrigued to learn how she overcame her grief and learned to live from within as opposed to without. It is something we all would be better off learning. I’ll check it out.

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  7. “…home is where your love resides, starting with love of self.” This seems so obvious when you state it, but I hadn’t really thought of “home” this way. I really like this!

    My mother is still alive but I haven’t talked to her in a long time, so I could probably relate to many parts in this book!

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  8. Thanks for this review. I hope you keep getting stronger at the right pace! Loss is hard and I think if we let it, it can teach us things we need to know about ourselves and getting on with our lives. When my father died in 2008 I lost an innate sense of safety I had always had moving through the world. I also learned that sometimes it isn’t enough to acknowledge darkness; you must sit with it. We’re always learning–from the good and the difficult.

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  9. Thank you for your lovely and brave review, Robin. It takes courage to read a book you know will touch the tender places inside – especially when you are also physically vulnerable from your surgery. I’m very grateful you gave my book a chance and found it to be a worthwhile read. My best to you as you continue to heal and continue on the journey home. Kind regards.

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    1. You’re welcome, Cheryl. Thank you so much for stopping by, and for the opportunity to get to know you a little through your book. It helped me to get to know me a little more, too. 🙂

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  10. A journey began the moment my mother died (1991), too, and that included a couple of years of therapy. This sounds like a story that would also resonate with me, Robin. The more I came to understand that my parents weren’t perfect, the more I loved them, appreciated their struggles, and accepted life as it is.

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    1. Isn’t it a freeing and wonderful thing, Barbara, to accept our parents as the people they are? I think that’s one of the wonders of adulthood — the realization that they, too, struggled and did they best the could.

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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