Here's a book I was surprised I was interested in, but then found myself completely intrigued.
Where Have I Been All My Life - Cheryl Rice
Where Have I Been All My Life? is a compelling memoir recounting one woman's journey through grief and a profound feeling of unworthiness to wholeness and healing. It begins with the chillingly sudden death of Rice's mother, which is followed by her foray into the center of mourning. With wisdom, grace, and humor, Rice recounts the grief games she plays in an effort to resurrect her mother; her misguided efforts to get her therapist to run away with her (or at least accept her gifts); and the transformation of her husband from fantasy man to ordinary guy to superhero. In the process, she experiences aching revelations about her family and her past and realizes what she must leave behind, and what she can carry forward with her. Poignant, tender, and sometimes hilarious, Where Have I Been All My Life? is Rice's universally relatable story of how she found sustenance for the difficult but vital journey toward love and wholeness in an unexpected place: herself.
It's kind of self help, self discovery, but it is absolutely and completely easy to relate to. It starts with Cheryl losing her mother to a really quick bout of cancer. It throws her for a loop, especially when it becomes her mother is basically over it and ready to go to wherever we go when we die. Cheryl has basically had her entire life revolve around her mother so losing her left her in a tailspin- who was she as a motherless person? I think none of us are ever really to lose a parent, much less a mother. No matter the relationship you've had with your mother over life, it's still a bit jolting to one day realize you no longer have her.
So Cheryl decides in order to save her marriage, which kind of starts waffling as Cheryl is working through grief, she starts therapy. Except she starts falling for her therapist and of course, that's no ideal considering she's married. I really don't want to tell you more because it does kind of ruin the book for you, but know that you reading the chapters, which felt more like short essays, make you feel like you are on this journey with her. It felt wrong to laugh during this book because this is a woman who is clearly trying to find herself and is struggling, but I did. And Cheryl feels like that one friend we all have who always says they need to find themselves and we roll our eyes because who has? What does that even mean? Well reading this kind of brought that to a more concrete understanding of what that is, though I do still feel like it's a bit hokey.
Perhaps the most useful thing I took away from the book is to appreciate what I have, right now. Not worry so much about what I am missing from life, and not give any more time to things that don't matter. Basically, not dwell on the things that have been upsetting or have prevented me from living a good life now.
Cheryl has a website and actually leads seminars and you can get more information on that HERE. Honestly, if you are looking into a book that helps you look into yourself and not be too lofty but as an easy, fun read? This is easily it. It's under 200 pages, I whipped through it in an afternoon because she writes about heavy topics with grace and humor and makes it fun to read about her struggles. Which sounds terrible, but that's the best way to describe it.