I could not put down Winter Sun even though my eyes were filled with tears throughout every chapter. Never maudlin, Phil Rice’s journey as he cares for his fiancé, whom he marries before she dies, is boundlessly tender and excruciatingly humble. His emotional epiphanies as he confronts the reality of the situation and the inevitable issues of religious beliefs are sheer poetry. Winter Sun is a must-read for anyone who is dealing with hospice care—or any of life’s profound interruptions.
– Stephanie Ericsson, author of Companion Through the Darkness: Inner Dialogues on Grief
(5.5 x 8.5, 164 pages; pub. April 9, 2016)
Winter Sun: A Memoir of Love and Hospice is a personal narrative of a terminal illness interrupting a middle-aged couple’s romantic plans to marry and live out their years together.
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389 Lincoln Ave
Woodstock, IL 60098
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From the author’s preface:
“She entered the world as Janice Mason; she came into my life as Janice Greene; she left us as Janice Rice. Her life’s story is beyond the scope of my talents. What I hope to preserve with this writing is some small measure of the loving light in which she moved.
There is sadness in the story, but it is a memoir of love. As a memoir it is not overly concerned with medical facts or historical data; rather, it is a telling of my personal experience and perceptions as Janice, my companion and fiancée, is diagnosed and treated for stage four Glioblastoma Multiforme (GMD), more commonly known as a brain tumor. Some of the writing is journalistic in the form of email updates to friends and family as the disease progressed. The bulk of the text was composed during and after a period of healing. All of it is from the heart.
And, too, this is a memoir of hospice. Although I am tempted to use a euphemism for death in my reference to hospice, I will instead say that hospice is about life. Because of hospice, Janice was able to symbolically clasp my hand and take me with her as she slipped beyond the physical surface. She took me with her to the source, and then she gently let go.”
Read the full preface here.
Phil and Janice at Pittsburgh’s Frick
Art & Historical Center, August 2010
Phil Rice is a native Tennessean whose career as a writer, editor, and teacher has also included extended residencies in Florida and Pennsylvania. His writing has appeared in a variety of magazines, journals, and books. He and P.A. Merrill founded Canopic Jar: An Arts Journal in 1986, a venture for which he continues to serve as editor. Currently he shares a home with the poet Virginia Smith Rice in Woodstock, Illinois.
The painting used in the cover design and for the web banner is “Winter Sunset” by Jim Gray. Mr. Gray’s work was special to Janice and Phil and several prints were hanging in their home during the time discussed in the memoir. A signed print of “Winter Sunset,” originally given to Joann Rice by friend Chris Gray in 1986, was hanging on the wall at the head of Janice’s bed during her time of hospice. We are all deeply grateful for the art of Jim Gray. (www.jimgraygallery.com)