Always Liza to Me: A Memoir for My Silent Sister by Cecilia Rice

By Cecilia Rice

This can be the tale of the Rice family members, and of Liza, their critically mentally-retarded eldest daughter. it is a tale approximately what it used to be like becoming up in a wide, rowdy family ceaselessly within the thrall of this unknowable, unreachable baby. whilst she used to be small Cecilia regularly believed Liza wouldn't continue to exist to maturity, that she might by no means be her “problem.” yet she did continue to exist. With heat, knowledge and humor, Cecilia finds how her kin got here to consider “the Liza challenge” as their very own and the way, throughout the passing of time and a mysterious technique of attractiveness and forgiveness, their fears and resentment become fierce loyalty and abiding love. this can be greater than a memoir in regards to the problems, demanding situations, and infrequent rewards that include taking care of a disabled baby.

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Extra resources for Always Liza to Me: A Memoir for My Silent Sister

Sample text

One day at the North Ryde centre, I saw a brown-haired girl lying on a mat on the floor, a puddle of pink vomit near her head. I recognised the long rigid fingers and angulated thumbs, the tapered fingernails and the waxy skin of Elizabeth’s hands. She was small and skinny with the same funny ears and eyebrows and a similar downturned mouth. Elizabeth was fair, this girl was dark, but the features were unmistakable. There was someone else on earth just like our sister. Maybe because I was a twin, I registered her doppelgänger.

Mum and Aunty Marian visited each 35 a l way s l i z a t o m e other often and we would play with our twin cousins or watch the older girls dancing the twist with their friends. We would also visit our grannies. On our mother’s side, Grandpa had died just before Elizabeth was born. Although we had not met him in person, the tales of his adventures meant that he was as real to us as our living grandparents. On the other side there were Grandma and Papa. It tickled me that we had a grandpa with a nanny and a papa with a grandma, as though they had swapped partners.

The nurses wore uniforms, and they were not magical princesses. For the first time we saw a collection of disabled children in cots or lying on mats on the floor being nursed and supervised. They were not all the same as Elizabeth and they did not share each other’s peculiarities. Some were noisy, bleating or babbling, some completely 33 a l way s l i z a t o m e silent and motionless, some were rocking, or wringing their hands, or waving their arms in front of their eyes like a tiny baby. One had a huge head and could not lift it without support.

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