By Cecilia Rice
This is often the tale of the Rice kin, and of Liza, their significantly mentally-retarded eldest daughter. it is a tale approximately what it was once like starting to be up in a wide, rowdy loved ones without end within the thrall of this unknowable, unreachable baby. while she used to be small Cecilia constantly believed Liza wouldn't live to tell the tale to maturity, that she could by no means be her “problem.” yet she did live to tell the tale. With heat, knowledge and humor, Cecilia finds how her relatives got here to consider “the Liza challenge” as their very own and the way, in the course of the passing of time and a mysterious strategy of reputation and forgiveness, their fears and resentment became fierce loyalty and abiding love. this is often greater than a memoir concerning the problems, demanding situations, and infrequent rewards that include taking care of a disabled baby.
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Additional resources for Always Liza to Me: A Memoir for My Silent Sister
Thump! Thump! Thump! It was awful to see Elizabeth hurting 42 school herself and we couldn’t understand it. Our parents explained that she was doing it out of frustration because she couldn’t tell us if she was unhappy or in pain the way we could. The smearing of excrement also resumed. Often it would be in her fingernails and she would smell. If she wiped it on us we would wash our hands, but it seemed to stay with us for the rest of the day. She would bite, pull hair and scratch whoever came close.
If Elizabeth tried to interrupt, Cathy would turn her antics into a game, laughing her off fearlessly. Elizabeth walked around with arms outstretched as if playing blindman’s buff, repeating over and over her own madeup ‘bijabye, bijabye’, the only word of more than one syllable she ever spoke. Cathy would play along, letting herself be caught or running away. Cathy never flinched and was agile enough to avoid Elizabeth when the mood inevitably changed. This might not have been registered by Elizabeth, but it was great for us to be able to relax with our first friend at home.
I wondered if they would make friends or find a way of talking to each other. After Elizabeth’s discharge from the centre in September she was more settled, but would have occasional tantrums and bite and scratch if she was crossed. Mum still had to shield the little 34 d e pa r t u r e s ones from her attacks and Dad thought she became overprotective of Damian. But Damian remembers the gripping fear that would overcome him if Mum left him for an instant as a child, along with the awful awareness that it would frustrate Dad terribly to see him so hopeless.