In 2011 I took the journey after thirty years to grieve for my cherished sisters Margie and Jane. I refer to the process as my journey of comfort, bringing my sisters back to me. Suppressing my grief for three decades and not talking about Margie and Jane never felt right. I always felt like a part of me was missing not comprehending or understanding the grieving process. Unable to know what I needed or where to turn, the years ticked away. Thankfully when the time was right, I discovered my journey of comfort.
Surrounding me are numerous photos of Margie and Jane, Margie’s mahogany desk chair with the pink leather seat, Jane’s nightstand, the faded white trimmed in gold, jewelry inscribed with my sister’s names, Margie’s cheerleader necklace, cards and letters scrawled with Margie and Jane’s handwriting, and best of all more memories recalled without the intense pain and the willingness to share with a smile.
The emotions run the gambit like the speed of a roller coaster – gradually riding to the top, accelerating at high-speed coming down and repeating – the highs, the lows, the pain, the joy, the sadness, the happiness, and learning to go with the ebb and flow of all the waves.
Now that I have dug deep and truly paved my journey of comfort, I miss my sisters more deeply than ever. Being with others who have sisters or if friends talk about sisters, it is more difficult and painful. Learning to navigate the new feelings, and taking a “time out,” crying, or choosing to attend or not attend a function on my terms, still requires work.
For thirty years of not sharing or talking about my sisters the sorrow there but masked by shelving so many emotions deep into my subconscious. Today I am more open, transparent, and peeled that onion piece by piece, the tears more fluid, the hurt deeper on another level, the years of loss more pronounced, the missing the what ifs prominent, and the void at the holidays more defined.
The other piece of comfort I did not realize was skating, a chord that held me to my cherished sisters. Little did I know that of the three of us, the one with the least talent, I would keep skating and the connection to my sisters as a crucial piece of our past, and our love. Skating and bringing my sisters back provided me the confidence to perform on the ice before a large audience knowing my sisters, my anchors, my cheerleader, and champions were there on my shoulders with me with every glide.
My journey of comfort reconnected Judy to Judy. By tossing my grief through the deepest barrels of my brain the true Judy went there too. Hello Judy. Welcome back. Reconnected. Rediscovered. Restored.
Undeniable, unquestionable Margie and Jane are my life, my legacy, my past, my present, and my future.
Judy Lipson, is the Founder of Celebration of Sisters, an ice skating fundraiser established in 2011 to commemorate the memories of her beloved sisters to benefit Massachusetts General Hospital. Judy has published articles for The Open to Hope Foundation and The Centering Organization. Massachusetts General Hospital and SKATING Magazine featured numerous pieces on Judy’s philanthropic work. Judy appeared as a guest on The Open To Hope and The Morning Glory Podcasts. Her passion for figure skating secured the recipient of U.S. Figure Skating Association 2020 Get Up Award. Judy’s memoir, Celebration of Sisters: It Is Never Too Late To Grieve, released December 2021 by WriteLife Publishing.