I lost my sister Margie in 1991 after a twenty year battle with anorexia and bulimia. So often the siblings of those struggling with an eating disorder need support too. Kym Piekunka and Bridget Whitlow work with siblings providing them tools, support and a voice. I was honored to be included with two other siblings to share our stories in this valuable project.
I never comprehended the summer of 1970 at age 14, I witnessed my beautiful older sister Margie fading away when she picked me up from overnight camp. My sister whom I idolized was a shadow of herself. For so many years, I had held on to who I wanted her to be. Our lives would later veer off the path into a detour neither of us could have fathomed. Despite it all, Margie and I shared a closeness only sisters understand.
Although physically I could witness Margie’s decline, my heart always wanted the sister I looked up to. I felt cheated not only of losing a sister but of a sister I felt I deserved. At age 14 my world as I knew it turned upside down. Her illness allowed her to function well at times and enjoy a reasonable quality of life; then how quickly the tables turned.
I adored Margie. She always cherished me as well. Our age difference of two years cemented our close relationship, true soul mates. People commented on the resemblance between the two of us. Margie played the guitar and sang with an angelic voice. I admired her intellect. In junior high, she was the shortest member of the cheerleading squad, a great ice skater, and enjoyed playing tennis.
Margie’s illness a taboo topic in the 1970’s. Not immune to the vicious rumors that spread like wild fire and fingers pointed during school I heard loud and clear. The words hurt me to the core. Not able to talk or share with anyone I kept my head down and never told a soul. I knew the truth.
The role of big sister is one she took seriously, always wanting to take care of me, worrying about me, listening to me, advising me, with her wonderful wisdom and sense of humor. She always sensed what I felt; nothing about me went past her. Margie forever made me laugh.
One of my favorites photographs is of Margie taken a few years before she died. As she sits on the floor reading to my two daughters, Janie is looking up at her with loving eyes and Amy bending over proudly showing her the bow in her hair. The love of all is evident in the smiles they all share.
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.