In a world of chaos, and worry, deep kindness remains from many people. Simple gestures or words-a smile, please, and thank you go a long way to reduce tension and unite people.
A move out of downtown Boston to the South Shore a year and a half ago, charting a new territory, new explorations, and navigating a new world–hairdresser, nail salon, and at the top of my list - a skating club. I toggle between two clubs–The Bog Skating Club and The Bourne Skating Club. I am astounded by the kindness and welcoming found in both clubs.
The first time I skated, at The Bourne Skating club, the coaches saw a new face and introduced themselves to me. The skaters said, “hi.” I felt the warmth, and a sense of community. The young women chatted with me about their skating, what test or competition they were working on, and I enjoyed hearing about their skating journeys. Beautiful skaters and beautiful people.
I am a slow skater. The rules of a freestyle session designate that the individual taking a lesson has the right of way on the ice. Not quick enough to dodge the young skaters, the lovely skaters apologized to me. I am the one who should apologize to them for getting in their way, not annoyed at the disruption of their precious lesson time. I appreciated their grace and kindness towards an adult skater.
The Bog Skating Club invited my friend and I to skate in their Christmas show. We practiced two to three times a week and became friendly with the individuals who skated in the public sessions and worked at the rink. The caring team encouraged two adult skaters and championed us along the way. The day of the performance, my nerves were off the charts. The woman checking us before we stepped onto the ice provided me with hand warmers, the president of the club asked me many times during the warm-up, “Judy are you okay?” When I stood waiting to be next to perform, overwhelmed as the gentlemen who runs the Zamboni walked over with two bouquets of flowers, one for me and one for my friend. In addition, the twins who skate at both clubs, present the day of the show, handed me a lovely card and chocolates. Kindness remains.
As I continue to grow and navigate my grief journey and share my story, the walls that had been up for decades came down. People talk to me. The saying goes, “everyone has a story.” Being more open and vulnerable, not closed like a vault, has allowed me to reciprocate. I joined The Compassionate Friends Sibling Grief Book Club, a warm, welcoming group who share our bond of sibling loss, and love of reading.
One of my bereaved sibling friends I met through the group, appreciating my passion for skating, and graciously presented me with a bracelet with a skating charm. I felt touched by her kindness and thoughtfulness. Having both lost sisters, we share a bond despite our age difference, and years of loss.
Little speckles of kindness, reciprocate greater rewards, endure friendships and relationships from unknown places.
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.