In the chapter entitled “We Get Up", I write,
“I was about to practice a spin on the ice. My skates newly sharpened, I skated to the end of the rink near the mirrors away from the fast skaters. One foot crossed over the other. I stepped into the spin, one arm overhead, the other arm extended, and then – nothing. Complete darkness.”
Little did I know I suffered a concussion, bruised the left side of my face, and required eight stitches on the corner of my eye. At age sixty-two, would I skate again? With stern looks from the doctors who advised me to stop skating. What? This did not register. Skating was my joy, passion, and the connection to my beloved sisters Margie and Jane.
The accident occurred two weeks prior to The Skating of Boston Ice Chips where I was to perform in two numbers; The Bostonians, a synchronized piece and an Adult Number celebrating U.S.A. Figure Skating outfitted in hats, scarves, and mittens reflecting the logo. I was crushed not to skate with my fellow adult skaters, enjoy the thrill of an ice show with costumes, makeup, and lights. The crowning glory taking a bow with an ensemble cast, meeting skaters of all ages, crammed into our dressing rooms talking and laughing, sharing stories while waiting to perform, and being nervous backstage.
Concussion protocol forced rest. Unable to do much of anything except for a light daily walk, I received a phone call from The Skating Club, asking me to the hold the flag during the singing of the National Anthem signifying the opening of Ice Chips. I would have a part in the show after all! In full regalia of costume, bruised face without a stitch of makeup, finding solid shoes to stand in, I proudly held the flag and enjoyed a brief time in the dressing room with the fellow skaters. Honored and proud when the emcee boldly announced over the Harvard’s Bright Landry Hockey Center, “the flag is held by Judy Lipson, our Adult member.”
Three months after the fall I returned to the ice. Not a patient person, forced to be during the recovery. Knowing the severity of concussions and cautiousness from medical professionals. I had no expectations and knew baby steps no grand gestures. Tentatively, one foot on the ice, the other, one foot glide, how wonderful to be on the ice, the breeze flowing through my hair, the smell of the rink, crossing one foot over the other. Surprised, better than anticipated, I lasted fifteen minutes. Little by little I built up endurance, but I was skating!
The greatest obstacle became the fear of falling. When a skater zoomed by, I held onto the boards nervous of being knocked over. I realize I am not the skater pre concussion, but I am skating. I find joy and the precious gift every time I step onto the ice.
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.