Who Am I Now that My Sisters Passed Away?

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Who am I now that my sisters passed away?  Not an easy question to answer. My life has evolved through many unpredicted punches, most powerfully by the loss of my treasured sisters Margie and Jane in their young adulthood.

As I plow through my cobwebs and  entanglements, searching for the core of the authentic middle girl sandwiched between Margie and Jane, I have lost my path numerous times and desperately needed to navigate the direction back home to myself.

My independent streak allowed me to attend overnight camp for eight weeks at age nine, step on a big bus for a four-hour drive to Maine, and later go away to college and a move to New York City at age 21.

The years in New York in my early twenties proved to be the happiest in my life. As I embarked on a new career in retail, worked extremely hard, meeting new people, I enjoyed all New York City offered and relished being a city girl. The training served me well throughout my life. I took my late father’s advice, “Roll with the punches.”

I was free to be me, without the burdens of feelingjudged, criticized, both inside and outside of my family.  No one knew my story, no explanations needed, a clean slate. Then, on November 7, 1981, a tragic automobile accident that killed my sister Jane at age 22. It turned my world upside down. Nine years later, my other sister died in her thirties.

With both my sisters deceased, I felt myself being chipped away into someone I did not know. I tried to please others, bring light to everyone. But deep inside, I struggled. I stopped talking about my sisters. And this halted my quest for identity. A piece of me was always missing. I became confused and silent at my center, my core, my true self.

What is my life now that my sisters have passed away? I know for certain now that even though they are gone, they must always be a part of me. They are in my past, present and future. Margie and Jane define me; I cannot bury my connect with them. I cherish their love and memories every day. As three sisters, we each had our own unique personality, but something connected us like pieces of a puzzle fitting together. This is what I hold onto today.

 

 

Judy Lipson

More Articles Written by Judy

I am a sister who sadly lost both my sisters. I lost my younger beloved sister Jane died at age 22 in an automobile accident in 1981, and my older beloved sister Margie passed away at age 35 after a 20-year battle with anorexia and bulimia in 1990. I am the sole surviving sibling. As the Founder and Chair of “Celebration of Sisters,” this annual ice skating fundraiser honors and commemorates the lives and memories of my beloved sisters to benefit The John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. The event is scheduled the first Sunday in November as Jane’s birthday was November 6th and Margie’s November 8th. We celebrate all lost siblings, their legacies as they live on in all of us. Since the inception of Celebration of Sisters in 2011, I have embarked on the journey to mourn the losses of my beloved sisters that had been suppressed for 30 years. The process unmistakably the greatest challenging time in my life proved to be the most empowering, enlightening and freeing. Now that I am allowing my sisters and their memories to return to my heart where they truly belong, I am re-discovering myself, happier and more at peace. I share my love of ice-skating as a skating instructor in the learn to skate programs at the Babson Skating School and Bay State Skating School, and as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Therapeutic Skating Program at The Skating Club of Boston. I live in Boston and am the mother of two grown daughters. It is my goal to advocate for sibling loss to insure surviving siblings are neither alone nor forgotten.

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