I stepped onto the ice after a hiatus of ten days, a substantial break for an adult figure skater to lack practice. Ice skating is my passion, a major focal point in my life, and a sport shared with my beloved sisters Margie and Jane. My legs were shaky as I tried to warm up on the ice and tears streamed down my face. Puzzled by the reaction upon my return to ice skating. I stroked around and got my legs back under me. Somehow, I muddled through my skating lesson and the remainder of the skating session.
The interruption in my routine was due to spending eight glorious days in New York celebrating the birth of my first grandchild named after my beloved father Benjamin. Holding the baby boy for the first time, sleeping in my arms, I whispered, “Hi Benji, it’s your Mimi.” He opened his eyes and looked directly at me. I melted, an instant love. This feeling I will never forget and treasure forever.
When I got home, settled down, and had some time to think, I realized why I had such an overwhelming emotional reaction. The birth of my Benji changed me.
When my sisters Jane and Margie died, I experienced the same feeling, except the total opposite end of the spectrum. The first day I returned to work after my sisters died, I vividly recall shaking and crying, the same feeling I had on the ice after the birth of Benji. The death of my sisters changed me.
I walked back into Bloomingdale’s the first day back after Jane died and could feel my body shaking. It was quite clear that returned was not the same. I did not hold it together and started weeping as I stepped into the offices. A very kind coworker escorted me into his office, where I sat down and cried. I did not expect to have that reaction. I had always been so strong and held everything and everyone together.
Being November and the height of the Christmas season in retail, yearly sales contingent on this condensed period, I knew I had to compose myself. I worked for a tyrant of a boss who had no tolerance for any crying o. Had I cried in front of her, my career in retail finished.
I found myself walking through the motions of life like a robot, often times my concentration floating away. Working in retail and customer demands seemed so frivolous. No choice but to smile and provide excellent customer service and attempt to hold onto my stellar job performance. I had no one to talk to, no clue what I felt, so I just kept moving. No time to think about the fact that I buried my precious younger sister Jane. On the outside no one knew I lost my sister. I did not talk about it with anyone.
Dealing with the reaction or non-reaction from others, my instability, inability to focus, and needing to grieve all factored in. I did not want to cry in front of coworkers so I forged ahead with the exception of the initial walk in.
Today, with all that I have lost, I am so grateful for all that I have gained. Yes, I am incredibly sad that my Margie and Jane are not here to share this with me. I think about them each and every day. My heart is full with new family, extended family, a new precious life, a new beginning, and a new love.