Celebration of Sisters, an annual ice skating fundraiser to honor and commemorate the lives and memories of my sisters Jane E. Lipson and Marjorie E. Lipson to benefit The John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital. Ice skating is my passion, solace, peace, and where I have come full circle in my grief to remember and pay tribute to my sisters.
I lost my beloved sister Jane at age 22 in an automobile accident in 1981, and my beloved sister Margie at age 35 in 1990 after a 20-year battle with anorexia and bulimia. My father’s death in 2011 one week before the inception of the first Celebration of Sisters set me free to finally mourn for my sisters and bring them back into my life and heart where they truly belong. I always felt a piece of me missing and needed my sisters with me to feel whole.
My journey the past 5 years to mourn for my sisters after 30 years has been a road map of twists, turns, bumps, ditches, sunshine, rainbows with a destination of a halo of warmth, peace, joy, bittersweet emotions, sadness, resilience, love and happiness. I am and always will be Judy the middle of three sisters.
Growing up the three of took ice skating lessons. Margie skating beautifully, Jane and I skated recreationally. As I glide across the ice I feel free, the weight of the world gone, my sisters with me. To those who see me skate, the reflection is evident in my face and movements. On the ice I recall my sisters, and am away from my pain for that, “One Moment In Time” (one of the songs I performed to at Celebration of Sisters).
Choosing the correct piece of music to skate for Celebration of Sisters is extremely important. The lyrics must have meaning, be comparable to the theme of the event, and reverberate with my soul. My music selection reflects the love for my cherished sisters, Jane and Margie. As I viewed one of The Open To Hope Foundation shows I came across a touching song that resonated with me.
The song poignantly written by two siblings, one of who tragically passed away shortly after I heard the song “We Will Never Be Apart.” The eloquent words rung true to me more than any other song.
Celebration of Sisters takes place in November as Jane’s birthday is November 6th and Margie’s birthday November 8th. Coincidentally our 5th Celebration of Sisters in 2105, the date fell on Margie’s birthday. It warms my heart that after so many years my sisters Jane and Margie are still loved and not forgotten.
My wonderful skating coach choreographed a gorgeous number that showcased my deepest sentiment and emotions how I feel about my sisters. Trust me I cried many tears as I practiced with the music, yet the lyrics of this emotional song pulled me through. I dedicated my performance to my adored sisters Jane and Margie, to Michael, and to all lost siblings.
My skating performance is about my journey, healing, the piece of me that will always miss my sisters, re-discovering me, the independent 25-year old who got lost and buried when Jane died in 1981. I hope my sisters would be laughing and proud to see their sister Judy coming into her own and finding herself. Look at Judy the shy sister wearing a pretty skating dress out there skating before a large audience.
Celebration of Sisters is my gift to my treasured sisters and all lost siblings. The legacies of my dearest Jane and Margie live on in me, my daughters, and in all who share my beautiful sisters.
“WE WILL NEVER BE APART”
“How can I find hope without you?
You who have been my truest friend
Lifting my soul through heartache and fear
Again and again
We will never be apart, we’re sisters
I will always be there by your side
There are simply bonds that can’t be broken
By distance or time
There won’t be a day when I’m not with you
You will always be safe in my heart
Waiting for that world when at last
Our sorrow our past
But until that time
We will never be apart”
Book/story co-writer J.Michael Call* and Colette Call Lofgren
Composer/Lyricist Colette Call Lofgren
*in blessed memory