We have been sheltered in place for over a month with an abundance of time to think. Not always a prescription for those of us who have lost loved ones coupled with the repeated stories of daily multiple deaths. I have chosen to distance myself from the news and focus on being grateful that my family and now extended family are all safe and healthy.

With time on our hands, although challenging, the best practice for me best is to produce a schedule into a non-scheduled existence, finding projects and activities to fill up the days which seem to be running into one another. I know if too much time to ponder not a good recipe to circle and circle thoughts of sorrow.

Reverting back to games of my youth and playing games like Rummy 500 and Monopoly I am remembering my beloved Margie and Jane. For thirty years of squashing my grief the mention of Margie and Jane caused me enormous pain and sadness, now my heart is full and recall the fun three sisters had together.

In addition, organizing old photographs, I came across additional photos of my treasured sisters. I possess so few. What a gift to discover a treasure trove of more! I sat down on my bed flipping through each one reminiscing about the time we had together. Some of the memories I do recall some I do not. Looking at the pictures of groupings of sisters, some individuals, and pairs, expressions on the faces reflecting the mood of each girl. Seeing the style of clothing and hair of the sixties chuckling to myself. Many have come full cycle and returned today.

I came across a black and white of my older sister Margie and I playing cards on our screened in porch. We are sitting on a sofa that glided back and forth. Margie used to get annoyed at me because I used to push the sofa with my foot and the cards fell to the floor. It was my way of distracting her because she almost always won the game. In the photo Margie is looking down concentrating hard on the cards in her hand, I am looking out at the photographer holding the cards in my hand. I adored Margie and loved being with her.

Jane, my younger sister and I played Candyland at the round white Formica kitchen table. The game of bright colors parallel to her bright personality. Although she cried if she did not get her way, and I am certain did so if she did not win the game. I loved being the big sister. Her cuteness with the blond bob and dimple on her cheek melted my heart.

The three of us spent hours in our basement playing with our Barbie dolls. We dressed them up, created stories, made a make shift house, and car. Each girl had a case to house their “wardrobe” equipped with hangers and a separate compartment below for shoes. Changing an outfit entailed proper hanging up, and then brushing the doll’s hair. I maintain a Barbie collection, a full shelf of dolls on stands in various outfits. Being sheltered at home so much reminisced about my sisters’ daily.

My “game” closet today although much smaller than the walk in closet housed in the basement of the home of our youth still maintains some of our games Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, and Scrabble. Whenever I look at the games my heart skips a beat sometime a lone tear drops out of my eye and I fondly remember my cherished Margie and Jane.

Judy Lipson

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 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. Ice skating is a sport shared by me and my sisters and a chord throughout my life. It has brought me full circle to pay tribute to my sisters and bring me joy, peace, healing and the recipient of the US Figure Skating 2020 Get Up Award. My memoir Celebration of Sisters: It is Never Too Late To Grieve will be published in December 2021. It is my goal to advocate for sibling loss to insure surviving siblings are neither alone nor forgotten.

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