Father’s Death Triggers Grief

My beloved father Benjamin Lipson passed away in 2011, one week before the premiere of Celebration of Sisters, an annual fundraiser to honor my beloved sisters Margie and Jane. Conflicting emotions, breaking heart — and what do I do about the event? Deep down I knew the answer. The event must go on.

Thankfully, the first Celebration was not a skating event, so I did not have to perform on the ice. However, I needed to speak. Somehow, I mustered up the courage to honor Margie and Jane. Raw from the loss and touched by the love and support of the individuals present, I started a fundraiser that would go on for a decade.

The looming death of my father after years of a neurological illness allowed me to grieve for Margie and Jane after thirty years. That itself was an incredible gift.

Father was Glue of Family

How can I say that? For years, I put up walls, unable to share Margie and Jane and do the grief work. His demise and ultimate death allowed me to open and mourn the loss of my sisters. Otherwise, I would not be where I am today.

I knew his death, another monumental loss even at eighty-one, meant the glue and much more to our family was gone. He was the one who kept our family together after the losses, provided me valuable advice. We spoke daily, and there would be a tremendous void in my life and the life of my daughters.

My first grandchild bears his name. After all the girls in his life, I often think of the fun he would have had with the little boys. He tried to teach Margie, Jane, and me to play baseball in the backyard with one bat, one ball, the trees, swing set, and bulkhead as bases. Some traditions of bringing home a treat on Friday nights parlayed to his granddaughters, stopping by our house on Fridays with a prayer challah and cupcake.

Father’s Legacy was Vast

Family and work were my father’s life. Today when I speak about sibling loss, I hope he is proud. I hope I have part of him in me. He was a man who advocated for individuals who struggled with securing life insurance. He also wrote weekly columns for twenty years for The Boston Globe and published two books on insurance. What a gift and a legacy he left to his family.

Each Father’s Day, all he wanted was to be with family, a barbeque at my house. I can only imagine what the day represented to him having lost two daughters. But he lived for his two granddaughters, whom he called his sweethearts. Dad, thank you for all you left for your family, for your love, generosity, warmth, heart, and smile.

Purchase Judy Lipson’s book at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1608082679/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Read more from Judy Lipson on Open to Hope: https://www.opentohope.com/selecting-songs-…honor-loved-ones/

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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