Honoring our Siblings
How we honor our siblings is personal. It may be a poem, song, fundraiser, inner thoughts, private moments, or a visit to the grave site.
For me, it has been a decade of an ice-skating fundraiser, Celebration of Sisters, that ended on November 7th, the fortieth anniversary of the death of my sister Jane. Ten years of marking the memories of my beloved sisters Margie and Jane, shared with others in a sport we all shared as girls.
As a private person, not only talking about sisters, but the shy middle sister getting out and performing in front of a large audience stepping out of my comfort zone an understatement to say the least. My nerves exponentially over the top but knowing Margie and Jane with me somehow, I made it through.
The grand finale of Celebration of Sisters was truly magical, bittersweet, emotional and the perfect ending to part of my grieving journey. Touched, overwhelmed and grateful from the outpouring of generosity and support from many for the past decade. Dressed up in a blue skating dress adorned with silver sparkles about to step on the ice with ninety-one other skaters, a friend of my sister Jane stopped me and said, “I had to come.”
Never having attended the event before, we hugged as our eyes filled up with tears. Margie’s and my girlhood friends in attendance. Others watched the live streamline recording. Love exuberated throughout the entire ice arena.
Taking the ice for my final performance, skating to an instrumental rendition of Edelweiss, I felt calm and let the music glide me across the slick clear ice. Taking my final bow to the thunderous applause, tears streamed down my face. Every emotion struck me – the love of my cherished sisters Margie and Jane, the love in the vast ice-skating rink by the supporters, and end of a decade of a beautiful event to honor my sisters, and extremely proud of all we have accomplished to benefit Massachusetts General Hospital, and open dialogue about sibling loss.
Exiting the ice, barely able to breathe, crying, I had to sit down, calm down, and then composed myself in order to get up and enjoy the rest of the other beautiful ice skating performances, give my final speech; a word of thanks and gratitude to the crowd, and skate in the finale with all the skaters to Up, Up and Away each of us carrying a balloon in celebration the end of a spectacular event. What a glorious, perfect, and magical ending.
What started ten years ago, with ten skaters, I never dreamed would mushroom into ninety-two skaters, and from a crowd of fifty to over two hundred paying tributes to the lives and memories of my sisters Margie and Jane. I had not talked or shared my sisters for thirty years and suppressed my grief. Now the walls came down and wonderful people came into my life and shared my sisters with me. I am astounded that Jane and Margie are remembered after being gone forty and thirty-one years respectively. My heart is full.
Where do I go from here? I shared my story in my memoir, Celebration of Sisters: It Is Never Too Late To Grieve released December 1, 2021. It is my hope that in sharing my story, another bereaved sibling will know they are not alone. Every journey is unique, but we are bonded with what we share. This year I shed more tears than ever for Margie and Jane. So many milestones and missing them so deeply my heart hurt.
I do not have answers for the next chapter. Closing the chapter on Celebration of Sisters felt right. The timing of the book release the perfect segue for a new focus for now. Margie and Jane, for once, I made it onto the ice first. I will always love you.
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/