Much as twins often have a sense when the other is in danger, so do some sisters. The night Jane died, the exact time of her death, both Margie and I woke up at 3:30 AM. We knew. I have no recollection of Jane’s funeral or the Shiva. It is all a fog. I know Margie and I wrote something about our younger sister that the Rabbi read as part of his eulogy.
Jane (to us, Janie, our dear sweet little sister): From our earliest memories on Indian Ridge Road, when you cried having
your picture taken, you were always too cute, lovable, and at times trying, but always out dear sister. We walked you to
school, we fought with you, we protected you from dogs, we ate Raisinettes together on Saturday nights. We grew up
together through thick and thin, but most of all, we loved each other. Words are not enough. We just want to say we will
always love you.”
I returned back to New York within a week after Jane died, in a complete fog not believing my sister was gone. With one phone call, one moment, my life changed, I changed, my family changed, diminished now by one.
The Judy Lipson who left one week prior clearly not the same Judy Lipson who returned. I did not know who I was. We were always three sisters. Now we were two. Am I the youngest now? That can’t be. I am the middle of three girls.
The last time I saw Jane three weeks before she died, I came home for a wedding our entire family attended. We celebrated my 25th birthday. As Jane and I went shopping, the typical fights over who was going to drive down Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. My memory remains fragmented but I can see her sitting next to me in the front seat of the car, that dimple on her cheek. In the future, my birthday would always carry a cloud associated with the loss of my dear sister; it was the final time I saw her.
It is learning of Margie’s death that I have more recollection.
I knew immediately when I opened the door on Wednesday night, August 1, 1990, and saw my parents standing there. No words needed to be spoken. The inevitable had come. Margie had lost her battle. My beloved sister Margie was gone.
That fateful Wednesday evening in August etched in my mind forever. Just a few days before, my father and I talked over coffee and he said to me, “Judy, we are going to lose her this time.”
How may times had she been at death’s door? For 20 years, she fought and championed to overcome her fight with mental illness and her demons. Her body was finally shut down. My gorgeous Margie, my big sister whom I admired, my soul mate, my idol, my true best friend, now deceased.
The ride from the Temple to the cemetery felt like an eternity. We drove at a snail’s pace to get there. Alone with the parents in the car, barely a work was spoken. Back at the house for Shiva, I felt so alone. Someone brought a delicious chocolate chip coffee cake, the only thing that I ate for days.