Why is grief still such an uncomfortable word for so many? It is a conversation that makes some people cringe. They do not have the tools to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t understand, please enlighten me.” I hope that by initiating more openness and discussions, the pattern will change. My message to others is practice self-compassion when grieving.
For me, the path took thirty years to mourn my beloved sisters Margie and Jane. When ready to commence, break down the walls, an entire breadth and depth of my life ensued. There will always be a hole in my heart, but today I can remember Margie and Jane with the very deepest love and smile. The journey to complete the manuscript of my new book, Celebration of Sisters, proved to be empowering, challenging, healing and could not have completed without the aid of wonderful people throughout the process.
Siblings are the forgotten mourners and a category of mourners there is so little written.
Siblings take on the role of caretakers of our parents, our children, or other family members. Our grief takes a back seat not allowing us to mourn on our time. Whenever we do, losing a sibling is a bond we forever share. Our siblings who we thought would share our past, present and future are no longer writing the history with us. Who are we without our siblings?
Numerous siblings have had the courage to share their stories and written wonderful books that I read and provided me comfort knowing others shared my path and validated my feelings no one else understood.
The debut of my book is significant and meaningful. It will coincide with the decade of the annual ice skating fundraiser Celebration of Sisters to benefit Massachusetts General Hospital, the fortieth anniversary of the death of my sister Jane, and I will turn sixty-five.
All of these milestones always held a cloud. I needed a shift the direction to ease the immense pain the days annually presented. My birthday always held a cloud. The last time I saw my sister Jane was to celebrate my twenty fifth birthday. Celebration of Sisters is in November to ease the focus around Margie and Jane’s birthdays on November 6 and 8. It was self-compassion while I grieved.
Due to the pandemic, Celebration of Sisters 2020 was postponed. Skating is my passion, my joy, my mediation, and where I feel connected to my sisters. Margie had the true talent and Jane and I skated recreationally. Throughout my life I skated and it remained the chord that pulled me to my sisters and after thirty years came full circle to honor them.
With the COVID-19 restrictions this past year, my time on the ice sporadic and infrequent definitely impacted me emotionally. The ice a strong connection to Margie and Jane. On the ice I feel a lightness, and remember the shy insecure girl who skating provided the confidence to be me, share my sisters in Celebration of Sisters, and remember three sisters giggling and racing to be first on the ice. I realize that every time I am on the ice during the pandemic is a gift and relish every moment.
In 2018, I suffered a concussion on the ice and was advised by doctors to end my skating. The thought of not performing in Celebration of Sisters to honor my sisters daunted me. I proved them wrong, gave a performance (albeit not my strongest) and continued to ice skate. That year, I began diligently working on my memoir. In my mind constantly is the US Figure Skating platform We Get Up applicable on the ice and off.
I hope in sharing my story, another individual will practice self-compassion in their grieving.
Purchase Judy Lipson’s latest book at Amazon.com: Celebration of Sisters: It’s Never Too Late to Grieve (9781608082674): Lipson, Judy: Books.
Read more of Judy Lipson’s articles here.