April 5, 2023

Judy Lipson - Celebration of Sisters

Judy Lipson is the middle of three sisters. She became a surviving sibling when she lost her younger sister Jane in a car accident. Nine years later, she lost her sister Margie, who had been fighting bulimia and anorexia for over two decades. Judy...

Judy Lipson is the middle of three sisters. She became a surviving sibling when she lost her younger sister Jane in a car accident. Nine years later, she lost her sister Margie, who had been fighting bulimia and anorexia for over two decades. Judy decided to honor her sisters by starting a fundraiser for Mass General Hospital, where she helped raise over $80,000 in a decade. After that, she decided to put it on paper and wrote her book Celebration of Sisters: It Is Never Too Late to Grieve

In this week's episode, Judy and Maya talk about how it was for Judy when she lost Jane and Margie, how she deals with the dreaded question of how many siblings does she have, how she’s moving forward in her grief journey, what inspired to write her book, and how she felt when her grandson was born.

Season 3 is brought to you by SibsForever.org, a virtual platform to commemorate and honor your sibling relationship. Create your free profile and start building beautiful commemorative web pages that can include photo and video galleries featuring you and your sibling.

In this episode I’m covering:

  • Intro [00:00:00]

  • Judy, Jane, and Margie’s story [00:01:23]

  • Losing Jane [00:08:46]

  • Losing Margie [00:16:26]

  • Handling the question “how many siblings do you have?” [00:21:39]

  • Judy’s grief journey [00:28:10]

  • Honoring Margie and Jane [00:34:57]

  • Celebration of sisters [00:40:31]

  • New life, triggering grief [00:48:25]

  • Advice for younger Judy [00:51:36]

For full episode show notes and transcript, click here

Connect with Judy

Facebook | Judy Lipson

Instagram | @celebofsisters

Linkedin | Judy Lipson

Book | Celebration of Sisters: It Is Never Too Late to Grieve


Connect with Maya 

Website | The Surviving Siblings 

Instagram | @survivingsiblingspodcast | @mayaroffler 

TikTok | @survivingsiblingspodcast

Facebook Group | The Surviving Siblings Podcast

YouTube | The Surviving Siblings Podcast 

Patreon | The Surviving Siblings Podcast

Twitter | @survivingsibpod

✨Get The Surviving Siblings Guide HERE


[00:00:00] Maya: Welcome to the Surviving Siblings Podcast. I'm your host, Maya Ruffler. As a surviving sibling myself, I knew that I wanted to share my story, my brother's story. I lost my brother to a homicide in November of 2016, and after going through this experience, I knew that I wanted to share my story and his story.

[00:00:27] Maya: It's time to share your stories now. The Forgotten mourners, the Surviving siblings. The story that is not told enough. Season three of the Surviving Siblings Podcast is brought to you. Bye sips forever.org, a virtual platform for you, the surviving. To commemorate and honor your sibling relationship, visit sips forever.org today to create your free profile and start building beautiful commemorative webpages that can include photo and video galleries featuring you and your sibling.

[00:01:02] Maya: Now let's dive into the episode.

[00:01:08] Maya: I am so excited about our guest today. Her name is Judy Lipson. Judy is an author, a mother, a grandmother, and so many additional things. Judy, welcome to the show.

[00:01:23] Judy: Maya. Thank you for having me. I'm honored to be here. Thank you for sharing your story and opening up your heart to others. And congratulations on season three of the Surviving Siblings Podcast.

[00:01:36] Maya: You are so kind. Thank you so much. Yeah, I'm so excited to be here. For season three, but so excited to share your story, Judy, because we had so many requests after season one and two for multi loss stories, and that's something that I can't connect to or share that I can connect to the loss of a sibling.

[00:01:59] Maya: And you have lost two of your sisters. You lost Jane and then Margie. So I'd love to just dive in Judy and start telling your story of both of your wonderful sisters. So I'm gonna hand it over to you.

[00:02:11] Judy: Thank you. So in 1981, I lost my younger sister Jane at age 22 in an automobile accident. And it was a real shock.

[00:02:24] Judy: I was 25 at the time. I say now I'm the middle of three girls, and that's kind of who I am. And as the middle child, I've kind of lost, you know, I'm the typical middle sister. So Jane was younger and we were very, very different. And then in 1990, I lost my sister Margie at age 35 after a 20 year battle with anorexia and bulimia.

[00:02:49] Judy: And the short story is, is that I kind of pushed the grief down for 30 years, kind of not believing it and kind of taking care of everybody else as surviving siblings often do, and worrying about everybody else that I didn't deal with the grief until 30 years. And then I started a fundraiser in their honor skating fundraiser cuz we all skated.

[00:03:12] Judy: And I think all through those years I kind of felt like something was off. I'm not a twin, but almost like a limb was missing, like something wasn't right. So I took the journey and it's almost like I'm a newly bereaved griever after all those years, starting again after 30 years. And it was probably the best gift that I could give to myself and.

[00:03:35] Judy: For me, being a private person and sharing my story, I'm grateful that I did and then I wrote the book and it's to help other people, but also the wonderful people that have come into my life.

[00:03:45] Maya: Yeah, and we're gonna get into the book a little bit later because I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's incredible and you're so open and raw and honest and so I can definitely appreciate that.

[00:03:56] Maya: Sharing my own story and I was kind of giggling as I was listening to the book. And then also, as you know, we have connected, when you told me that, you know, you're the middle sister, you've been quite introverted and shy, and I'm like, wow, she's putting her whole story out here now. So that must have been a shift for you, a a different experience.

[00:04:15] Judy: Well, you know, well, I'm the typical middle child as I think people can relate to. So Jane was the baby and got all the attention and, and naturally, you know, I tell the story how I would hit her and she wouldn't cry until I came into the room. And then I would get into trouble and Margie was the oldest and you know, the golden girl.

[00:04:32] Judy: And I always wanted to be like her. And I was kind of the middle and kind of the good girl and kind of did my thing. So, you know, when they were gone I was like, who was I? Where was I? What do I do? So I just kind of did my thing. And then after they were gone, I'm kind of jumping ahead of the wheel here, but I think when we lose our siblings, we change in so many ways.

[00:04:53] Judy: So here I was, after they're gone, I'm doing this one. And I'm skating in front of like 150 people. Like the shy introvert is like getting out there and performing. So some ways would I have been able to do that if, you know, this hadn't happened to me. So, you know, you never know. But in some ways that's, you know, that I, I changed to be able to do that and honor their memories in a sport that we all loved.

[00:05:17] Maya: Yeah. I think you brought up a really good point, and then I wanna go back to, to Jane, tell her story and tell Margie, but I, you're bringing up such a really crucial point that I think we don't realize when we're fresh in the grief journey, and as we start to move through our grief journey and process it, which you're mentioning, which is really important because it can be a decade, it can be 20 years, 30 years, but if you haven't processed it, it, you gotta deal with it.

[00:05:44] Maya: And we're gonna talk about that. But I think something really key that you said is, I don't know that I would've done. Maybe tell the story, tell more of yourself. Share more of yourself. You know, be skating years later in your life and performing. And I think it's hard for siblings when they first, or any loss really, when you first lose someone to imagine their life without them.

[00:06:09] Maya: Then as you kind of start to move through it, there's a sadness about it. And then when you do something with the grief, when you, like, I've done this podcast, you've done a whole lot, you've written the book, and you also do this amazing fundraiser that it, you start to look back and go, I don't know if I would've done this, if this didn't happen.

[00:06:29] Maya: And not that you would ever wish this on anyone or say, this should happen so that you can be inspired to do these things. But I think it's a really good message for all of the surviving siblings that are listening that are really early in their grief journey, or may have not processed yet because.

[00:06:45] Maya: There is a silver lining to it, even if it doesn't feel like it. That's a big message that you just put out there, Judy.

[00:06:51] Judy: I say in my book that there's no recipe for grief and it's never too late to grieve. And it's, everybody's journey is unique and whatever feels right, and I guess I didn't feel for so long, and I think now being open as honest and raw as you were with season one in telling your brother's story, the whole story, it was so brave.

[00:07:14] Judy: And I think it's hard, but I think it's so many wonderful people come into your life, and I think it's important that we share our stories because not a lot of siblings do. And then you realize that you're not alone. And I think that's another piece that I was so alone, I had no one to talk to about it.

[00:07:34] Judy: And I think once you know that you're not alone and you share the story, it feels. Like a warm blanket coming home feels, and you've got people around you. And I think that's the piece that I never had. And now that I've opened up and shared my story, I'm just meeting incredible people and other people.

[00:07:56] Judy: And now I also, I can hear it and understand, I'm like, oh my God, that's exactly what I feel. I'm not crazy. Yes, yes, yes. And this, I'm 40 years out and 41 years and 32 years out. And it doesn't matter whether you're a day out, a month out, it doesn't matter.

[00:08:13] Maya: So beautifully said. So beautifully said. I agree completely. It's the connection that you have with others surrounding siblings is just so deep like meeting you, it was amazing. And everybody that listens to this podcast, I hope that's what they feel when they hear this. So I wanna go back to your first sister that you. Jane the baby. So tell us a little bit about, I know you divulge a lot in the book, but I want the audience to hear just the, you know, the basic details behind the loss of Jane to the car accident. This was, this was a tragic loss.

[00:08:46] Judy: So Jane was 22 and kind of was kind of at a crossroads. She didn't do so well in college and was living at home, was going to community college, kind of was just turned 22 the day before and kind of like didn't know like what she was gonna do with her life, kind of floundering.

[00:09:05] Judy: I was 25 living in New York and Bloomingdale's training program and Margie had been sick for many, many years and her life had been at bay, you know, at times. So I didn't know, you know, Jane was, came as a total shock. So I was living in New York and my aunt, my parents called my aunt to come over with some bogus excuse and the phone rings and.

[00:09:31] Judy: My initial reaction that it was Margie and I get this call, it's Jane total shock. I mean, my mother had just moved me into my New York apartment. She had gone home to take Jane to see Dreamgirls for her birthday, and here it is. I get this call and I didn't know what I thought and Margie was coming to see me.

[00:09:51] Judy: So I had to be the one to tell Margie about Jane, which I don't even remember what I, I think I just said Jane died and it was just a complete and total utter shock. And I, I don't remember, I don't remember her funeral. I remember flying home with Margie. I do remember one of the, somebody said to me in the Jewish religion, you sit shiver for a week and people come over and they bring all this food, which I think is such a ridiculous thing.

[00:10:22] Judy: And she said to me, don't worry, there's gonna be a time and don't feel bad. You're gonna forget your sister. And that haunted me. Haunted me for 30 years. So after like five days, my father sent me back to New York and I was in retail in the height of the Christmas season. And I don't even remember that whole time period.

[00:10:44] Judy: I don't even remember the first couple of months. And I just, you know, was in work and was worrying about it. And Margie started to go on a decline and I just kind of powered through. And I was living in New York, my mother was, you know, had a terrible time and Margie started to decline and I came back, you know, as much as I could to Boston.

[00:11:08] Judy: And you know, I just kept going on this fast treadmill and never like look back.

[00:11:14] Maya: Yeah. I called the fog, you know, when you're like going back in. And I remember for myself, as I've shared with all of you, you know, it was that that first year it was such a fog, you sharing. The comment of, you'll eventually, you'll forget your sister.

[00:11:29] Maya: Like that was a fear for me too. That's very real. And I'm sure a lot of people listening to this can understand that as well. I was living in so many different emotions for the first five years until I created the podcast. Like, oh, I'm gonna forget this detail. I'm gonna forget that, or I'm gonna forget, like the, the little things and the big things.

[00:11:46] Maya: And I thought I was gonna forget things. And that's why it was so important for me to tell my story, his story, and I felt kind of like rushed to do it. So I really understand that. And the things people say to you, oh my gosh, we could do a whole episode on that. Because it's, people don't understand grief and they don't understand how to connect people during grief. That's a, that's a big issue.

[00:12:08] Judy: What I do remember is, I think when I came back to New York is s scarring around and putting together, they had, I don't, I'm dating myself, don't forget, this is 1981. They had those loose sight frames. That like they were 11 by 14 and they had different cutouts of different shapes, like a square, a triangle, a rectangle, and cutting out pictures and making this collage of pictures like frantic, like looking for pictures.

[00:12:36] Judy: Because after that woman said that, I was like, frantic. Like, I'm gonna forget her. You know? And I never wanted to forget her.

[00:12:44] Maya: Yeah. I think that's a, a great message just about grief in general. And you know, these things stick with us. They stick with us, you know, it's not just the parents that are impacted, the siblings are impacted too.

[00:12:56] Maya: And hearing things like that, Judy, it haunted you. I get that because there's things people said to me as well, and I'm sure people listening will be nodding or agreeing or thinking about that one thing that was said to them, or multiple things that kind of haunts them. And so I understand that completely.

[00:13:15] Maya: So, Jane Pa, I mean, you're so young too, when Jane passes. Did you ever find out what exactly happened in her car accident?

[00:13:25] Judy: I did. My parents never talked about it. And allegedly the car was malfunctioned. I figured it was something else. And after Margie died, I needed to find out. So I did go to the police and get the report and it was speed and, you know, it wasn't just the Carmel functioning, and, but it does, it doesn't matter.

[00:13:50] Judy: It doesn't change anything. But I felt I needed to know. And I think that, listen, Jane was Jane, she was a bit on the wild side. She was young. I mean, she and I were very different, you know, but we loved each other. And when I moved, I found all these cards for her and you know, I keep reading them over and over and, and there was love there.

[00:14:14] Judy: And decades later when I did go through the grief and I saw some of her friends, And they told me these stories about her because I had blocked, you know, I didn't remember how they would go through my room and go through my things and rearrange them, you know? Cause I never, she never thought I was cool enough.

[00:14:32] Judy: Like I was banished for her Sweet 16. Yeah. When I came home from college, you know? But that's sisters, you know, you fight like cats and dogs one minute and then you're lovey dey. You forgot it two minutes later. But that's what sisters do. But there's always that immense love. You know? She was, listen, Jane was Jane, you know, but she was, she was fine.

[00:14:52] Judy: And she was, you know, she thought she was so cool and you know, I was kind of the, you know, I was the kind of nerdy one or whatever. So she never thought I was cool enough. But she had a great smile. A great, she was a lot of fun. You know? That's who she was.

[00:15:06] Maya: You guys kind of fit the archetypes like perfectly of like eldest, middle and youngest.

[00:15:12] Maya: And the youngest is always kind of carefree. Like you guys have paved the way for the youngest. They can kind of just be fun and energetic party a little, you know, all of that. And that's what Jane like I, I could really envision her when I was listening to your, to your book and also as you have described her in our conversations.

[00:15:29] Maya: And now I have younger sister, she's 10 years younger than me. I have two sisters. But it's interesting because Jane reminds me of her a little bit and I'm like, oh my gosh, this is so interesting. As sisters I connect, and I think we've said this before too, but there's not a lot of stories out there about the loss of a sister.

[00:15:47] Maya: So the fact that you're sharing both of these stories I think is just so incredible. But it's interesting how you, each one of you kind of fits that archetype that people think of. So yeah, you're absolutely right too with Jane. An accident is an accident, doesn't really matter, but. I can connect and I think a lot of people listening can connect as well to wanting to know.

[00:16:08] Maya: Some people don't wanna know, some people wanna know. It's, it's a personal choice I feel like, when you're going through things. But it's interesting that that happened for you when Margie passed. So can you kind of walk us through Margie's path and journey? I know she struggled for many, many years.

[00:16:26] Judy: Yeah. So Margie got sick when I was 14 and coincidentally that's the year we all moved and we each had got our own room. And I kind of liked it that I shared a room with Jane because there's nothing like sharing a room. You're in that closeness that you can't, once our room was separated and Margie had a medical illness, so she didn't wanna go away overnight camp.

[00:16:48] Judy: So I went by myself. And then I remember the year Janie came, I was so excited because I got to ride the sister bus and you know, she came to me and cried at camp. You know, I love that, you know, having a little sister. And Margie was, um, my idol. She was, you know, popular. She was a cheerleader and you know, she was like, I idolized her.

[00:17:09] Judy: I mean, she would call me Lipson and, and like whatever she said, she jumped. And I said, how high, you know, we'd always rearrange her room and I just, you know, idolized her. And she could read me even when she was at her sickest lowest point she could read me. She knew me like nobody else. But it was very hard having a sister with a mental illness, as I'm sure many people can relate.

[00:17:33] Judy: And you never know the highs, you never know the lows. And it was very, very challenging. You know, so she got sick when I was 14 years old. So, and then, you know, this was, you know, in the seventies, you know, people then didn't really talk about it and it was very, very hard to go through it. And I always knew at some point, I mean that she lived, as long as she lived was kind of a miracle, but I always knew at some point we were gonna lose her.

[00:18:01] Judy: But it's still losing her was very, very hard. And I'll never forget the day.

[00:18:07] Maya: And she was, she was 35 when she,

[00:18:10] Judy: she was 35.

[00:18:12] Maya: Wow. Yeah. Now, I, I just wanna take it back for a second, Judy. So, I mean, so she struggled for, I mean, basically two decades,

[00:18:22] Judy: 20 years. Yeah.

[00:18:23] Maya: Yeah. And you know, there, I'm, I'm sure there's lots of people that can relate to this too.

[00:18:28] Maya: She struggled with anorexia, that was her, her main struggle. Or were there additional things that she struggled with?

[00:18:35] Judy: Anorexia, bulimia.

[00:18:37] Maya: Yeah. That is really difficult and that's a difficult thing to watch, and I can't imagine going through that for, for 20 years. So, do you think that, it seems like Jane's passing probably impacted her and probably impacted her.

[00:18:54] Maya: Mental illness and her anorexia and bulimia, I would imagine. Do you th do you think that, or what was your take on that?

[00:19:01] Judy: I think it had gone on for a lot of years, but I think it also, well, a, we never talked about Jane's death, but I'm sure that A, losing her sister, and B I'm sure she sensed that, you know, everybody thought it was her and not Jane, you know, when everybody got the phone call.

[00:19:20] Judy: So I'm sure that layered into it. So she definitely went on a downward spiral, but, you know, she died nine years later. So, I mean, she definitely went on a downward after that. She didn't have any like upwards, you know, for times she would have some leveling off periods and she never had one after that.

[00:19:39] Maya: Yeah. So it's definitely safe to say, you know, it impacted her. Absolutely. And I can, oh, absolutely. Yeah. I, I didn't even think about that when I first asked that question too. But yet people assuming that it was her, that's. That's gotta be a deep, deep hit to you when you're thinking about that. Like, wow.

[00:19:56] Maya: So I know, I know it's difficult to talk about it, but when, this was in 1990, when she, when she passed, what happened where it was the illness finally, unfortunately took Margie. What was the kind of the pinnacle of that?

[00:20:10] Judy: Yeah. Her body just shut down.

[00:20:12] Maya: Was she living by herself? Was she living at home?

[00:20:15] Judy: Yeah, she was in the hospital and she just, you know, shut down.

[00:20:19] Maya: Wow. And so what was that like for you? Because initially, nine years before you thought it was her, but it was Jane and now you did get that call, you did receive that information. So how was that for you?

[00:20:32] Judy: I felt so alone. I remember like perfunctory making the few phone calls I had to make and just, I wasn't a mother when Jane died.

[00:20:41] Judy: I was a mother of, I was a single mother of two small children when Margie died. And I just felt so alone. And at the Shiva house, I went upstairs and nobody came. Like, nobody even noticed that I was gone. And the rabbi like just mentioned my name, like didn't even acknowledge, like he focused only on her illness, like not even her as a person and or me losing a sibling or that we had lost Jane.

[00:21:16] Judy: It was just so awful and cold and I just couldn't wait. My girls were with a babysitter till they came over to kind of break that up, but not one person even noticed that I wasn't there. And I just remember feeling so alone at that point.

[00:21:36] Maya: Of course she felt alone. Wow. Like, wow. Yeah.

[00:21:39] Judy: Yeah. And then it was. Like, who am I now? You know, I mean, my sisters were my anchors and my, the favorite picture that I have is on a slide that I use for the celebration, and I'm squashed in between them, the middle one, and they're both in flip flops. I'm in sneakers, they're in sleeveless, I'm in short sleeve. I'm the different, but that picture solidifies who I was on the middle of three and I used to say, you know, who am I?

[00:22:08] Judy: But that's, that's who I am. I'm the middle of three. I'm squashed between them. And now what? You know.

[00:22:13] Maya: I love that. Thank you for sharing about that picture. And yeah, I know it's really hard to, to share both of these stories, but I think that's really interesting how you kind of are sharing about each passing with Margie and also with with Jane.

[00:22:28] Maya: Because what happens for us as siblings, as you know, and this is what you're describing, well first, you know, you're, you changed in the family dynamic because. You lost your younger sister, so now it's you and Margie. So you're, you're the younger sister, but you're not. Right. Jane lived. Jane is your sister, and then you lose Margie.

[00:22:49] Maya: And now you're an only child. No, you're not. You had an older sister. You have an older sister is what I'd like to say. And I can completely understand why you would feel so alone in those moments. That's very dark, dark time and a dark celebration didn't really sound like one to me, but it really shifts who you are physically, right?

[00:23:14] Maya: Because they're not physically here anymore. And now you have two daughters as well, so I'm sure it really hit you, Judy.

[00:23:22] Judy: Well, one of my daughters is named for Jane, so that's really nice. And it was kind of like I went through this. I would meet people and they'd say, of course, that question, how many siblings do you have?

[00:23:36] Judy: And I would choke. Like I'd hold my breath. What do I say? Like, how do you answer that question? And I just, I just say, it's me. So people didn't even know that I had two sisters and I just couldn't go through it. And now I just say I'm the middle of three. And sadly, I lost both my sisters period, because I'm always gonna be the middle of three.

[00:24:00] Judy: They're still a part of me. They always are gonna be a part of me. That's never gonna change physically. They're not here, but they are. They are. They're always gonna be part of me. But I think it's such a horrible, difficult question for us to answer.

[00:24:14] Maya: I love that you're bringing this up. I hear this all the time in groups.

[00:24:17] Maya: I'm sure you do as well. How do you handle this question? And I connect with you so much on this, and I'm sure a lot of other people are gonna connect on this as well, but ugh, that question, it really evolved for me too, Judy, because it really wasn't until. Yeah, probably about two years ago or so. I mean I shared it on the podcast that I finally would started to say, but I would dread it when people would get to know me or you know, I was on a, a meeting or whatever because I run businesses and people would say, oh well tell me about your family.

[00:24:46] Maya: I'm like, I would become like stone. Like I'm so fair anyway. But I'm sure I became completely like a ghost whenever this question was asked. Right. And there were times when I would do something very similar to you. I would say something like, I'm the oldest of four and like pray. They wouldn't ask. And like I was kind of testing the waters of different things.

[00:25:04] Maya: And then there were some times where I would just be like, oh yeah, I have two sisters. And like that would feel icky to me cause that's not true. And I was really proud of myself when I got to a place, this was not that long ago, to be able to say, oh yeah, I'm the oldest of four. And they would ask, oh, do you have sisters, brothers?

[00:25:22] Maya: And I would say, I have two sisters and I have a brother who has passed. And then I had to brace myself cuz reactions were always different, but. You kind of have to find your own language that works for you, don't you think?

[00:25:35] Judy: Absolutely. And then like when you go on a date and you're meeting a guy for the first time, like, what do you do?

[00:25:40] Judy: Do you say something? Is this a test? Like how do you do it? And how the reaction is. And you know, some people just don't know how to respond. Yeah. To grief or sadness and, you know, it's, you can't fault them. And, but I think in this situation, it's all what you're comfortable saying. And like you said, it evolves and it's, it's what you're comfortable with or whatever.

[00:26:03] Judy: And it took me decades to get to be comfortable to say this, because the question would come and I could fail myself. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, what am I gonna do? Hold my breath. I can't answer this. What am I gonna say? And now, you know, 40 years later, I'm finally comfortable saying something. So, you know, everybody has to find their place and comfort.

[00:26:23] Judy: And it might be different what you say to one person versus another person.

[00:26:27] Maya: Great point. I'm glad you brought that up because that's so true. And when you were talking about Yeah, what you said in one person, like you kinda have to find your boundaries with it, right? Like if you feel you're in a safe place and you wanna share, like go for it.

[00:26:38] Maya: You ki you just evolves like we were saying. But I love that you shared about the date because that's so true. I lost my brother in 2016. I didn't meet my husband till 2018 and I'll never forget, you know, going on dates in between and then meeting him. And I remember telling him and like the deep empathy that he showed me, I don't know, it can be a positive thing, but.

[00:27:03] Maya: You know, every situation is different, but I was at a place where I was ready to start to share, not with the world , but was somewhat important. So I understand that. But I think what's really important to share about your story, Judy, is not just, you know, about, you know, Jane's accident and losing Jane and then losing Margie after two decades of, you know, a battle with something that so many people struggle with and silently it's horrible.

[00:27:32] Maya: But your story is so interesting. So after Margie passed and you know, you had this very cold experience and you are a single mom and you've got the girls, your grief journey was kind of stunted from, from what we talked about and what I've read in the book and listened to in the book. So if you wouldn't mind, walk us through a little bit.

[00:27:54] Maya: Cause I think it's really inspirational that you moved through life and went on this grief journey and then really, Kind of put your heels in and, and dealt with your grief and processed it. So if you wouldn't mind sharing that with us, I think it's an important story to tell.

[00:28:10] Judy: Yeah. So Margie died in 1990 and I was, you know, a single mother working full-time, and especially after Margie died, the girls and I became my parents' focus and it was a lot of pressure and I felt like I had to bring Santine to their lives.

[00:28:29] Judy: And I was on this treadmill that I just kept going, going, going. And I never, the grief, my grief kept getting pushed further and further, further down. Of course, you know, I'd get these tsunamis, you know, I'd be driving and all of a sudden I would burst into tears. And in the Jewish religion, we have the American anniversary, we have the Jewish anniversary.

[00:28:55] Judy: And then we have an Yo Kippur, the Yk service. So we have all these, you know, anniversaries that would come up. And the anxiety building up to those dates would be horrific, especially the Yra service where my mother doesn't go to temple. I'd have to go with my father. As soon as they'd start the service, I would become sobbing that I couldn't see to walk out of the temple.

[00:29:20] Judy: Thank God our seats were near the exit. I mean like sobbing, sobbing, sobbing, like could barely walk out. So that was like my grief, so my quote, grief, so to speak. And then my father got very sick with an illness that sort of mimic als. And then my best friend was dying of lung cancer. And so these were my peeps that I spoke to every single day.

[00:29:48] Judy: And my father especially, You know, I'd gone to therapy on and off and you know, they kept saying, you know, you've gotta deal with this grief. And I knew my father's loss was gonna be huge, huge, another huge void of my life. So I decided that I better start dealing with my own, the grief of my sisters. So in 2011, which was 30 years, I decided, and in tandem with that, I decided that I wanted to do something to honor my sisters, which I started the fundraiser, which I'll talk about a little later.

[00:30:25] Judy: And it was probably the hardest thing I had to do in my life, but probably the best gift that I started. So I had seen a therapist right after Jane died, and she sat there and scribbled on the paper and didn't look up at me once, and I didn't go back. And then my parents dragged me to compassionate friends.

[00:30:48] Judy: Which is a wonderful organization and everybody in the room told their stories and I wasn't ready to receive it. And I never went back. I wish I had because you know, in truth I really needed it. Mm-hmm. . And then in 2005 I went back and there were more adults and I was more receptive and I was ready to hear it.

[00:31:10] Judy: And now I'm part of the book group, which I love. I read and I'm, you know, I'm an interview, so groups really aren't for me. I think everybody has to find their own way. So in that group, I met somebody who said he went to a complicated grief study and I went to one and it was a very grueling five months.

[00:31:28] Judy: And I went through that and it was digging deep, reliving the deaths, reliving the whole thing, and also trying a time for restoration. What makes you feel good, and doing a parallel of those. My daughter said to me during that time, she felt that grief defined me. And that really was an eye opener because here I felt like I was being the cheerleader and caretaker for everybody else.

[00:31:56] Judy: And that was a real soccer gun punch to me cuz that really, really, really hurt me to the core. But of course, my parents never talked about my sisters, so I took the lead from them and I never shared any of that with my daughters either. So it took a long time. And I also realized that taking care of me isn't selfish.

[00:32:20] Judy: I changed a lot and I don't think my family was happy with me because I started to take care of me instead of taking care of everybody else. And I started, memories started to come back. I looked at pictures. I could start to talk about my sisters and share them and do the fundraiser. But it was really hard, hard work, but also opening it up and sharing my story, and that's when people told me I should start to write and write my book.

[00:32:52] Judy: So here I am. .

[00:32:54] Maya: I was smiling the whole time you were telling that detail, which is in your book as well, about grief defining you and how your daughter told you that. I actually have that written down on my notes because I think, oh, that was such a standout for me in your story and is a standout for me in your story, Judy, because I've had people tell me that don't really understand what I've gone through.

[00:33:18] Maya: They told me that grief was defining me. They're like, I don't want your brother's death to define you. I don't want your brother's, you know, murder to define you, whatever. Right? There's been multiple people that have told me this and I ignored it because I felt like they weren't really understanding what I was going through and they were not.

[00:33:38] Maya: But at the same point, there was truth in it. There absolutely was truth in it. Because I really get emotional on this podcast. I'm emotional right now. Thanks Judy . But, but this was true for me. And in listening to your book, I re, that was like the, the thing that really stuck. And there's so many things that stuck out, but that was like, I felt like you were talking directly to me.

[00:34:02] Maya: I'm like, oh, Judy's caught me. grief defined me too, or your daughters caught me. And that's part of the progression and why I wanted to put my grief to work is kind of what I changed my mindset to do. And you did the same thing. So let's kind of start to move into that. I really wanna talk about this fundraiser because little did, I know that we had even more in common , but I wanna talk about this, what you've done for sisters.

[00:34:32] Maya: It's so beautiful and you did this in honor of Margie and Jane, but tell us a little bit about this. This started in, what was it, 2011 or 2012?

[00:34:40] Judy: 2011, okay. Yep. I would just like to say one thing. I think grief doesn't define us. I think grief is part of us.

[00:34:47] Maya: Thank you Judy. We needed to hear that.

[00:34:49] Judy: I think that's, I think that's the difference. I think it's always gonna be part of us and I think that's the difference.

[00:34:56] Maya: Beautifully said. Okay. Love that.

[00:34:57] Judy: So, so in 2011 we've always been involved with philanthropy. So I wanted to do something to one of my sisters. So as girls, we always skated. Margie was a sensational skater. I was not so great. and Jane.

[00:35:13] Judy: Jane and I putted along. So we took, you know, group lessons as girls. So I didn't wanna have like, you know, there's so many golf tournaments or races and I didn't wanna have like a boring, you know, rubber chicken dinner of one of those fundraisers. So my sisters were fun and you know, I was gonna put have like at something with dance, but then I thought, hmm, cuz I had gone back to skating the year before and I thought let's do a skating fundraiser.

[00:35:37] Judy: Okay. So I started this fundraiser and one of my friends came up with the idea of celebration of sisters. So it's benefits, mass General Hospital, where we've all received wonderful care. And actually Margie had like a bladder operation there when she was like eight. And you know, she'd been to the ho, one of the doctors there had taken care of her when she first got sick with the anorexia.

[00:36:00] Judy: So it just like made sense to go there. So we started with 10 skaters and 50 people in the audience. I was a recreational skater, never performed in my life. And I go out there and I perform. So the first two years I did it with a partner and then at 58 I did the solo and it grew to 10 years. It was. 92 skaters and over close to 200 people in the audience.

[00:36:29] Judy: And we've raised close to $80,000 for Mass General Hospital.

[00:36:34] Maya: Congratulations. That's awesome.

[00:36:36] Judy: Thank you. So it's just the amount of people that come and support it. Margie's friends come, a few of Jane's friends come, and I have it in November because Jane's birthday is November 6th. She died on the seventh.

[00:36:50] Judy: And Margie's birthday is November 8th and my birthday is in October. And that's the last time I saw Jane was to celebrate my birthday. So, and you have the Jewish holiday, so it's like a yucky time of the year for me. So I always have it the first weekend in November. So it gives me a way to focus on something else other than the anniversaries.

[00:37:11] Judy: So the 10th year, because of Covid, was last year, which was 2021. And then that was gonna be the grand finale. And so this year I felt funny. I said, well, let's try it one more year. And we didn't have the show. We just had like an open skate and I think it's gonna be the end. We're gonna do something else.

[00:37:29] Judy: I don't know yet. Stay tuned. But it was a beautiful ride and it was a beautiful way to honor my sisters. And I'm just so grateful to everybody who supported it to the skaters, to the donors, to everybody who was involved with it. It was just such a beautiful way to honor such beautiful girls.

[00:37:50] Maya: Yeah. I just thank you again for, for sharing this and I think it's a beautiful way to honor and I think it's a huge success.

[00:37:57] Maya: It was a decade long, raised $80,000. That's huge. And tell us the final count, how many skaters you had and how many people were in the audience at the end. I love hearing this.

[00:38:09] Judy: We had 92, I think we had close to 200 people.

[00:38:12] Maya: And how many skaters?

[00:38:14] Judy: 92.

[00:38:14] Maya: That's. Awesome. Were you guys all on the rink at one time? I think I remember listening to something in the book about all of you kind of coming onto the rink at a certain time.

[00:38:26] Judy: Yeah, so we had a synchronized skating team, so the opening was always too over the rainbow and then the finale is to up, up, and away and everybody skates out with a balloon. So yet the opening in the finale, everybody skates out together.

[00:38:43] Maya: That's so incredible. Like I just thought it was really important that we tell kind of your beginning and then the evolution and how it grew. And that may be very emotional, like listening to that on your, on your book and your story.

[00:38:56] Judy: And when I choose a song, I try to, like a couple of years it fell on Margie's birthday or Jane's birthday.

[00:39:03] Judy: So when I moved, I sold my house and I moved to Boston. I found a cards and letters of Margie and Jane, but I also found 30 threes that were intact. Which we used to have like stickers with our names on them, like neon stickers. And I didn't realize, like both my sisters were Carol King fans, so like I skated to Beautiful to honor them.

[00:39:25] Judy: And I know Margie liked downtown, so I skated to downtown when it was on her birthday. So I tried to be like, think of songs that meant music to, you know, provided I could skate to it, to skate to them to honor them as well.

[00:39:40] Maya: I love that. I love that. The introverted sister ended up creating this successful fundraiser with, and it grew.

[00:39:48] Maya: That's amazing. And yes, we will stay tuned to see what you come up with next, because celebrating sisters is important. There's a lot of you listening that have lost a sister, so we hear a lot, there's a lot of stories that have been shared about the loss of a brother, like we were talking about earlier, Judy, but these stories of losing our sister are very important and I love what you're doing for the community.

[00:40:09] Maya: So, Tell me a little bit about, let's go into sharing your story because you really opened up and beared it all in your book. So tell us a little bit about that journey and about your book, because your book came out quite recently compared to, you know, the losses of your sister. So tell us a little bit about that journey.

[00:40:31] Judy: In 1999, we started to find a Mass general, and the doctor said to me, you know, you should really write about these girls. We really know who they are. And I'm like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Put it in the back burner. So after my father died, I went to a support group for people who had lost their fathers. And the social worker said to me, you need to write your story, you need to tell your story.

[00:40:52] Judy: And I'm like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Right. And so she had me write an article for Grief Magazine that was published, and then I wrote some articles for the Open to Hope Foundation. And you know, writing is kind of, You know, for introverts, you kind of think things and process 'em down. So it's, it's kind of a nice venue to kind of get your thoughts out there.

[00:41:11] Judy: And for somebody who hadn't shared their feelings, you know, it was kind of a nice way to kind of get your thoughts out there. And then, you know, people had just said to me, you know, you need to tell your story. You need to tell your story. And I'm just being such a private person, I just, you know, I said, no, no, no, I can't do this.

[00:41:28] Judy: But I felt it was important because I just wanted to help somebody else that they didn't, I didn't want anybody else to feel alone like I did. So I felt it was important and going through my own therapy, and now that I was starting to share my sisters and with celebration that it was time to do a book.

[00:41:47] Judy: So in 2018, I left my job. I said, all right, I'm gonna do this. I'm gonna write the book. The day I left the job, that's when I fell and got a concussion. My on the ice, but, but through listening to podcasts is how I found my writing coach. So, you know, things happen, you know? Yes. So, no, everybody says always in the book, catharsis is in a closure.

[00:42:08] Judy: And I hate that word closure. It makes me insane. Me too, me too. I hate it. I get, I get Shakespeare, . It wasn't, it was something that I felt I needed to do for others. And writing the parts about the girls' deaths was very, very hard. You know, I had never written before. I had never written a memoir. I went through probably 20 drafts.

[00:42:31] Judy: I had a village to help me. A lot of editors, a lot of developmental editors. I went with a hybrid publisher. I'm just so grateful to them, you know? Right. Life publishing that published it for me and the team of editors that helped me. And all along the way, it took a village, but I felt that it needed to be out there.

[00:42:51] Judy: And because there's not a lot out there as we know about sibling loss. And I think the more people share their stories, then, you know, we can help somebody else, then I'll be very grateful. And that's why I wrote it.

[00:43:04] Maya: Yeah, I agree. There's not, there's more coming out, thank goodness. More books, more podcasts, more information, right.

[00:43:11] Maya: More groups, which is great. And you know, that's wonderful. But we can always use more stories. And the thing about your story, Judy, is it's a multi loss story and it's a sister story, and there's not a lot out there for those niche loss areas in addition to sibling loss. So if you're a sibling that's gone through a loss, but you've lost multiple siblings and then you've also, you lost your father.

[00:43:38] Maya: So there's a lot of different angles and aspects to what you've done. And it's an absolutely beautifully written book. So I, I understand it takes a village, I get it , it takes a village with the podcast too. But writing is a whole different ballgame and I. I understand and I just commend you for that. But I wanna go back to something you said at the beginning about people saying, was it cathartic?

[00:44:02] Maya: Did it give you some closure? I cannot tell you, Judy, like we connect so much because I cannot tell you how many times people ask me that my myself, like they've asked me after season two a little bit, but more after season one, right? Like you telling your story through the book, me telling the story through this podcast, those are like the number, like one and two things that I hear.

[00:44:26] Maya: Was it cathartic for you? Was it cathartic? If I had a dollar for every time , like all of us surviving something, so I'd be getting on a jet and going somewhere because everybody asked me that. And I think I've shared this before, but I just wanna shared in our conversation, because I think you'll connect with this, there's not one word to describe what this journey has been like for me.

[00:44:46] Maya: Sure. There were a few moments of it being cathartic because I felt like, oh, I'm not gonna forget my brother cuz I settled these things and it's documented now. But I'm working through it and you know, realizing where I was, but I felt sad, happy, mad. Like it was so many different emotions going on, reliving it, and I'm sure you connect with that.

[00:45:06] Maya: But I finally had to come up with like, what am I gonna tell people? And I looked at one of my really good girlfriends, one that really kind of gets it, gets what I'm going through. And I looked at her, and by the way, she works corporate retail too. We have that in common, which we'll come back to. But I looked to her, I said, this is what it feels like.

[00:45:25] Maya: It feels like I've been carrying around all my belongings, like all the luggage I could possibly, like everything I could pack. And then I finally was able to set it down and she looked at me and she just got it. And I was like, okay, if she gets it, maybe other people will get it. That's what it felt like to me.

[00:45:45] Maya: That like analogy or comparison works for me because in carrying all of that for a long time, you get tired, you get sad, you feel pain, you feel, and being able to just set it down, I wouldn't call that cathartic, but I would kind of call it like, it's out there now. It's a release. It's not closure. Like your baggage is still with you, it's still sitting there, but you don't have to carry it that same way anymore. That's how I felt. Does that resonate with you at all, Judy? Because.

[00:46:12] Judy: No, I think that's a very, very good analogy and people don't understand that, you know?

[00:46:17] Maya: But I love, I love that you hate the word closure too, because there, as I say all the time, there's no such thing as closure.

[00:46:25] Maya: There's the answers that we need to enable us to move forward.

[00:46:29] Judy: And you can't, and you never know how it's gonna affect you every day, and you just have to go with it and feel it. And I think that I didn't allow, allow myself to feel those feelings. And today, like if it happens, like I go with it. So I just had a new grandson and I had another grandson.

[00:46:47] Judy: And when my first grandson was born for some reason, another, I got back on the ice and I started to get that shaky. Like with me, I know like the, it's gonna come, like my body starts to shake. I'm like, oh no, this, this is it. I'm coming. This is, this is my grief. My body starts to shake. And I started to cry and I thought, you know, what is wrong?

[00:47:07] Judy: Cuz this is like what I had when Jane died. Like, what is wrong with me? And it's like, because I went from like such sadness to such joy, but like with this grief, there's love and like, it's okay to feel both, you know, the, the sadness and the joy, but there's the love and that's what binds us. But I, I couldn't imagine, like I, I had to get off the ice and I couldn't figure it out.

[00:47:30] Judy: But when I got home I thought, yeah, that's why, because I felt such love for this new grandchild and now I just had another one. And it's like, wow. But it's giving yourself like, that's okay. You know?

[00:47:42] Maya: I really love that you shared that because our body does do physical things and paying attention to. Is really important.

[00:47:50] Maya: Isn't that interesting how that happened for you? Wow. And I think that's an important message to share here on the podcast. And, and I know you share a lot of that in the book too. I remember. And it's interesting how our bodies will react to that, but it, it is, it's still love. It's still love that you have for your sisters now.

[00:48:09] Maya: It's love that you have for your grandsons. Congratulations. That's so beautiful. And I feel that new life can sometimes trigger grief in some ways too, because it does make us think about that. Did you have that experience, Judy? I hear that from people sometimes.

[00:48:25] Judy: When my grandsons were born. Mm-hmm. ? Yes.

[00:48:27] Judy: Because it's kind of like, I wish my sisters were here and my kids, you know, they're gonna have cousins that, you know, I didn't have and all that. You feel it. You feel the loss. I mean, you feel the joy and you feel the loss, and you know the what ifs and you wanting them here with it and yeah, it's a milestone that they're not celebrating with you.

[00:48:51] Maya: Yeah. And I just think it's so important and I wanna thank you for bringing that up and being so honest about that because it's this wonderful, beautiful thing that's happening in your life, but it can be a trigger for a lot of people. I've heard that in groups. I've, you know, heard that from people that have just talked to me about their grief and it's a happy thing that's happening in your life.

[00:49:10] Maya: But of course, it's something we carry for life. We're seeing parts of us, but you know, it's helped me to to realize, you know, my brother's still with me and honoring him, and you are definitely honoring your sisters with your incredible book and fundraiser. I'm just looking forward to seeing what you do next cuz I just love everything and I wanna say this, we grew up skating as well and so in the book, I don't wanna give too much about the book away cause I want everyone to read it, but when you're talking about getting your ride l skates, I like straight.

[00:49:42] Maya: Like I was like this is so awesome. And anyone who skates will connect with this too because I still have skates my closet. I still have relle skates and I haven't been on the ice in a long time cuz I got in an accident unfortunately. But I instantly connected and I like went back to that time when like me and my sister and my brothers before my other sister was born, you know, all would go and put our skates on and take the gardeners off the skates.

[00:50:09] Maya: Like I so connected with everything you were saying and there's a lot of this in the books. I don't wanna give it away, but I had to tell you that I just loved that part and I love how you carried that into the fundraiser. That's incredible.

[00:50:21] Judy: Well, I hope someday you'll be able to skate again.

[00:50:25] Maya: Yeah. You know, I, I think so.

[00:50:27] Maya: You know, it's been a journey right? In my own rehab after my accident, but I'm here, I'm alive and that's what matters. And I'm doing workouts again, so that's positive. So yes, one day I will get on the ice again. Maybe in the next year. Fingers crossed. 2023. Here we come. , right?

[00:50:44] Judy: I'm counting the minutes till I can go back. I can't.

[00:50:48] Maya: And I love this about you. I love this. I love that this is like such an outlet for you and it's a really positive thing. You have done so much on your journey, Judy, and you know, I really wanna ask you the question I ask. You know, everyone who comes on here and everyone has a different answer. If you could go back to Judy in 1981 and Judy in 1990, what is something you would tell yourself and obviously how our incredible audience.

[00:51:15] Maya: About that time, the wisdom that you have so many years later and all that you've done, and after going through this grueling study that you share in your book about in, in more detail, thank you for sharing today about that. It was intense, which you went through that was commitment. But what would you tell yourself in those losses? If there's any piece of advice that you could give yourself?

[00:51:36] Judy: Two pieces of advice is, number one, is to reach out with somebody. I wish I had one person, at least one person to talk to, like another sibling who had lost a sibling. So at least I had somebody to share my grief with. Actually three things.

[00:51:56] Judy: Number two is to talk about my siblings because I think people wanted to talk about them, even my sister's friends, and I shut everybody out because I didn't think, you know, shut people out because I didn't wanna talk about them, to talk about my sisters. And number three, allow myself to feel so and not shut myself out.

[00:52:21] Judy: I put up walls and let those walls down and let myself feel and let people in. So tho those would be my three things.

[00:52:29] Maya: Great advice, of course, coming from Judy , or should I call you? Lipson? Lipson. . . Great advice. I agree completely, and I think a lot of introverts are going to connect with this episode with your book and your journey, Judy, because I do feel like, you know, we all define ourselves in certain ways, but we all have extroverted moments, introverted moments.

[00:52:51] Maya: You're kind of going through your extroversion right now with you're skating and you're sharing your story, and I love that. But you're ultimately an introvert, and so I think a lot of introverts will connect with your story, and I think that's kind of a default mode for introverts to kind of shut down.

[00:53:05] Maya: But also, I think what's so important to point out about your stories, your parents who were following the social cues from your parents, they weren't talking about it, so you were like, we don't talk about this. Right. And I think everyone processes in their own way, and you don't know, right? As a child or a young adult, and.

[00:53:26] Maya: You don't know if that's really the way that you wanna process it. You're kind of following along in what you're seeing. So reading and listening to podcasts like this and other people's stories, I think is important. Cause then you find your way in grief.

[00:53:40] Judy: Yes. And I think there's no cookie cutter for grief.

[00:53:43] Judy: Everybody has to find what works for them. And took me three tries for compassionate friends and now I'm in the book group and that works for me. And groups might not be for somebody, but by going, you might find one person that you can connect through it. And like you said, there's podcasts, there's a lot, there's a lot more out there today than there was in 1981.

[00:54:04] Judy: And I'm so grateful for that for all the siblings. So it's, it's what works for you. And like I say in my book, it's never too late to grieve. So even if you have to pocket it for a year or pocket it for two years, or pocket it by a month, it's your journey and whatever works for you, that's what's important.

[00:54:25] Maya: Yeah, I agree. You know, going to group and having people on this podcast and being in different Facebook groups, I mean, there's so many more resources. We have a long way to go to your point, but compared to 1981, absolutely. Like we're, we're making it happen, Judy, thank goodness. Right. But I, yeah, I love that you're giving permission for everyone to just understand that because you grieved a certain way and I grieved a certain way, that's not gonna be your, your exact journey and to just really give yourself some grace.

[00:54:58] Maya: And I never really understood what that meant before going through a brief journey. But it's what you said earlier in the podcast, putting yourself first. And some people might not like that, but you know what, that's their issue. Putting yourself first. Going through your grief journey, that's a part of the journey because you're tapping into yourself.

[00:55:17] Maya: So again, love that you shared that and wanted to go back to that for a second, because I never really understood what people were talking about. I was like, put myself first, give myself grace. Like what are you talking about? I'm having to deal with my family and deal with this tragic loss and deal with work and deal and deal and deal, but I never put the focus on myself.

[00:55:36] Judy: Yeah, and there's a lot of great, you know, books out there now and taking care of yourself is also really important. You know, whatever that means for you. If it means going for a walk or you know, kind of writing in a journal, you know, whatever, taking time out of the day for you and taking care of you.

[00:55:57] Judy: Because I think especially as siblings, we tend to take care of everybody else, our parents, kids, other family members that we get kind of pushed to the back seat and I think. It's very important that we try to take care of ourselves.

[00:56:17] Maya: I agree. And I wish someone had told me that. So hopefully all of you listening will take that memo.

[00:56:22] Maya: And when people did tell me that, I didn't really understand it. And you're saying it beautifully, Judy, it's really about doing something that you enjoy doing and, and doing something healthy for yourself. And I, if it's going for a walk in nature, if it's watching a show that makes you laugh, if it's reading a book that's going to make you feel connected to this sibling community, whatever it is, do it.

[00:56:44] Maya: I was in the Compassionate Friends group earlier this month. I think I shared that with you. And there were a few people in there that had just lost their siblings. And that was something we talked about. You know, I was like, what is something you like to do? We were connecting with them and kind of telling them to put themselves, you know, first, and they were in what I like to call the fog, right?

[00:57:05] Maya: Like it was fresh. It is fresh for them and. It's something as simple like one of the young ladies in the group, you know, she's like, well, there's a book I've really wanted to read. And I'm like, great. She goes, and I'd really like to have a glass of wine while I, you know, read the book. And I'm like, if it's in a healthy way, go for it.

[00:57:24] Maya: That's you time. Do something for yourself. And that's just a great example of, you know, it's hard because you're in the fog, but taking care of yourself and doing things that you enjoy, that's what's gonna bring you joy. That's what's gonna bring you kind of in the present moment. At least that's what I have found.

[00:57:45] Judy: That's great. Great idea.

[00:57:47] Maya: Yeah. Yeah. Judy, I loved your book. I love what you've done for over a decade for your sisters. Can't wait to see what happens next. You're part of Compassionate Friends too, so we're gonna put that link in here as well. Cuz I've referred people to that group too. I think it's wonderful.

[00:58:03] Maya: There's local chapters you can go in person. There's a lot of virtual as well, happening more in person now. But like you said, if you're an introvert, you prefer, you know, connecting maybe on Facebook groups. It's all out there, which is wonderful. Judy, tell us where we can find your book though.

[00:58:20] Judy: Okay. You can go to my website, www.judylipson.org.

[00:58:26] Maya: Fabulous. And tell us the full name of your book. Again,

[00:58:29] Judy: it's Celebration of Sisters. It is never too Late to Grieve.

[00:58:33] Maya: I love that. I absolutely love your mantra. It's never too late to grieve. I feel like a lot of us as surviving siblings have that mantra because we're on the journey together. So Lipson, thank you so much for being here today.

[00:58:48] Maya: I appreciate you sharing your story and sharing your book and being so raw and open with us.

[00:58:54] Judy: Thank you for having me. It was an honor.

[00:58:56] Maya: Thank you so much, Judy. Thank you so much for listening to the Surviving Siblings Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode as much as I did creating it for you, then share it on your chosen social media platform.

[00:59:11] Maya: And don't forget to tag us at Surviving Siblings Podcast so that more surviving siblings can find us. Remember to rate, review and subscribe to the podcast. And don't forget to follow us on all social media platforms. We're on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok at Surviving Siblings Podcast. All links can be found in the show notes, so be sure to check those out too.

[00:59:37] Maya: Thank you again for the support. Until the next episode, keep on surviving my surviving siblings.

Judy LipsonProfile Photo

Judy Lipson

Celebration of Sisters: It Is Never Too Late To Grieve

Judy Lipson is the sole survivor of three sisters, losing her sister Jane in 1981 at age twenty-two in an automobile accident, and nine years later her sister Margie at age thirty- five after a twenty year battle with anorexia and bulimia. For thirty years Judy suppressed her grief and in 2011 founded Celebration of Sisters, an annual ice skating fundraiser to commemorate the lives and memories of her beloved sisters Margie and Jane to benefit Massachusetts General Hospital. Skating is a sport the Lipson sisters shared and brought Judy full circle back to her sisters.
Judy Lipson published articles for The Open to Hope Foundation, The Centering Organization, Grief Healing, and Love and Loss. Massachusetts General Hospital and SKATING Magazine featured pieces on Judy’s philanthropic work. Judy has appeared as a guest on The Open To Hope, The Morning Glory, Surviving Sibling Loss, Where’s The Grief, Good Grief and U.S. Figure Skating Voices From The Ice Podcasts. She presented at The Compassionate Friends National Conference, and will be a keynote speaker at The Bereaved Parents USA Conference in 2023.
Her passion for figure skating secured the recipient of U.S. Figure Skating Association 2020 Get Up Award.
Judy’s memoir, Celebration of Sisters: It Is Never Too Late To Grieve, released November 2021 by WriteLife Publishing. www.judylipson.org