There Is No Recipe For Grief

Judy Lipson
Judy Lipson Author Interview

Celebration of Sisters shares your personal grief journey and how you moved forward years later. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Many individuals encouraged me to share my story. I am an introverted, private person. The concept was out of my realm. I felt the time had come to be open and reveal thoughts that had been kept quiet for many years. Writing the book was two- fold. First, the message as states in the title “It Is Never Too Late To Grieve,” and second to bring awareness about sibling loss.

I never shared my feelings. Due to the circumstances of our family and the times many secrets were kept. I hoped in telling my story anyone who experienced grief would discover some common chord. Grief will become more of an open conversation. The topic not only for those who suffered a loss, but with for others to support individuals who have experienced the loss of a loved one. It is also about forgiveness something that I still struggle with today.

Sibling deaths are referred to as disenfranchised losses, the forgotten mourners. Siblings who lost siblings are often overlooked and take on the burden, worry and caring of other family members. No matter the complexity of the relationship siblings share a unique and special bond. Who knows you better than your sibling? The dream of sharing your life together changed in an instant. Navigating your life without your sibling(s) is a complex journey.

When asked the question, how many siblings do you have? I cringed and rather than share my story. I answered, “just me.” Today I say, “I am the middle of three girls, sadly I lost both my sisters.” My sisters although they are gone, are my past, present, and future.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

The hardest piece to write concerned the actual deaths of my sisters Margie and Jane. The painful recollections of November 7, 1981, and August 1, 1990, were buried deep in my subconscious. In tandem, writing about the work in the Complicated Grief study. Reliving that agonizing time was another step on the grief journey. Every anniversary of my beloved sisters’ death is sad, and each year varies in the intense feelings. Writing about the actual day sparked raw feelings I had not experience for a long time.

Memories buried so deep bubbled to the surface. When I relived those tragic days, my hands shook on the keyboard and tears streamed down my face. Forced to take breaks, I took walks. The fresh air calmed me down. Although the process incredibly challenging at times, lost memories came alive – some dark but many filled with light.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

I say in the book, there is no recipe for grief. The instant you suffer a loss, your life is changed. It is my hope that anyone who has suffered a loss will not feel alone. They will find someone to communicate with, and know whatever their journey is, it is theirs.

In families, grief looks different to every member. In trying to protect each other, we often shut each other out. Everyone is grieving and it is important to have difficult but open conversations where everyone understands each other’s feelings.

I was fortunate to have ice skating as an outlet to find peace, joy, and a connection to my sisters. Gliding across the ice I could turn everything out and focus on stroking on the slick surface, the cool breeze flowing through my hair, and feel my sisters on my shoulders.

Many lessons learned on the ice transferred to life. When learning a new element, patience and practice are key. The same holds true for grief. It is not something learned, we have to practice and be patient with ourselves and reach out for help. A new skill which I had to learn, practice and be patient. Another lesson learned is that when we fall, we get up.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?

Hope and love.

Everyone in life has a story or a cross to bear. There is always hope. When you share your story and are transparent, people open up to you with their stories. A conversation begins finding a new bond, friend, and connection.

For many years I was haunted because I lost so many memories of my beloved sisters Margie and Jane. I learned the love of my sisters and I shared prevails overall.

I know my life has its tragedies and challenges and has shaped who I am today not without scars, however in the end I hope I channeled it forward.

I quote what the Rabbi so eloquently stated in Jane’s eulogy:

“There is no satisfactory answer to understanding why bad things happen to good people. Not all questions have answers. Unanswered “whys” are a part of life. The way to face tragedy is with love. “

Margie and Jane, I will always love you.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Instagram | Website

For Judy Lipson, her sisters were her compass, constant, champions, and competitors and for thirty years she suppressed the grief of losing her two beloved sisters.

Judy lost her younger sister Jane at age twenty-two in an automobile accident and nine years later her older sister Margie at age thirty-five to a twenty year battle with anorexia and bulimia. It was not until 2011 that Judy began her journey to mourn for Margie and Jane.

Judy experienced the reality that those who lose siblings are the forgotten mourners and they are left to take care of their parents and children. The impact of their loss takes a back seat.

Through her participation and work prescribed in a complicated grief study, Judy learned to restore her well-being, happy memories of her sisters, and the passion the three of them had for figure skating. By bringing her sisters and their memories together more present in her life, Judy found peace.

To honor the memory of her sisters, Judy created and continues to hold, Celebration of Sisters, an annual ice skating fundraiser which benefits Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

This is the story of how Judy used her memories and their shared love of ice skating to come full circle. When she performs on the ice, Judy feels Margie and Jane on each shoulder guiding her and whispering in her ear, “Judy, you’ve got this.”

This is a story of love, grief, and moving forward, even years after the loss.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on December 18, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I commend Judy Lipson for writing this book. Like her, I have experienced tragic loss. There are so many assumptions about grief that just may not be true for many, if not most of us. This author chose a memoir style, I choose fiction, but both books may provide comfort to others who endure multiple losses of immediate family members.

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