Season 2, Episode 7

Judy Lipson / Jane & Margie

Judy’sTwice Experienced Sibling Loss: Her Delayed Grief and Celebration of Sisters 

In this episode of The Broken Pack: Stories of Adult Sibling Loss, a podcast, Judy Lipson, author and sibling loss survivor, recounts her journey of delayed grieving after losing both of her sisters at young ages. 

  • Judy struggled to grieve her sisters for decades, but eventually found solace in writing her book, Celebration of Sisters: It’s Never Too Late to Grieve”
  • Despite her outward success, Judy’s sibling losses left her feeling a void As a result, she struggled with guilt. 
  • Judy established an ice skating fundraiser called “Celebration of Sisters” to honor her sisters’ lives as they all enjoyed ice skating.

Additional key points:

  • Later in life, she embraced connecting with other bereaved siblings through writing and speaking about sibling loss and delayed grief.
  • Judy’s story highlights the importance of acknowledging and addressing grief, even decades after a loss, and the power of support in navigating the complex emotions of sibling loss.

Content Warning: Information presented in this episode may be upsetting to some people. It contains talk of eating disorder.

sibling loss survivor, Judy, and sisters, Jane & Margie
Transcript

Dr. Dean: 

Hello and welcome to the Broken Pack, a podcast focused on giving adult survivors of sibling loss, a platform to share their stories and to be heard. Something that many sibling loss survivors state that they never have had. Sibling loss is misunderstood. The Broken Pack exists to change that and to support survivors. I’m your host, Dr. Angela Dean. Hi. In today’s episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Judy Lipson author, and also two-time sibling loss survivor, as a young adult, we talk about how difficult it was to grieve her sisters and how that delayed grieving has been for her several decades later. Welcome Judy. Thank you so much for joining us today. I was wondering what you wanted to tell our audience about yourself.

Judy: 

Angela, first of all, thank you for having me and for all that you do for, the forgotten mourners, the siblings. I really appreciate all that you do. My name is Judy Lipson and I like to say, I’m, the middle of three. And sadly, I lost both my sisters. That took me a long time to say, and I lost my sister Jane in an automobile accident in 1981 at age 22, and I lost my sister Margie, nine years later at age 35 after a 20- year battle with anorexia and bulimia. And for 30 years I suppressed the grief and I honor them with a ice skating fundraiser to celebrate their lives. And today I’m A skater, a mother, a grandmother, and the author of a book, and I hope to help other siblings who are so that they’re not alone in their grief.

Dr. Dean: 

Thank you so much for that, it is a great book and you’re a grandmother, but you’re also have a brand new grand baby as well.

Judy: 

Yes, my heart is very full. A week ago, We welcomed a granddaughter, Madeline, my third grandchild, who is named for my sister Margie, and I’m gonna choke up here on this podcast. and Margie was sick for 20 years and to have this new, beautiful life to carry on her legacy is, so special. And she’s beautiful. My daughter Jane, is named for my sister Jane. And which each of these grandchildren has brought me so many mixed emotions. And I think with grief, there’s so much love in which each of these grandchildren, there’s joy and there’s so much love and we miss our siblings so much and we’re torn with these antithesis of emotions and. Especially with this new little girl that Margie, who suffered so much and now she’s gonna have this little girl and bringing out all that Margie really was, is really very, very special.

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. Well thank you for that. So I know that you. Shared your story already in the book and you’ve shared it elsewhere. So I don’t think we need to retell the book, but I’m wondering before we even get to that, the story of losing them both well stories. and I think it’s, what was really striking to me is it took you a very long time to be able to even start to grieve and acknowledge the losses. So before we get to all of that, What would you like us to know about each of your sisters?

Judy: 

So, I’ll do Jane cuz she was the first one to pass away. Jane was, three years younger than I was. And anybody who has a sibling, especially girls, know that you’re all very different and, Even though you are very different, the bottom line is that there was a lot of love. And Jane and I, there was a three year difference and I was elated to have a little sister and she and I shared a room until we were 14 years old. And, I always took care of her and I loved having a little sister. And then when she got into her tween years, we were very, very different. She thought she was cool and I was nerdy and she was a little kind of ashamed of me, but, one of her friends told me that I guess they went through my room, which I never knew until a few years, 10 years ago. And, they’d always put things back. And I just found that so endearing because sh she never thought I was cool enough, but yet they would go through my room and, she was full of life. Probably pushed the envelope a little too far. But that’s who she was. And she had a lot of friends and was very spunky and really lived life to its fullest. wasn’t the greatest student because she talked a lot in school, but you know, that’s who she was. And Margie was two years older than I was, and she was who I always wanted to be. She was beautiful. She was popular, she was a cheerleader. And even as sick as she was, she could always read me and always I could never get anything by her.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm.

Judy: 

we were always very, very close. And when she got sick, she was sick with anorexia bulimia for 20 years. It was very upset because it was somebody that, she, it was not my Margie, but yet parts of her were there. And, know, it was very challenging, but she was always still a piece of her mind, Margie.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm.

Judy: 

she was, she was a lot of fun and she could talk to anybody and she was just a very good, good person. Very, very smart. Extremely smart.

Dr. Dean: 

I have some quotes here that I wanted to ask you about in the book that you said, it was in chapter three, so you’re talking about the, I think the title of the chapter is Three Sisters, and you said that A three sisters, a trio, a triangle, a tripod, and a trilogy. Our stories are not what we dreamed, but the sum of us. genealogy, the Lipsy girls, and I was wondering if you could say more about that and what your relationships were like. Cuz that feels very cohesive.

Judy: 

Well, it’s like we were always, three. So, at camp we took the bus to camp and we sang the song side by side, dressed alike in denim dresses, We were always the lips and sisters, the three of us carpooling to Hebrew school together. The three of us took ice skating lessons together and it was just, that’s who we are. And there’s a picture that I used, for celebration of sisters. There’s a black of white of us. There’s so many photos of the three of us, and you can see that we’re always attached together. Like our arms are always around each other. We’re always anchored together. arm is always around each other, and that’s who I thought my life. with sisters, we’re always gonna live together. Who else are you gonna complain about? Your parents together? There’s always gonna be this, legacy, this genealogy, and then that’s a picture on the slide. We’re squashed together and I’m in the middle, and that’s the antithesis of who we are.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm.

Judy: 

So that I’m in the middle, anchored by both of them, but we’re always the three, or we’re standing in the pool and Jane’s on the bottom. Margie and I are together, or we’re standing in our puffy winter coats, and usually Jane’s in the middle, and Margie and I are holding her on either side so that there’s always pictures, but we’re always holding onto each other because that’s who we are. So it’s like a triangle, like always together.

Dr. Dean: 

Right. I’m fascinated by the language that you’re using. Given where you are, do you feel, because it took so long for you to be able to even start to acknowledge that you were grieving. Do you feel like you were hanging on in that same. Way that you were anchored by them for all of those like 30 years between their losses and now.

Judy: 

Those 30 years were so different. And I I didn’t know what grief was, Angela, to be honest with you. And I felt, I just kept myself on such a busy treadmill and I didn’t know what grief was, and I always felt like something was missing, but I didn’t know what, and I couldn’t. I couldn’t describe it cuz I didn’t know what it was.

Dr. Dean: 

Right.

Judy: 

And it’s almost like a twin who has a sixth sense that they always know that something is off and they know, they feel. I’m not, I, I have no research on this, but I’ve heard from other people, like a twin knows, like when the other feels something like they wake up in the middle of the night and it’s like the night. Jane died. Both Margie and I woke up at that hour of the night, so I think I, I just didn’t know what grief was and I think I was grieving and I but I couldn’t describe it. I couldn’t feel it. I had put up such a wall and just kept going and didn’t know. It was a combination of the grief and the traumas and everything that I just kept going and going and going and taking care of my parents and taking care of my two daughters that I didn’t stop.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm. I remember you talking about that in the book around like you went back to your new job. Was it after Jane

Judy: 

Yes.

Dr. Dean: 

That Yeah. And that your parents. Also just shut down, eventually stop talking about the losses.

Judy: 

Well, I was living in New York and they were in Boston, and I think in every family everybody grieves differently, even siblings, parents, children, everybody grieves differently and you’re all, you don’t know how to communicate. That’s when the walls break. The walls break down, or the walls come up. It depends on how you’re gonna grieve.

Dr. Dean: 

I would agree with that wholeheartedly. So do you wanna share a little bit, whatever you’re comfortable sharing, about losing each of your sisters, what that was like?

Judy: 

well, Jane was such a shock. obviously, it was a car accident and I think that I. Again, I was 25, she was 22. I didn’t know what it was and I was in retail. I was in Christmas, so I just went back and I didn’t have anybody to talk about or share this with. And you go through that identity. Well, who am I now? I the youngest? who am I? And I had a, felt like I had to be there for my parents and be a cheerleader and all of that, and I just got on this rollercoaster treadmill of a ride and just kept going. I have no recollection of her funeral at all. None. and then I just, I got married shortly thereafter. Moved back to Boston and just kept going. and then Margie started to decline and we went.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm. And so you were young, professional in a new city trying to navigate a new life, and then all of a sudden it was a new life without one of your sisters.

Judy: 

And at that time it was 1981 and I didn’t have anybody else to talk to or share it with, and. I also didn’t really understand what I was going through, so I just, I probably was grieving and didn’t know that I was grieving or what grief was

Dr. Dean: 

Right.

Judy: 

and just was in that fog that everybody goes through, but didn’t really know what it was

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm.

Judy: 

was in retail in the height of Christmas season. And, if I had cried, I would’ve lost my job. So I just went on so,

Dr. Dean: 

I worked in retail before being a psychologist. I fully understand what you’re talking about there. that’s unfortunate. And so you moved on and you were raising your girls. Do you wanna talk about losing Margie?

Judy: 

Yeah, Margie. I guess Margie was, we knew Margie was not gonna live, I mean, at some point, and it just, it was a matter of time and it’s still a shock. I mean, I don’t know how I describe that. I don’t know if people have, Siblings who have died of cancer or other illnesses that they know that you sort of know or substance? I’m not, I don’t know because I have not dealt with that and it’s still a shock. And, it was, it was still heartbreaking. And I remember making the phone calls and just sobbing and just feeling so alone. And again, like who am I? Am I the only, but you know, I realize that I’m not, I’m always gonna be the middle of three sisters,

Dr. Dean: 

Right.

Judy: 

but it’s again, who am I now without them? And I just went through is this really my life? Is this real?

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah, that’s an interesting point. as we lose a sibling, because our identities are often wrapped up in like being someone’s older or younger or the middle or X number of sibling, that when we lose that sibling, it’s such a common thing, like how do you now identify, and that happened to you twice.

Judy: 

Well, I think with Margie I felt more. Guilt that I should have done more. that, her illness was, it was a very difficult, mental illness is very challenging. And that I didn’t do enough. Or could I have said this, could I have done this, would. I, I know in my head I couldn’t, but in my heart, I just, you always think, there’s more guilt involved with her death than, Jane’s, I didn’t have guilt. I mean, that was just a tragedy. So,

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. I recall you saying in the book too, that you had believed one thing about Jane’s accident, and later you went on that search for, for the information. What was that? About for you trying to find that information.

Judy: 

Well, I had been told that it was, a caramel faction and it doesn’t make a difference. But somehow after Margie died, I just felt I needed to know, and it was speech, involved and I just, I needed to know that. So I, went to the police station and got the police report, and it’s just something that. I just felt I needed to know, I just needed to know all the truths after all these years. wasn’t gonna make any, it doesn’t make any difference, but somehow from my own, I don’t know, peace of mind, I just needed to know the truths.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm.

Judy: 

I, everybody, nobody talked about them or whatever, but I just, I needed to know.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm.

Judy: 

I think sometimes, people. When people die, they tend to create people that aren’t who they are. And listen, we all have our, our strengths, our warts or whatever, but that’s makes us who we are and that’s

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm. So what has it been like to start to engage with grief and live with grief now?

Judy: 

it’s been. It’s been mixed. on the one hand I am incredibly grateful to the people that I’ve met and been able to be open and share with other sibling group

Dr. Dean: 

Mm.

Judy: 

and other people that I’ve met. And that has been a true gift that I wish I had had 40 plus years ago. I think it’s been, wonderful and that, these bereaved siblings speak my language and understand, and a part of me, I tried groups or whatever. The other piece is that it’s been, emotionally very draining to keep sharing my story and almost going through debriefing again, like as a newly bereaved, It’s really out of my comfort zone as an introvert to get out there and share my story, but I hope that I can help somebody else in their grief. it’s also after all these years letting the walls down, but it’s also allowing me to feel and being compassionate to myself and allowing myself to feel that it’s okay after these family lifecycle events instead of shutting, just keep going down. If I have to cry for a day, it’s okay and allowing myself to do that. So, it, I’ve come a long way with letting my heart and the walls down, so that’s been very positive.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm. And I honor that, and I thank you for sharing your story here. I know that you’ve shared it elsewhere, and this is one of those times that it’s, it’s probably getting hard, especially with, with everything else you have going on. It’s, it’s funny because the support, the reason that I’m doing what I’m doing is that there was not a lot of support even in 2020. And so to think back to the eighties and nineties, there’s, there was even more of a mental health stigma at the time. And grief is not, I’m not saying that’s a mental illness, that’s just normal part of life, but where you typically find support is with a professional. And you mentioned that that wasn’t even helpful for you then. I wonder if you wanted to say more about that.

Judy: 

Well, I think everybody is also different in, in what they need. some people. Like a group and like sharing. Some people need just one-on-one. for me, groups are. Overwhelming. I’m an introvert. I like a one-on-one. I mean, I’m now in a sibling book group and I’m a reader, and that feels like my landing place right now. so I think everybody, some people now with online groups find the groups fine. Some people need to read everything. I think everybody has to find what works for them. But at least today, there are a lot more opportunities. More and more siblings are sharing their stories, which is. Excellent. And I think that really helps, other individuals because the siblings, when you lose a sibling, you’ll lose the siblings. But now there’s books out about brothers, about sisters, about suicide, about illness, about all different, multiple losses. So that, People can find books that you know are relative into them, and then general sibling loss books, which is, I’m glad that people are having the courage to write their own stories.

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah, for sure. so it’s interesting that as an introvert, you put yourself very much in the spotlight with the skating and the fundraising for skating. How did that come about?

Judy: 

so I know, is that wild talking about that. so I wanted to do a fundraiser to honor my sisters. we all skated. So I did this fundraiser and I have no clue how I have the guts to go out there. I guess I do it for them and that’s what gets me the courage to go out there because I, it’s so out of my comfort zone, but I do it to honor them and that’s why I do it. And, We talked a lot about this, if we hadn’t had these losses, would we do these things that we’re doing today? who knows? so it’s a beautiful fundraiser that I did for a little over a decade and I can just see them like, laughing oh my God, Judy’s out there. cuz it’s, it’s so not me,

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. Are you still skating? I.

Judy: 

I am still skating. I hope to teach my grandchildren.

Dr. Dean: 

Oh, fantastic. How old are the grandchildren?

Judy: 

I have one who’s gonna be four. I have one who’s six months, and now I have the one who’s a week old. I’m 66. I’m gonna be skating until they take me off.

Dr. Dean: 

Are you still doing the fundraiser?

Judy: 

no, I had, I close that chapter. It was time, but I hope that, To do something else, I’m not quite sure yet. I have to figure that out.

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. what was the connection with skating with them?

Judy: 

we had all taken skating lessons as girls and I just wanted to do something that was fun and skating was something that I always did all the way through. And when I was going through, The heavy grieving process after all this time skating was my meditation, my peace, my solace, my joy, and I guess underlying it, it was the connection, the, the circle back to my sisters without really knowing it. And, so it’s my go-to place when I need to just. Tune out and we all skated. So it was a fun thing to do and my sisters were fun, so I wanted to do something that kind of honored them and I can feel them each on my shoulder and saying, go out there, Judy, do this.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm. And you’re also part of a speaker’s bureau. Did I see that recently as well?

Judy: 

Yes, this is a brand new opportunity, that came out. it’s for grief. it’s a speaker’s bureau with, people who have. Suffered all various kind of losses and that we can speak to various groups and they have wonderful resources, on grief, for all different types of grief and how to manage and connect with all different types of organizations.

Dr. Dean: 

So if we can go back just for a minute, what would you say or what do you think that you needed back then that you weren’t able to tap into until later?

Judy: 

When I was 25,

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm.

Judy: 

I don’t think I understood what grief was. And I think that if I had somebody to talk to about it, just to understand what a loss is and what that means, and having somebody else to talk to about it, somebody else who had lost a sibling and kind of navigating the process and know that everybody’s journey is different and. Some people cry every day. Some people wanna read everything, some people don’t. But just to understand that the, like the fog that I went through, or, breaking down in tears for no reason at all, that it’s all part, you’re going through the grieving process and understanding it, that I didn’t understand what it was.

Dr. Dean: 

Right. Understanding that that was no reason that there was a reason it was your

Judy: 

It was grief,

Dr. Dean: 

yeah.

Judy: 

right? And that, and to take care of yourself because you don’t, you’re always busy taking care of somebody else. And that, my parents couldn’t talk about my sisters because it was too painful for them. But as a result, I didn’t, and. So many memories were lost. And that’s the piece that the hardest, one of the hardest for me, and having nobody to talk to about my sisters. And you wanna, it’s, it’s the whole conversation about grief that people are uncomfortable with. So it’s opening up that dialogue and being able to talk about it.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm. And now that you’ve done that, have you found it’s easier to connect with people, like people that remember them?

Judy: 

Yes, I have. and just through the fundraiser, their lives are out there. I mean, it was about them and sharing the photos and their friends come to the fundraiser and that they’re still remembered after all these years. I mean, Jane’s been gone. 42 years and Margie’s been gone 33 years. It’s a long time. I mean, that really touches my heart that they’re still remembered after all these years.

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. It sounds like you’ve carried them with you for all of this time.

Judy: 

I guess subconsciously, but not knowing.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm. Yeah. What else would you want to share with. Other Bereave siblings or, family members of, of Berea, of siblings.

Judy: 

You know that It’s really never too late to grieve and everybody’s journey is their own. And to give yourself some compassion because grief is part of us. It doesn’t have to define us, but it’s definitely part of us. And I think that. people who have not lost, somebody don’t really understand that, and it’s hard for us to help others understand that, that this is definitely part of our lives and our lost ones are forever part of our lives.

Dr. Dean: 

You mentioned at the beginning you had brought up this idea of having joy and in grief, right. And that that is a concept that I think it’s hard. It, it’s absolutely what happens, but I think it’s hard for people to understand that. So can you share

Judy: 

Well, it’s love. It’s love. Love and grief. And love and joy. That’s what I meant, so, It’s, there’s love in both. So I had it with each three of my grandchildren. So when my first grandchild was born, I got back on the ice after, eight days, and I got this shaking feeling, and I know that that’s a tsunami of tears. I get that when I know I’m gonna cry. I got off the ice and I went home and I, I couldn’t imagine, and it’s the feeling I got when I went back to work after Jane died and after Margie died. And I was like, what is going on with it? what is wrong? The ice is my relaxation. I should be excited to be back on the ice. And I realized that Jane’s death changed my life. And this first grandchild changed my life. He brought me Joy, and Jane brought the grief, brought me. Sadness. But the bottom line, there was love with both and they both changed my life.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm.

Judy: 

And my second grandchild was born six months ago and he was five weeks premature. So in the Jewish religion, we have the breast that was postponed because he was late and it was a beautiful ceremony. Four generations of my family was there. It was a beautiful, beautiful ceremony, and these two little boys would have cousins. My, my daughters were there. I came home and I cried for two days,

Dr. Dean: 

Mm.

Judy: 

and again, so much joy, but also my heart hurt because my sisters weren’t there. And knowing that these boys would have cousins and my daughters would have each other as sisters.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm.

Judy: 

And now this third grandchild is named for Margie. So again,

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm.

Judy: 

the joy and the sadness, the grief and the love, and the joy and the love.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm. That’s beautiful. Thank you for, for explaining that. You said that you don’t have a lot of memories and actually what struck me as I reread your book the other day, what strikes me is you have a lot of memories in the book, so it sounds like there are many that you feel like you’ve forgotten or that you can’t share. And I’m wondering what that’s like for you.

Judy: 

Well, when Jane died, a woman at the Shiva said to me, they’re going to don’t be upset. There’s a time you’re gonna forget your sisters. And that haunted me.

Dr. Dean: 

Oh.

Judy: 

Then my parents didn’t talk about my sisters, so there’s a lot that I don’t remember. And so when I went through the complicated grief study, when I started the really buckling down and doing the grief work, after 30 years, went through a lot of therapy and I finally. Looked at the pictures and went through a lot of work and a lot of the memories came back. And the truth is, is that we’re not gonna remember everything.

Dr. Dean: 

Right,

Judy: 

And if you and I went to the same party, what I remember and you remember are gonna be very different.

Dr. Dean: 

right. So,

Judy: 

So, I’m just grateful that I can start to remember and that. I can talk to people and hear stories that I never heard before. And for that I’m very grateful. And, I don’t remember every single detail, but I do know that there’s a lot of love because I found cards and letters and that’s, and that’s the most important thing.

Dr. Dean: 

Thank you. So how are you doing today in your grief? Given the little newborn too? So,

Judy: 

It’s up and down because in some ways I’m sort of like, I. Newly bereaved because I’m, I’m more raw now than I was because it’s more to the surface. It’s not squashed or suppressed. I’m allowing myself to feel and, that I’m grateful that I have people to talk to today, or if I’m, I can reach out to people and, that’s something I never had. So I’m very grateful for that.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm.

Judy: 

I know that because of the birth of this grandchild and I’m speaking at a conference, I cram too many podcasts into a tight window, and I learned my lesson that that’s not a good, that’s not a good process for me. So, it’s, we’re always learning about what works for us in our grave.

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. Does it feel like too much today?

Judy: 

No, not at all. But I had scheduled a couple of podcasts, like within a short, like two week period, and that was too much. So I have to, space’em out a little bit in talking about the grief, that it’s not too much overload. I have to spread it out to give myself time to and decompress. And then don’t go on to the next one.

Dr. Dean: 

I can relate to that. I, in my work as a psychologist, we learn all about self-care and managing, Vicarious trauma and all of these very important concepts about how to manage our emotions around that. And so in doing this podcast and, and talking to so many lovely people and people that have not been on the podcast as well, that I’ve talked to, I, it, it also hit me like a little harder than I expected it to with. I’m holding onto everyone’s stories and honored to tell them. And then I also didn’t like really expect my own grief to hit it in that same way. So yeah, I can relate. You had mentioned too in the book about when hearing about other people’s siblings, and I think this is something that is common. and I wanted to hear where you are with it now. He said hearing individuals speak about their siblings always felt like a knife in my heart, but I always smiled and listened. Memories of Margie and Jane in my subconscious yet remained at the, foremost of my heart. I started noticing that pieces of memories were coming alive.

Judy: 

Yeah, it was something that, know, some people were just, Sometimes we’re harder than others. And I think that, I don’t, I think people like don’t think about it and I think they don’t realize grief is a tough topic for people to recognize and talk about and understand. And I think that, It’s like mental illness. I think the more we talk about it and help them understand, I think the landscape will change.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm. Have you seen the documentary Speaking Grief?

Judy: 

No, I haven’t.

Dr. Dean: 

It’s quite fascinating. It very much addresses this. I saw it at a conference I was at recently. And you could download it online In fact, I’ll put the link in the show notes or send that to you as well. But, the idea is our society is not comfortable talking about grief. And then the opening scene is, makes a very vivid, it’s a very vivid picture of how much grief is in the world and how much we don’t. Talk about it. but I, I do agree with you that we need to normalize grief because unfortunately, it’s a very common experience we all will experience in one way or the other. So thank you for that.

Judy: 

Yeah, because when you tell people that you lost a sibling, it’s astounding how many people have. Lost a sibling.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm.

Judy: 

sad.

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah, and I think what’s astounding about that is, well, so many people have siblings, so logically the math makes sense that so many of us have lost siblings, so, But I think what the shock is, is we don’t talk about it. It’s always around your parents or the partners or the kids. And I’ve, I’ve said that before, like we just need to normalize it a little bit more.

Judy: 

I think it’s starting to change. I know the Compassion of Friends does a big group and, I will be the keynote of the Bere parents, and I know they’re trying to get more of a sibling presence there as well. So I think, hopefully you know more and more you’re doing it. more and more people are trying to advocate for the siblings, which is great. Thank

Dr. Dean: 

Yeah. For sure. Thank you for that. well, unfortunately I can’t attend that conference, so, but I hope it goes well for you.

Judy: 

you.

Dr. Dean: 

When is that

Judy: 

July, uh, 20th to the 23rd.

Dr. Dean: 

okay? well that’s fantastic that you’ll be the keynote to help parents also understand this loss. Well, is there anything else you wanna share before I ask my my last question?

Judy: 

I would just like to say that. That, I’ve done this fundraiser to honor my sisters and that for me, it was especially in November because that was their birthdays and it helped me get through that time. And I know many siblings feel, many ways to honor their siblings. And it can be simple as, writing a journal entry or whatever. But for me it was. Something that helped me get through that horrible time of year every single year.

Dr. Dean: 

Mm-hmm.

Judy: 

And it’s just, I’m grateful I had it. It was a very good run. And, I was very touched that the girls’ friends came and that, this year’s gonna be the first year. I’m not gonna do it. So it’ll be very interesting. But, it was, it was a nice way to honor them for all those years.

Dr. Dean: 

What was it called?

Judy: 

Celebration of sisters

Dr. Dean: 

Mm Oh, like your book,

Judy: 

like my book.

Dr. Dean: 

Do you wanna say more about the book at all?

Judy: 

yeah, so the reason, I wrote the book and. Like I said, I’m a very private person, so to get out there and share it was not difficult. But when we established the fund for Margie and Jane at Mass General Hospital in 1999, the doctor said to me, you should write about these girls. And I’m like, and then, when my father passed away in 2011, I went to a support group for people of Lost Fathers and. The social worker told me You have to share your story, and other people told me to share my story and

Dr. Dean: 

Mm.

Judy: 

it just mushroomed because I had written some articles and I really wrote it to help another sibling so they’re not alone in their loss, which is why I wrote the book and to share my sisters.

Dr. Dean: 

And I appreciate that because as someone who’s not been grieving my sibling as long, it, it is helpful to have other people’s stories to hear and listen to and read. So thank you for that. The last question I have is what are some of your favorite memories of your sisters that you would like to share?

Judy: 

My favorite memories are, with Jane when she decided to go to overnight camp and we got to ride the sister bus to overnight camp. And, having a little sister at camp and even though she was a pain in my butt and she would come to my bunk all the time, a part of me like really loved having her there. And, with Margie, she always said, Judy jump and I would say, how high? And we snuck it downstairs to my father’s office where all the wrapped Hanukkah ants were and we s snooped. And I was like, we’re gonna get in trouble. We’re gonna get in trouble. And she said, no, no, no, no, no. And of course we went and. when we opened them, of course we had a act surprise, and I think not until we were in like our twenties, we told our parents what we had done. So that was like two of

Dr. Dean: 

Did they know?

Judy: 

what?

Dr. Dean: 

Were they

Judy: 

No, they didn’t know. They didn’t know. No, no.

Dr. Dean: 

Well, thank you so. I really enjoyed talking to you and I look forward to staying in

Judy: 

having me.

Dr. Dean: 

You’re welcome. Take care. Thank you so much for listening. Our theme song was written by Joe Mylwood and Brian Dean, and was performed by Joe Mylwood. If you would like more information on the broken pack, go to our website, the broken pack.com. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter, wild Grief, to learn about opportunities and receive exclusive information and grieving tips for subscribers. Information on that, our social media and on our guests can be found in the show notes wherever you get your podcasts. Please follow, subscribe, and share. Thanks again.

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