Kate Polley has written a book in memory of her twin son. In addition, it can be personalized in memory of your own Little Angel(s). Check out this special memorial children’s book at www.thestoryof-books.com You won’t be disappointed. It also makes a great gift for anyone you know who may have a surviving twin or multiples.
~”4 years (ago) I l lost my brother. I still want to take my life. Why should I struggle through life? It’s so hard ..”
I receive a lot of messages such as the above and each one puts a lump in my chest. The sadness, unhappiness, loneliness, and inability to see any future that so many survivors feel is astounding – understandable, but also astounding.
It is an enormous challenge to go from We to I. There is no proper preparation for such a state. From the very beginning two or more souls have been together, aware of each other, caring and “checking in” with each, sharing a birthday, sharing so much. When the connection is cut, forever, what now? Who is watching my back? I have lost my best friend (some survivors say the feeling is worse than losing a spouse). How can I possibly be anything or move forward without my special partner? There may be survivor’s guilt. So many messages indicate that the survivor wants to die and join their co-multiple.
How do we help and support these very vulnerable folks at the worst point in their lives? How do we assist them in recognizing what they are feeling but encourage them to continue on to be the best they can be, without guilt: get an education, meet someone, perhaps have a family, travel, share their experience and still remember their true roots?
~I think understanding professional help is a good start. Speaking with someone who is aware of the unique bonds between multiples and who won’t pooh-pooh a survivor’s deep-seated feelings is essential. We know that multiples are aware of each other in the womb and these intense connections survive beyond the womb and remain throughout their lives. A professional who is aware of the unique bonds and honours them when counselling a survivor, is a gem indeed.
~I feel quite strongly that the deceased co-multiple would not wish their survivor to join them in death. What they would want is for their co-multiple to mourn and move on to live a healthy, happy life and enjoy what they can from life, free of guilt, while remembering and keeping a small part of their heart to remember their deceased. I do not think for a moment that a deceased co-multiple would choose death for their co-sibling. It just does not make sense that this would be the case.
~Suicide is, in my opinion, something that a desperate person chooses. One who feels this is the only recourse left open to them. They have convinced themselves that no one would miss them and the world would be a better place without them. They cannot take the pain any longer of living. Living is not an easy thing to do day in, day out. We need tools in our toolbox to handle a lot of what is handed to us over a life time: house burns down and we lose our things, crash our car, didn’t get the job we wanted, our best friend moved away, have trouble losing weight, to name a few – or we lose our co-multiple. This can be a monumental challenge, but seeking the right support and resources can get us through and tomorrow can be a little brighter, promise. The world would NOT be a better place without you and so many family members, friends and colleagues would miss you beyond belief. Please, please, please don’t choose suicide as an option. Life is not bleak every minute of every day and with the right support, you can get through. You are not alone. Plus who better to remember your co-multiple than yourself? Only you know the details of your lives and are in the best position to remember and honour your special sibling.
~Don’t be shy about reaching out to speak with others. The Internet is full of Web Sites, books, resources, grief information to help you help yourself get through. Speak to your doctor, clergy person, or someone who feel safe with. Every one of these resources is ready and waiting to support and assist you.
~Some surviving co-multiples have written books sharing their experiences of being with and being without their co-multiple. Maybe writing such a book would also be good for you. Or simply keeping a journal for your own eyes can be very cathartic. I will list some of the books written below. I have read them all and each and every one of them is worth their weight in gold.
I sincerely hope you can find some solace in this world until your own time is decided and live a full and happy life, while honouring your unique birth experience and partner.
Sincerely, Lynda (July, 2016)
Support For Survivors
Living Without Your Twin, by Betty Jean Case
Who Moved the Sun? A Twin Remembers, by Ron McKenzie
The End of The Twins: A Memoir of Losing a Brother, by Saul Diskin
The Lone Twin, by Joan Woodward
The Survivor, by Lynne Schulz
On the Internet
Multiple Births Canada
Loss Support Network
Twinless Twins Organization (US)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged grief, lone multiples, lone twins, loss of a twin, lost my co-multiple, lost my twin, my triplet died, my twin died, surviving co-multiple, surviving twins, twin loss, twinless twins | Leave a Comment »
Today, 1/11 marks the 30th anniversary which made me a twinless twin. Until this year I had never thought to search for anyone else who may have shared the same feelings I do about losing a twin. The loss, even my full lifetime later, still feels isolating to a point that it seems “no one” will ever understand, however, this article is assurance to me that people do. This realization brings comfort in a way I needed today.
My twin, Amy, died at 6 months old from a congenital heart defect after multiple surgeries and attempts to save her she was unable to survive on this day January 11, 1986. When we were born the beginning for both was rocky – between her heart and my weight at 3.4lbs., our outcome could have both been grim. However, after weeks I built strength and her situation turned the opposite.
My parents and older sister have always been supportive and we remember Amy and celebrate her life. I, however, harbor survivor’s guilt daily questioning why was I given a life that was taken away from her? It leaves not only a loss but so many unanswered questions.
Although these emotions will always be with me it brings great comfort to know that others can empathize with something I felt I was experiencing alone. Thank you for researching this project! It has been impactful and if I could help in any way don’t hesitate to reach out. – J W
I am so pleased that the article on my site was helpful to you. I am also very sorry to hear of the loss of your special Womb Mate, Amy. it is wonderful that the rest of your family has been so open to allow you the space and safety you need to mourn your loss. That is not always the case.
I wanted to address your concerns re survivor’s guilt, if you don’t mind. It is very common for survivors to feel such guilt. What I can tell you (which I am sure you already are aware) is that while humans can control so much of our circumstances, there is still so much that we cannot, e.g. weather, illness, who lives and who dies and when and how. Mother Nature has the final say in many areas yet. It is no one’s fault, certainly not yours or your Mother’s that you gained strength and Amy was unable to overcome her challenges. It is so much luck, and things could have easily gone the other way, but they didn’t. You are not “bad” because you survived. This was completely beyond your control. Another pain in the neck is that not everything can be explained or answered. Why? has to be one of the most annoying of questions.
I feel very strongly that Amy would be delighted that you remember her and that you are living a full and rich life. I am quite sure that she would not want you to change places with her.
Wishing you the very best of the best,
This is the first place I’ve found that can I talk about the guilt the twinless twin feels, playing basketball, what if my twin brother could have played? When I was a child I thought about him all the time. Never told anyone. At one point wanted to die to be with him. For for years I put it out of my mind. Till I see some twins, the feelings come back
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your twin brother. It is not easy going on physically parted from him. It is OK to think about him. In that way, he lives on, beside you and in your heart. A suggestion would be that if it ever seems appropriate in a conversation, do talk about him and a little bit of what you feel. It is another way of keeping him close as well as ensuring his memory survives. This doesn’t mean that everything will be hunky-dory, but it is bringing him foreword in a loving way and if that is something that might work for you, I say go for it! You may also open a door for someone else to share their beginnings and how they were affected. We are never sure how we will positively impact someone else simply by being our selves.
Please try very hard not to die to try and join him. I am sure that is not what he would want for you, i.e. a short life. It is not your fault that you lived and he died. We cannot pick how our cards will play out. What we can pick is how we respond to something we cannot control. Looking for the bright spots and expanding on them whenever possible would be ideal. So many people would miss you dearly if you were not around. If you are having trouble at all, do seek some professional help. It will be worth it all around, promise.
Please accept my sincere condolence on the loss of your brother,
Jack shares the story of his twin sister and mother who committed suicide several years apart. Having also lost his father at a young age, he is learning to live as the last one sanding.
Angela Tollersons is a guest author and following is her article. If you would like to get in touch with Angela, you can do so at http://www.forfamilyhealth.net Thanks Angela for sharing your wisdom.
How to Help Loved Ones Who Have Lost Multiple-Birth Children
The loss of a child is one of the greatest human tragedies there is, and the pain is often amplified when it is the loss of a multiple-birth child or children. To an outsider, having any surviving children may seem like a comfort amidst tragedy; but in reality, it creates a new world of complicated, impossible devastation. When a loved one is suffering through this kind of pain, it’s difficult to know what to say or do. These are a few things to keep in mind when someone you love has lost one (or more) of their multiple-birth children.
Be mindful of your words of comfort. Even the most well-intentioned words can feel hurtful and insensitive in this situation, especially if you’ve never experienced it yourself. Avoid phrases like, “Time heals all wounds,” and, “Everything happens for a reason.” The fact is, the pain of losing a child will likely never completely subside and there is simply no “reasoning” that can mend the wound. Though your intention is to help, it can feel like you’re trivializing their loss. Acknowledging that it is an unfair, unimaginable situation is an honest and heartfelt alternative.
Consider making a donation to a charity in the lost child’s name in lieu of flowers. Although flowers are a beautiful sentiment, some parents may find them overwhelming. They can also be a painful reminder of what they’ve lost: something beautiful that dies too soon. A charitable donation honoring their child can be an equally beautiful and thoughtful show of support for your loved one.
Stay in touch, but don’t overwhelm. One of the most important ways you can show support for your loved one is to simply be available. Social media is helpful, but shouldn’t be your only route. If you aren’t physically close by, consider having family conference calls. It’s less-invasive than hopping on a plane and coming for a visit — which your loved one may or may not be ready for — but still demonstrates a show of support. Remember not to push too hard; it’s OK to postpone a call if they don’t feel up to it as long as you let them know that you’ll be there when they do feel ready.
Ask what they need, but anticipate that they may not have an answer. It can be difficult for parents to even think straight after the loss of a child, so the seemingly simple question of how you can help may be a struggle to answer. Offer to make a trip to the grocery store, pick up other children from school, or help with any special arrangements for the lost child. Even dropping off a sandwich platter or casserole can help reduce a bit of stress; stay for a quick bite if you’re sincerely invited, but don’t overwhelm by forcing a visit.
If there is a surviving multiple child, don’t make them your only focus. As the non-parent, it may seem like the best route is to focus on the positive and thus on the surviving child. However, your loved one may not be grieving only for their deceased child. They’ve also lost a unique experience of bringing home and raising more than one baby, of watching the relationship the surviving child could have had with their sibling(s). Again, not being sensitive to this could feel belittling of the loss. The last thing anyone wants is to forget the child as if they never existed, so don’t be too afraid to bring them up.
Talk to them about getting a service dog. It can be tough to watch your loved one suffer this kind of loss and feel impossible to not hover. A service dog not only provides constant, unconditional love, they can also be trained to recognize signs of a panic attack and intervene. It can be a wonderful way to provide comfort to your loved one without overwhelming them, and put your own mind at ease that they are receiving constant support.
Losing a multiple-birth child is an unbearable burden, and affects not only the parents and siblings, but also grandparents, extended family and close friends. By leaning on each other and helping one another through the loss, everyone can adjust to a new life.
Angela Tollersons has a passion for family health and wellness. She currently volunteers as often as possible in her community with parenting and child advocacy groups, especially those who focus on special education and anti-bullying. When she is not updating her blog, she is usually exploring the great outdoors or playing a game of Scrabble with her family.
In a tragic farm accident, the Bott Family of Alberta lost their three young daughters. If you would like to support the family in any way, you can do so at the above link. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to this family at this devastating time.