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Question:

My twin sister passed away 3 weeks ago and I am having such a hard time with her death. Can you suggest anything that may help me?  My heart is broken, I don’t want to do anything but stay at home.  I would appreciate any help you can give me.  Thanks!

Response:  

I am so sorry to hear of your loss.  Of course you are having a hard time.  Your sister’s death was only 3 weeks ago.  We are not made to bounce right back in a short period after a loved one’s death.  Please don’t expect too much from yourself.  There is a group in the U.S. entitled Twinless Twins and you might find some solace in connecting with them. Once again, don’t expect to feel better immediately.  Be gentle with yourself, give yourself time and expect to have highs and lows as you try to come to terms with losing this special person in your life.  A grief counsellor who understands the unique twin bond may also be helpful.  Your doctor may be able to refer you to someone in your area.  Please accept my sincere condolences on your loss.

Should we remember the deceased on their Birth Day or their Death Day?  Maybe both days?  If the reader looks at the obits in the newspaper, there are many memorials on the loved one’s Death Day.  Less memorials for their Birth Day.  Is it better, or easier, to remember one or the other?

For myself, I like to focus on the Birth Day.  The day my loved one was born, came into the world, added to the goings on, even if it was only for a short time.  My dear, dear triplet friend died one week before her 60th Birth Day even though she fought hard to stay longer.  I don’t want to remember her struggles, pain, diagnosis, wasting away, so focusing and celebrating her life on her Birth Day is an easy decision.  I remember our fun, books we read and shared, long contemplations of how to improve the world and teach everyone to get along.  Given enough time, I know we would have solved many of the world’s problems.  LOL  She was funny, intelligent, honest, saw the bright side and a good and true friend.  I miss her frequently, but not on her Birth Day when I celebrate again with her, usually in my head.  Because of her Birth Day, we eventually became friends for over 38 years.  Awesome sauce!

There is no right or wrong day to remember those who should have been able to stay longer.  As long as you feel good about your choice, then that is day that it is best to remember.   We can’t go wrong when we remember our loved ones, maybe on any day of the year.

Best wishes to you and I am so sorry for your loss(es).

 

 

 

Question:

Hi there, I would just like to connect with twinless people.  I lost my other half, my sister, past year and the sadness I feel is overwhelming me.  I struggle every day.    

Kind regards,  E.

Response:  Hi E.,

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your sister.  There is a group in the United States called Twinless Twins and they can be reached at www.twinlesstwins.org   They have chapters all over the US and an annual convention.  I am sure they will be able to support you.

Please also consider seeing a bereavement counsellor who has experience with the unique needs of twinless twins.   As well, there are several books on the subject which you might find helpful.   Joan Woodward wrote “The Lone Twin” and  Betty Jean Case wrote “Living Without my Twin.”

Enclosing Peace and Comfort,                                                                                                               Lynda

Question:  I had no idea about twinless twins. I lost one of mine [twins] in the womb. My daughter is now 16 months [old].  I’ve been thinking what would be an appropriate age to tell her about her twin.

Suggestions:  Hello,  I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your baby.  Nothing about losing a much-wanted child is easy.  I suggest to parents that they talk about the sibling as early as possible.  The conversation is much easier to begin with a young child then to try and break the news to a say, 14-year old.  With a young child, the words are less important than with an older child and parents can “practice” to get the words out as they perhaps also struggle with their own feelings about losing their child.

When the loss is shared early on it becomes part of the fabric of who the survivor is vs them facing a completely different scenario at an older age and realizing that they are not who they thought they were.  Even starting now is not to soon, in my opinion.  “There should have been two of you.  Your Dad and I miss your little brother/sister very much.”  And such.  Short sentences, a few words as you also feel the ground for sharing.  It will no doubt be difficult for you as well.

When your daughter begins to speak, she will eventually ask you questions.  Use age-appropriate language when answering, be honest, try not to avoid the topic – it may come up when you don’t feel like talking about the subject, and do expect the same questions over and over.  This is how small children incorporate the idea of death.  It is hard for them to understand.  Repetition helps.  “S/he was too sick to stay with us and be a family on earth”  is a gentle way to help her understand until she is older and better equipped for as much detail as you feel you can share.  Be prepared to cry sometimes and that is OK.  You can tell her you are glad to have her but not to have her brother/sister makes you feel sad. You are helping her learn that life is not always fair, there are loving people around her nevertheless and she is not to blame because he/she died.  She will no doubt ask you at some point if the loss was her fault.  It is not her fault, not your fault, nor her Dad’s. It was something sad that happened and you would change it if you could, but you can’t.

I hope these are some helpful ideas.  Please accept my sincere condolences on your loss. 

Elie Wiesel

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

— Elie Wiesel

Memories

Everybody needs their memories.  They keep the wolf of insignificancy from the door.

~~Sol Bellow

 

There is a wonderful support organization in the United States called Twinless Twins who offers support and resources for multiples of all ages who have lost their co-multiple at any point in their lives.  They can be reached at http://www.twinlesstwins.org    They have support Chapters all over the United States and an annual convention, sometimes in Southern Canada as well.

There are also several books about being a twinless twins (a term used even for loss within a higher order multiple set of multiples):  Living Without Your Twin by Betty Jean Case;  The Survivor, by Lynne Schulz;  Who Moved the Sun? a tribute to the loss of a twin brother; and Twin Loss by Raymond William Brandt.  As well, my Site at http://www.jumelle.ca has articles and resources for survivors who might appreciate them.

I am so sorry for your loss.