Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘surviving co-multiple’

I have been supporting and writing resources for bereaved parents, grandparents and surviving multiples for over 32 years and a few thoughts come to mind for the latter, i.e. surviving co-multiples (SC). SC, even when they lose their co-multiple in utero, at birth, shortly thereafter or in early childhood, can grieve enormously for their special womb mate(s). Survivors who have had their co-multiple for years and decades before he or she dies, find it extremely hard to go from “We” to “I.” One man stopped shaving when his MZ twin died, because he could not bear looking in the mirror. It is not uncommon for a survivor to want to die, kill themselves, and join their co-multiple.
 
I have thought long and hard about to better prepare, if it is at all possible, the SC for when the time came when they must be alone. Of course there will be difficult days, unbearable grief, fear, loneliness, emptiness, feeling incomplete and so much more. But what if parents did better at the beginning of their multiples’ lives? By better, I mean teaching and encouraging their multiples to not only enjoy their multiple relationship but also be comfortable with being alone and separated from time to time from their co-multiple? Some ideas I have in mind are quite a few “DON’Ts”:
 
-DON’T give them rhyming names, or names which begin with the same letter as this presents them as a package;
-DON’T call them “the twins” or “the triplets” which also presents them as a group and there is no individuality in these labels, nor is their gender known;
-DON’T continually dress them alike. Once again, it presents them as a group and it can impossible to recognize the individual;
-DON’T always take them out only together. Split them up from time to time for errands, groceries, doctor appointments, sleep overs at grandparents and so much more. This helps them be apart, yet they can enjoy each other’s company upon their return. Parents also get one-on-one time;
-DON’T keep doing their hair alike. Let each individual personality shine through;
-DON’T insist they only sleep together or in the same room. Give them each their own space. Room in your house may be a challenge but there are ways to “divide” a room so that each area can reflect the personality of the occupant.
-DON’T insist they be in the same classroom because they are multiples. When possible, let them develop without them always being under their co-multiple’s eye.
-DON’T dress them alike each day for school. This is not only hard on teachers having to use their names and correctly tell them apart, but it is confusing for peers too. Not everyone appreciates your children dressed alike.
-DON’T insist that each be invited to the same parties. This can cause problems for any multiple not originally invited. Allow each to branch out, have their own friends and then do something special with the one not invited.
-DON’T force them to be in the same sports or after school activities. Allow each to shine on their own merits.  Yes it means you drive to only one place, but it also can negatively effect your multiples over the long run.
 
No studies have been put in place to see if any of these ideas would help support SC get through their loss experience later in life, but I wonder if it would be worth a try to see if encouraging and supporting individuality within our multiples would help over the long run. We CANNOT get caught up at the front end of our children’s lives with items that “make parents happy (such as dressing them alike all the time or giving them rhyming names),” when at the end of their lives they will need to face their permanent separation with no tools in their toolbox to cope. There is a good chance that we may not be around to help our survivor cope with the magnitude of their loss so it stands to reason that parents need to look at outfitting their multiples from birth for the time when they will eventually have to stand alone. Based on this, can we not consider some of the above, and maybe other DON’Ts as well, in order to ensure that our survivors have the best chance possible of not choosing the idea of killing themselves in order to be with their co-multiple???
 
For more in depth information on Survivors of Multiple Births, please see my Web Site at http://www.jumelle.ca
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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. 

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

~”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

Books

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

Lynda’s Site

http://www.jumelle.ca

Multiple Births Canada

Loss Support Network

http://www.multiplebirthscanada.org

Twinless Twins Organization   (US)

http://www.twinlesstwins.org

Read Full Post »

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

M.

Hello M,

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,

Lynda

Read Full Post »

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.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/learning-to-live-as-the-last-one-standing_us_57335535e4b001b9acc493fc

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »