Grief Can Surface Any Time

Denial of grief is common and misunderstood. Grief can wait in the wings for a time to surface, when you are better prepared to absorb its lessons. It can be triggered by other losses. Left undone, grief can wreak havoc with your ability to enjoy life and feel positive emotions.

Grief has no time frame. It can be postponed, but never put away.

My identical twin sister Paula Pountney died unexpectedly as her small plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean one Thanksgiving night. We were 21 years old. With the same genes and a shared history, we functioned as a unit growing up. Having our own language and each other as best friends, our reliance grew. Before birth we developed a bond, which would prove hard to break.

I lived my life from age 21 to 39, managing to deny my grief. Unconscious denial served as a protection mechanism. Unable to cope with losing my other half, my grief waited for me. A cloud of feelings burst open, bringing Paula back through time, into my life, releasing me to feel the painful long-denied emotions.

Triggered by my mother’s death, my emotional balance hung on the ebbing and flowing of my grief. A new inner world opened doors to my evolving twinship. Going back in time to heal, I explored who my twin was to me, and who I was in our twinship. Having lived in relationship with another person from before birth, I never expected one of us to leave this world before the other. Our twin connection strengthened our bond of security together.

Her sudden death broke an unspoken vow of protection and twin reliance. My foundation was rocked to the core. Forever changed, I would never enjoy the same innocence about life. Expanding my knowledge of grief and being a twin, I learned new facets of being present for my life.

I cried a billion tears when the dam finally broke. I still cry and I am still healing. My vulnerability opened my heart to compassion. Learning how to give and receive gave life an unexplained richness. My healing continues as I reach out to newly twinless of all ages. Twinless Twins Support Group plays a large role in this.

Linda Pountney 2012

Linda Pountney

More Articles Written by Linda

Linda Pountney is the past Vice President of Twinless Twins Support Group International http://twinlesstwins.org, offering support for twins and other multiples who have lost their twin due to death or estrangement. At the age of twenty-one, Linda’s identical twin sister Paula died in a small plane crash. The effects of this trauma contributed to a delayed onset of Linda’s grief for her twin. Support resources were not available at that time. Without the tools to move forward in her life without her twin, Linda’s grieving process was delayed for years. A mother of two sons, Linda lives in Connecticut with her husband and youngest son. She has been published in national and international craft magazines, most recently on the healing power of scrapbooking. Linda has been a workshop facilitator on sudden traumatic loss, and using scrapbooking as a healing tool to process the emotions associated with grief. Memorializing her twin using the creative process has become a healing ritual for her. She has been a guest on “Healing the Grieving Heart” syndicated Internet radio show. Linda was featured on the television show “Inside Edition,” interviewed for “Good Morning America,” and “Good Housekeeping Magazine” about the effects of losing your twin. She has contributed to several bereavement books. Linda was published in “We Need Not Walk Alone,” the national magazine of The Compassionate Friends; “The Twinless Times Magazine,” “Scrapbook Retailer,” “Craft Trends Magazine,” and numerous trade publications. She is the Twinless Twins Public Awareness Coordinator, editor of “Twin Links” e-newsletter, and the founder of a Yahoo Discussion Group for Twinless Twins. Currently twin loss discussions take place on the facebook group Twinless Twins Support Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/8156469513/

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  • Rachael says:

    Hi Linda, firstly I am sorry for your loss.It sounds like you are on the road to recovery. I have been waiting in the wings for grief to come….funny really isn’t it. I was always told as a child not to cry..so I do not..I have never really for a long long time.
    But latley it is catching up and I do not know what to do about it.
    I am tight chested, and have a huge lump in my throat.

    I avoid feeling to any cost and seem to persuade my body to do other things….My Father and step Mother died 9 years ago in a car accident..I cired once……I know I have alot to cry about from the way I was bought up and alot of loss…But not sure if I want to be in that vulnerable space…..so my Question is…do I keep avoiding? or do I let it go? But how do I let it go? how do I let myself connect with the grief that I have held for so many years…as I will constantly beat myself up for crying…..How can I learn to cry? Maybe you will have an answer…..?

  • Dear Rachael,

    It appears to me that you already answered your own question when you mentioned grief was waiting in the wings for you. You describe your avoidance of feeling the emotions of grief as something that needs to be altered. How long can you move forward in your life, feeling fully, enjoying love and connection, without resolving repressed emotions from delayed grief?

    From my perspective, life gets given back to you to a great extent when you trust in the process and let the grief come in to be felt. Try not to judge yourself so harshly about crying. Vulnerability can open you up to many wonders in life. There is so much energy expended holding feelings in, and then it seeps out, and mistrust or fear in what is coming sets in. Your tight chested feeling and lump in the throat could be part of holding back I can understand not wanting to become vulnerable, but just be kind and gentle to yourself. This could include time for exploring the pent up grief’s effects with a therapist or counselor who specializes in grief or trauma. PTSS could be involved, and a professional will have techniques to make it easier. To move forward, getting in touch with what you are feeling seems essential. How to do this? Contact people who feel safe who knew your family to warmly talk with them. Twin grief is effectively handled by talking with other twins who have lost their twin… come to a Twinless Twins meeting possibly and pick up a couple books about grief and twin loss.