The emotions I felt were mirrored in other twinless twins I met. Just listening, for the first time, to other twins tell their story of loss and what it meant for them to lose their twin had an impact I will never forget. It was a huge gift in my life.
It has been my personal experience that twinloss was echoed in my other losses. As I experienced the death of my mother, I longed for my twin Paula and what we shared. It always came back to an unfinished grief, one I was incapable of comprehending when it happened. My twin lost her life in a small plane crash when we were 21 years old. At an age of vulnerability and invincibility, I shut down when Paula died. It was too much for me to handle. I ran from my grief, only to have it resurface years later. It was frozen in time, waiting for me to thaw. It was a defining moment, to feel understood in my grief as a twin.
The Twinless Twins Support Group International (TTSGI) provides a community of other twins who acknowledge each other’s feelings of loss from the death or removal of their twin. This emotional validation has been a healing force for many since 1986. Other twinless twins provide a safe environment to explore our twinships and heal from a devastating loss.
Instrumental in the healing of thousands of twin, TTSGI serves an audience of increasing numbers. The twinning rate has grown since 1986. Unfortunately an ever-increasing number of twins will search for the tools to grief for their other half, and learn to live without their twin.
Throughout the year, a supportive network of twins exists to help each other. Annual conferences provide additional resources and tools, on a larger scale. It is vital to work through the pain of any loss. Accompanying twinloss is an intense feeling of aloneness. Being in community with other twinless twins who offer support eases this burden.
After the death of one’s twin, it is common for the surviving twin to feel totally alone for the first time in their life. Feeling misunderstood by the majority of people, who are not twins, their isolation is magnified.
Twins are actually born into a relationship with another person, similar to a marriage. Who else is born already in a relationship? Considering this, imagine the shock at losing something, which cannot be replaced, your twin, when all you have ever known is your identity as a twin. A twin’s identity starts before they are born, as they learn to navigate their environment with another person, their co-twin. The time spent in the womb for nine months contributes to one of the deepest bonds studied between two people, the twin bond.
Mysterious to non-twins, magical and envied by some, twins enjoy an attachment to another person; a bond exits between two twins, like no other. This bond is as unique as the pair of twins. Each twin’s loss is as unique as the twin relationship they enjoyed in life. Twinship does not end with death. A “lone twin” is still a twin. A gift from birth cannot be taken away.
It is not necessary for a twinless twin to learn to act as a non-twin, a singleton. “Once a twin, always a twin,” in the words of Dr. Raymond Brandt, the founder of TTSGI. This sentence rings true for many multiples who survive the loss of their other half. Embracing one’s twinship, and moving forward in life, understanding your twin nature and roots, brings comfort and peace. Our twins are close in spirit, and a huge part of who we are today.
It is much like losing a child. We have lost a piece of ourself, our twin. Many of us do not feel whole without our twin. We never “get over” a loss of this magnitude, but we learn to live with it, grow from it, and ultimately live a full life. To get our life back does not mean we are the same…we are different. This is the way it should be.
I will never stop talking about my twin.