Dear Dr. Heidi,
I am a doctoral student in the School of Nursing at Columbia and I just listened to your show on twin loss. My name is Kevin Johnson, and I had a wonderful twin brother named Kelvin Johnson. Kelvin died February 25, 2007. It is a loss that I do not know how to move on in life with. As I heard in the show, it truly is like another half of me is gone. I started this program shortly after his death, and it has been one of the most difficult years in my life. The pain of knowing he is gone is so great, that I can’t even think about it. I have to push it out of my mind, just to get through the day without him. He was my best friend an confidant. I have spent this year trying to focus on school and this program and trying not to deal with his death. Although, I have three other brothers, they have dealt with the loss and have moved on. They seem to act as if he was never alive or a part of my life. Maybe that is their way of not knowing how to talk with me or understand how I feel.
I just wanted to e-mail and say thanks for having this on your program. As a student here at Columbia, I just felt nice to hear someone from the same school talk about this loss.
Kevin Johnson, twin to Kelvin
Dr. Heidi’s Response
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your twin brother Kelvin. Although I have lost a brother also, I know that the death of a twin is a very unique loss and one that many people don’t fully understand. Twins share a very close intense bond, and as you’ve said losing Kelvin was like losing a part of yourself. I am glad that you found our show on twin loss helpful. Kelvin has only been gone for a little over a year and it is understandable that you are having difficulty moving on without him. Being that you are in a graduate program, I can certainly understand why you need to “push him out of your mind” in order to concentrate on your studies. You are very courageous to be embarking on a graduate program at this time in your life and I give you a lot of credit.
It sounds like you do not have a lot of support from your siblings, and you may need to teach them how to be good grief support, and let them know what you need at this time. I would also reach out to others in the “twin loss community” and go to http://twinlesstwins.org/ so that you do not feel alone in your grief. You might also find the counseling center at Columbia to be helpful, as it will give you a safe place to talk about your feelings. All the best in your graduate studies.