Being a Twinless Twin

As a twinless twin, 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 twin-loss 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.

Support for Twinless Twins

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.

The Loneliness of Twin-loss

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.

Never Forget Your Twin

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.

Learn more about Twinless Twins Support Group International

Read more by Linda Pountney: What It’s Like to Lose a Twin – Open to Hope

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Linda Pountney

Linda Pountney is the past Vice President of Twinless Twins Support Group International, 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.

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