For Surviving Co-Multiples
WHO MOVED THE SUN? , A twin remembers, Ron McKenzie, D.E.M. Publishing, paperback, 94 pages, US$24.95, ISBN 978-0-578-04753-9
We know multiples are bonded in the womb and research has shown that they are aware of each other certainly by 18 weeks gestation. The bond they have with each other is well established before any bonding with their parents, which occurs after birth. Multiples have a unique relationship and are usually very in tune with each other, especially monozygotics (identicals). While dizygotics (fraternals) are basically siblings born at the same time, they too have a special connection and it isn’t recommended that anyone interfere with that relationship either. Multiples arrive together but it is quite unlikely that they will depart this earth together. We need to understand what it is like for the survivors and how better to support them as they make the adjustment to the loss of their “other half.”
It has taken a long time before healthcare professionals, counselors, doctors, funeral directors, and others have paid particular attention to the unique relationship between multiples and thankfully this is changing. It is changing because surviving co-multiples are writing about and sharing their feelings, pain, guilt, emptiness and sense of despair at losing their co-multiple. Such survivors have come to be known as Twinless Twins or Lone Twins.
Ron McKenzie’s book about his relationship with his monozygotic brother, Don, and his brother’s death at age 62 years in 2008 is one of those books that clearly sets out the dynamics of a multiples’ unique relationship. Ron shares his pain, love, and details of their relationship and what it meant for both of them. Succinctly, Ron shares: “You may be in heaven, Don, but I am in hell.” It is not an easy step from spending a life time as “we” and having to become “I.” When 61 birthdays have been shared, when shaving in the morning becomes a painful memory of losing Don, and the treasures of texting each other or speaking on the phone each day are no longer an option, no wonder it feels like ‘hell.’
McKenzie’s book is a must-read for a first hand account of not only a tribute to a much-loved twin brother, but an eye-opening journey to better understanding what it means to lose a co-multiple, the consequences and the loneliness while still trying to continue on. Only by understanding when it means to lose your co-multiple can we, as a society, reach out to better offer help, resources and support.
The Survivor , Lynne Schulz, 2003, Pleasant World – with Foreward by Lynda P. Haddon
Living Without Your Twin , Betty Jean Case, Tibbutt Publishing
The Lone Twin: Understanding Twin Bereavement and Loss , Joan Woodward, 1998, Free Association Books
The End of the Twins: A Memoir of Losing a Brother, by Saul Diskin, The Overlook Press
Twin Loss: A Book for Survivor Twins, by Raymond Brandt, Courier Printing Co.