Mourning

Alicia shares her story of loss. After losing her second twin, she is mourning the loss of one child while trying to be present for the one she is still carrying.

I have been blessed with a 2 yr old daughter whose name is Abigail. 4 weeks ago my husband and I were having a ultrasound (I was 6 wks) and discovered two babies with heartbeats! We laughed and joked all day.

We were told [it was] early [in our pregnancy and] not to get overjoyed just yet. It looked as if they were in the same sac which can lead to problems later (cord entanglement, twin to twin transfusion etc) so for the next 4 weeks we worried and waited. I just had my second ultrasound yesterday at 10 weeks…

The first twin [was] actively moving and with a strong heartbeat….we saw what we had prayed for…two seperate membranes…(two seperate sacs). However, the second twin was one week smaller and had no heartbeat…

I am now mourning the loss of one child while trying to be happy for the one I am still carrying but it is very difficult. It has been nice to read the other stories and I thought I would share mine as well.

Alicia

Memories to Cherish

My name is Cynthia and I’m the mother of two precious angels. I was pregnant with fraternal twins and at 18 weeks, my cervix started to dilate and I was rushed to the hospital so a cerclage [Editor’s Note: a method of binding or stitching the cervix closed in the hopes of prolonging a pregnancy] could be put in place. I was told the risk of miscarrying was still high because the membrane was showing when I went to my doctor’s office.

Therefore, my doctor had to push my amniotic sac up to insert the stitch. If an infection started because of these procedure, my body would naturally abort my baby. I was kept at the hospital for a few days after the procedure ( which is normally and outpatient procedure) for safety precautions. I was sent home and my water ruptured. I went to the emergency room and again was admitted to the hospital after a couple of days, I lost Jacob when I went the restroom with no signs this would happen. They had just taken me off the contraction monitor and nothing registered. I didn’t know what to expect a 19 week fetus to look like so I was extremely scared. I had an awesome nurse that convinced to look at my baby and hold him did and my parents arranged a funeral for him.

I stayed in the hospital because I still had my other angel to hold on to. Everything looked fine and my doctor was positive that she was a keeper. Unfortunately, after 11 days of being in the hospital I was sent home and after 3 days my water broke. The cerclage was kept in so I could try to carry the baby a little longer but I was 21 weeks and the percentage was 0% that a baby that young would survive. I started running a fever so labor had to be induced and my precious Celeste was born. I was asked if I wanted to put her on a respiratory monitor and hold her until she passes on her on.

It was a tough decision but I held her until she passed. Seeing her breath and move in my arms was tough but I will always have those memories to cherish. They are buried side by side in our family plot and I’m writing these to inform those if you experiencing loss that life does go on. Take it day by day and you will become stronger. Take pictures of your babies and hold them to tell them good-bye. Contact me if you’d like at cinzia6801@yahoo.com, I’ll be your support and you can be mine.

Take care and God Bless,

Cynthia mother of Jacob Preston born 4/22/03 and Celeste Marie born 5/7/03

Loss of Hope

Finding out I was having twins was not a big surprise since multiple sets run on my father’s side of the family. Everything went extremely well for this, my first pregnancy. I couldn’t complain at all. My cravings were fruit and popsicles. At 24 weeks at a routine ultrasound it was noticed that my cervix hadopened quite a bit and I was admitted into the hospital on strict bedrest. At 28 weeks I woke with a lot of pain and tests showed my babies had ‘twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS)” and Baby B was not recieving any fluids. I had an emergency c-section and had two beautiful identical girls, born May 2, 2002.

Fayth weighed 1 lb-15 oz and Hope 1 lb-12oz. They were beautiful despite all the wires and tubes connected with them. There were no real problems right away but rule of thumb for TTTS is that Baby A will have the most severe problems since it had to work so hard to get fluids over to Baby B.

On Mother’s Day the doctor’s told us that Hope was ill and they were going to have to operate. The doctors had found blood in her stool and she was very weak. It was such a horrible feeling, knowing there was nothing I could do to help.

As it turned out, Hope’s large intestine was removed due to an infection called NEC. She had a colostomy which I knew I could handle as long as I had my little girl. But she was not getting any better and the doctors came to us a week later stating that there was nothing they could do and we were going to have to let her go.

I just sat there. I had no idea how to react. My head was spinning and I was feeling sick to my stomach. The doctor explained all her health problems and that she wouldn’t make it through another operation, even if they tried. After a few minutes, he began to tell us that Fayth was sick as well and they suspected the same illness. I just could not believe this was happening to us! I had done everything right and could feel just how spunky they were when they were inside me. How could this be happening now?

Fayth ended up having the operation that evening, taking out her appendix. She seemed to be handling it very well. A couple of days later, Hope was removed from all of her tubes and we held her as she left. Just before she left she looked up and gave me one last smile. I can still see that smile. It will never go away. We lost her at 26 days old. I have never felt so helpless in all my life. But I now had Fayth to keep strong for. How is it [possible] to grieve and be happy both at the same time? I will never know how we got through it.

Fayth got well really quickly which we felt was too good to be true. Those couple of weeks are a blur and I had huge ache in my heart, knowing what the two of them had gone through.

Fayth is now 13 months old and is doing great. She is doing all the things she is supposed to do at her correct age and has had no problems thus far. Again, too good to be true. We have just passed the first anniversary of Hope’s passing and it was an extremely hard day. The guilt is so strong. As mothers we automatically feel as if we have to protect them and when we can’t, we feel it’s our fault. I’m not sure that it [this feeling] will go away. I go over and over all the things I feel I could have done in my head and wonder if…….? But I have Fayth now and seeing her makes me smile all the time. I love being with her and am glad I have her. Fayth being an identical twin, I can picture what Hope would’ve looked like as I watch Fayth grow. Despite how much it hurts – it’s also very heartwarming to know that Fayth now has her own Guardian Angel.

Norma-lee from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

The death of my identical twin sister

Hello, My name is Marsha Sherly, identical twin to Marilyn Sharon, who killed herself two years ago. I am 57 now. We had a triplet-like sister born a year after us. We were all born in the month of August. That sister killed herself when she was 27. Our parents did not want to have triplets, or kids for that matter.

I would love to meet triplets or twins or twinless or tripletless people. I never met a triplet in my life and really do want to.

I live by the beach in California and love to paint pictures of twins and triplets. I deal with the death of my twin through painting. I paint for a chiropractor and he gives me my treatment for free. Marilyn and I were (each) born with serious back problems.

I am very friendly and would love to meet you. I belong to the twinless twin club. I met a twinless twin named Monica and talk to her every day.

Thanks for listening. I am suffering a lot without my twin. We did everything the same for 55 years. I feel brain dead without her.

Marsha Harris

Growing Up Twinless

Hi, I wanted to take the opportunity to share my story of what it’s like to grow up twinless. The few accounts I’ve read of before echo thoughts and feelings I have had and have helped me to replace some of the confusion with understanding. I hope that my sharing is able to help someone in some small way such as I’ve been helped.

My story begins around my sixteenth birthday when, for some unknown reason, I seemed to have hit a crisis point. I think it was the thoughts of suicide that really brought me to a point that things were as bad as they seemed. All I knew was what I told my mother on those many evenings when I would seek her out in the hopes that she might help me out of my pain. She would usually be ironing or doing some other household chore when I would enter the room and make my presence known. That’s about all I seemed able to achieve because when I tried to say something, the words wouldn’t come out. There were a couple of times though when in between the tears, I’d say “Mom, I don’t think I was made for this world.” I hadn’t found out yet that I had been one of twins and that my brother had died while still inutero. I could feel that I was creating an awkward situation for my mother. She told me later that she felt deeply for me, but just didn’t know of anything to say or do to make me better. Often, I would become angry with her.

For years, when I seemed to reach bottom, I would seek her out or someone else I thought that might be able to help me. I saw ministers, counselors and even tried to talk to a few friends, but I often walked away feeling more frustrated than anything. I did have this Sunday School teacher named Carol, who incidentally was a twin, whom I really bonded with. My own mother oftentimes became jealous and said many painful things that would keep me home in my room, alone, rather than with Carol. Though, as with the others, I couldn’t talk to Carol, I did feel something akin to a soothing effect around here.

The series of events that led up to me learning about my twinship began when a friend of mine suggested that I go to see this lady who was a psychic. Having come from a very religious home, I at first felt like this wasn’t an option for me, but I was desperate for someone to help me and so any hesitation I had soon melted away. I took my friend’s offer up and copied the lady’s phone number down. From a pay phone, I called her up to schedule a sitting and she gave me the day, time and place. I hung up, not placing very much hope in what I might encounter, but then a little hope was better than none.

I showed up at designated place and time and have to say that my first impression of things wasn’t a very good one. I could’ve just left, but I thought ‘I have nothing to lose’ so I stayed. And just in case she
might actually be psychic, I told her on our way back to her kitchen that I didn’t want to know anything about my future.

After I sat down opposite her at the kitchen table, she took out a set of regular playing cards with alot of marks on them. I didn’t know what the marks meant, but wondered for a minute where I could get a set 🙂 She had me separate them and then she shuffled them and laid them out into groups. She asked if I was going to become a minister, to which I replied “My parents would like me to.” She moved on to describe my parents and did a pretty good job, but still, I felt that she could have gathered all this from my demeanor and what had transpired from the moment I walked through the door.

Then… She told me that I had died near the beginning of my life. I was shocked! How could she know this? I knew that 8 hours after I was born my lungs collapsed and I had a near death experience that lasted 4 1/2 minutes. I confirmed her claim and listened on. She then stated that my mother was in labor for almost two weeks after I was born. I never heard of this and so I couldn’t confirm or deny it so she asked that I check with my mother and get back to her. Next, she asked if I had a twin. Again, I told her that my mother never said anything about a twin and again, she asked me to check with my mother and get back to her. She said that she was going to continue despite my uncertainty. What follows was her telling me that I did have a twin and that originally, I had been the one that had died and he the one that lived to be born and then undergo that near death experience I mentioned earlier. She told me that we were both there when the doctor was resuscitating him and that he had let me come into the body. Everything she said seemed to turn my world topsy turvy, but yet it was a world [which] resonated with me.

That night, I had dream. I was lying in my bed and feeling so alone as I usually did when I felt this brush against my arm. I didn’t need to look over because I could feel him. The only way to describe the experience was of everything that moved in me, all my feelings of lonliness and confusion, came to rest. This image came to my mind of this necklace with two pieces that had been broken into shards had come back together.

I rolled over and used my arm to raise my head as I looked at him. I asked “Who are you?” He replied “You know who I am.” I laughed. “yeah, I know who you are.” I said. I asked “How long have you been here?” He said “I’ve always been here.” I responded “Yes, I think I knew that.” Just then I yawned and he said “you’re tired. you should get some sleep.” I said “oh no, if I close my eyes, you’ll go away.” He said “No, I’ll always be here.” I did end up falling asleep by his side and then while still dreaming, time had passed so that it had become morning. My mother came into to wake me up, but in the course of the night I had fallen off of the bed leaving him to be the one she woke up. When I had heard her come in, I had stayed low so she couldn’t see me. After she left, we laughed that she had confused him for me and then the scene changed again and it was getting dark suddenly. I found myself out on our front porch looking down at my watch. The dream scene began to fade and I heard his voice saying “I’ll be back.”

While I was afraid during the first day to ask my mother about the things the psychic lady wanted me to, after the dream, I just had to know the truth and so, during a car ride to my grandmother’s house, I asked her.

I began with the question “Mom, were you in labor after I was born?” She jerked the staring wheel sending us off onto the birm as she turned to look at me in the back seat. “Who told you?” she asked me. I said “This lady.” She said “Yes, I was in labor, for almost 2 1/2 weeks.” “After you were born, the doctor had left the afterbirth in me,” I spoke over what she had said next as I then asked “Did I have a twin?”

She answered in the affirmative telling me that after being rushed to the emergency room because she couldn’t walk anymore, the doctors had removed the afterbirth and later reported to her that there had been a second baby, fully formed, but [whom] had stopped growing.” She told me that she never told anyone, not even my father about my twin. I came clean then about having visited this psychic lady who told me this and rather than getting chastized, was meant with a response that was more like awe and wonder about who this lady was.

Over the next 18 years (I’m now 34) I would have my mother repeat the story of my and my brother’s birth because it all still feels so unreal. Yet, I can feel its truth in my heart and over the years have come to make sense of much of my feelings and thoughts that seemed alien to me before. For instance, since I first encountered a black rose and its significance (age 11), I had alway requested one for my birthday. It was just one more thing that confirmed my grandmother’s statement that I was a strange child. I also had/have the habit of buying two pairs of shoes, two shirts, all two of the same. Even knowing what I know today still isn’t enough to squelch it. There’s also my odd habit of oftentimes referring to “we” rather than to me. I don’t really seem to be aware of this until it is brought to my attention by others. When I was around 12 years old, I remember reading this book called “Sybil” about a woman with multiple personalities and I would then go around telling people I had multiple personalities. Actually, I didn’t bear any of the symptoms of the disorder, but there was this one thing that Sybil reported and that was that she felt double. It was the only way I knew then to express how I felt. Of course, this too would startle my parents and relatives who just thought I was overly imaginative and had odd interests. Fast forward to when I turned 32. Since finding out at 16 years old that I had a twin brother, I found some measure of peace and understanding say for instance, of why I was always seeking out some other guy to bond with (an attempt to find a surrogate) or spending my last dime to buy a second pair of something that I didn’t need a second pair of.

It was at 32 though, that a lot of unrest came back to me. I could see that over the previous 10 years I had been struggling with issues of identity and career. And then there was this feeling, a pulling that was always present and would intensify whenever I wasn’t doing anything. So I would keep busy, but I could still feel it there dimly in the background. I knew what it was and it brought up all these thoughts and feelings. On one hand, I would ask myself if my twin were here, would he approve of me and what I did? What would it be like if he were here now or if he had been here instead of me? On the other hand, I wanted to deny him. How could someone I never knew have so much of an impact on me? I get angry and I don’t understand this. Yet I still have my mother recount the words she spoke so many times before “the doctor said there
had been a twin but..”

Last year, after a particularly difficult weekend, my mother had returned from a trip so excited to see me because of something she had wanted to share. She had been unaware of my depression the night before, of wondering what life would have been like if he had survived. She told me that in a dream she had the night before, that she and my father were returning from the casino when she was entering into the restaurant at the hotel when she was told that a table was being held for her. As she walked over to where it was at, she saw this guy from behind and when she got nearer he turned. She gasped she said because here was this guy who looked exactly like me, yet sheknew that I was not there because I had to work. She asked him “who are you?” and he smiled (she said she has my smile). He said his name was Nathaniel. She told him to wait right there while she went to get me, but as she walked away she woke up. Upon hearing this, I got this strong sense, as if he is somewhere living his life and though we are apart, we are each living out our lives to their completion until the day we won’t be separated again ever.

Today, I live day by day. With the help of Twinless Twins and opportunities to share my story I find some quieting of the pulling within me. It’s a compulsion I have to share with others, my twinship, not letting people miss this very important part of who I am despite the fact they might not be able to see otherwise. Sometimes, I feel as if I am leading two separate lives. Currently, I work as a dorm parent at a boarding school, but during the summers, spend an inordinate amount of time in Quebec volunteering.

There is the “French” me and then there is the “English” me. Though it can be exhausting at times, it feels natural and right. Yet there is still something that doesn’t seem quite right. When I come to think of a wife and children, which I feel my life incomplete without with, I can’t imagine any other person in my life meaning as much to me as my twin.

Because of this, I seem to be frozen in the feelings I come to have for others.

What the future [will] hold for me, I’m not sure. But despite my many struggles, including my struggle to believe in an afterworld and an existence beyond physical death. I hold onto the last words I heard in that dream before I awoke. “I’ll be back.”

Co-Multiple story of loss and unanswered concerns

As a co-multiple who has lost his twin, I’m looking at your site and have decided to attempt to connect, although I’m getting very frustrated in my efforts to learn about my own loss and how it has affected me. My identical twin was killed in a car wreck 40 years ago when we were 18.

Rather than grieving, I just went forward with the momentum of my life. I was smart, athletic, engaged. Life went on. My two remaining brothers and my parents did not share our grief and our family began to drift apart.

In my 20s, I dropped out of college, protested the draft and the war in Vietnam, found a passionate interest in woodworking (it runs in the family). I was willing to live on nothing for several years while I learned on my own. Was this struggle to do it on my own a sign of trouble? I also began to become very frustrated at my difficulty forming a good intimate, long lasting love relationship. I was experiencing more and more loneliness as my crowd slowly drifted into their careers and families.

I finally fell in love, got married at 40, bought a home, had a child, and spent the last 18 years fighting to do my craft, build the home and garden, be a very involved dad, and support my wife at home. It’s been an exhausting struggle, but I felt happy and fulfilled. Until my wife announced that she was leaving, last January, siting “my abusive anger”.

This has rocked my whole world. I was not very aware of my anger. I figured we had normal marital conflicts and thought we’d eventually work it out. Except that my wife was getting more and more distant and unwilling to have serious talk about our issues. So now I’m alone, working very hard to understand what has happened, and always coming back to all the grief and loneliness I feel in missing my twin.

My woodworking seems to be at a dead end, my family is still in conflict and can’t be relied upon, and I feel distant from my community no matter how hard I try to engage. I’ve slowly lost all the good Buddies I had to share my interests with, although I have many good friends, they just don’t seem to be there for the closeness I crave.

I’ve been trying to look into the twinless groups, but have been unable to find anyone who can share knowledge or experience about how being twinless may be causing me to loose all those I feel close to and to always end up feeling so desperately alone. I am looking for answers more than just sympathetic support.

Yours, Richard

It Should Have Been Her – A Surviving Co-Multiple’s Story

The cold words were a sharp slap across my face. This wasn’t what I needed or wanted to hear. I craved the warm, welcoming softness of a mother’s embrace – not these cruel words of betrayal.

Hiding in the garden within the shadows of the trees, I reminded myself that I had always walked in my twin brother’s shadow, trying to siphon off some scraps of the love that Mother showered him with. Why had I expected it to be different now?

Mother had never seen us as pair. My brother had always been her shining glory – I was just an unwanted extra that tagged along in the shadows. To the World, we had been two. But knowing that we were really one had given me the strength to stand firm.

But now he was gone. My mother had lost her favoured son, the one through whose eyes God smiled for her, and I had lost a part of my very self.

I tried hard to be quiet as I crept back into the house and upstairs. I didn’t want anyone to see “The One” as she had put it – the cursed one who had lived.

The events of the last few days swirled before my eyes. My brother was ill. I’d crept into his room and squeezed his hand.

“Let me share. We can fight it together,” I had chanted over and over trying to absorb his pain, trying to get him to wake up. He had tried to squeeze back, I know he had. Deep in my heart in the golden chamber that belonged to both of us – I knew!

But as I sat beside him, in walked our mother and she shoved me out of the bedroom. Her jealousy of me I had never understood. There was a constant wall between us and I had grown weary of trying to climb it. Mother resented the fact that my brother and I were a part of each other, co-multiple. She had always wanted him all to herself.,

He had hated her cloying love. His eyes mirrored his pain, when she pushed me aside. But we were children, powerless the way children are at that age.

Snorting and hiccuping, I crept into my twin’s room, which Mother had always shared with him. She had never allowed us to share a room in all of our ten years together. She had always tried to come between us. And now someone else had won. He had gone and I had no one with whom to share my hour of grief.

There on his bed lay his favourite green sweater. I picked it up and held it close. But is was just a piece of clothing – no warmth, not unconditional reassurance in its fibers. It was then that I knew that I was alone, so very alone and that my mother hated me.

The years have gone by and now I am fully grown and my mother his still never acknowledged my grief, as if to punish me for somehow being responsible for his death.

Mother had sent me away during the funeral. I never got to say goodbye. Never again got to squeeze his hand and let him know that I was there and that I loved him.

At sixteen, I ran away from home and have been alone ever since. I have no wish to put down roots and sometimes, when the loneliness is particularly overwhelming, I take out my most precious possession – a faded green sweater. A reminder that I, too, once belonged.

Vinda (pen name), survivor of a childhood disease which claimed her twin brother, British Columbia, Canada

You and I – Poem about loss

God sent you with me
To enter this world.
As I sputtered and gasped for breath I know you were marking
time behind me.
Together we had plotted our escape – from the all encompassing bubble.

Did I push and you shove?
Or did I shove and you push?
Maybe it was a greater force that propelled us head first into life.

Would we have always been close?
Would you always have watched my back?
For the stark bitter truth of reality separated us
Before life had a chance to mould the two of us.
Instead of both of us, I learned and bore the brunt of life’s lessons alone.

With a permanent chill along my spine
Moving on I found warmth and love.
But still the feeling of being unprotected haunts me.
No one watches my back any more.
But life teaches us to fight and survive
All the while knowing
God in his heaven
Knows where, what and why.

Poem by Vinda, who lost her twin brother at aged 5 years, when he succumbed to a childhood disease which they both had contracted.

Twin loss story

Was just messing around on my computer and found your site. I am a 51 yr. old male who lost my identical twin brother due to a car wreck 30 yrs. ago. The years that followed the loss were hell.

I turned to alcohol and drugs. I did not grieve, but tried to prove that I could be both of us. I caved in! 17 yrs after Joe’s death I knew I couldn’t go on. I joined A.A.and have been sober for 12 years using the 12 steps and meeting other twins in the program who had gone through the exact same experiences.

I have allowed myself to go through the grieving process, and turn the whole experience into helping others. I now have a wonderful full life. It took some time, growth, and a lot of understanding friends. Hope my story of loss can be of help to someone.

Thanks, Gene Gallagher