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The 2017 Dr. Brandt Memorial Award Recipient

Photo of past TTSGI presidents giving Sandra an award

By Renie Halford, twin to Ernie

Dr. Brandt passed away almost one day to the year before I joined TTSGI. Though I did not personally know him, I know much about him. I do have the good fortune of knowing all the recipients of the Dr. Brandt Award. Each of them has made huge personal and resource contributions to TTSGI.

I am especially pleased with this year’s recipient, Sandra Brown. Sandra joined TTSGI in 2002, same as I, one year after the death of her beloved twin, Sammy. She has been a stalwart to the organization: involvement in regional meetings and activities, attendance at the annual conferences, a member of the conference committee and a dedicated board member.

The Board of Directors at that time was overjoyed when she was nominated to become a member. She immediately became a productive decision maker and a strong render of service and resources. Along with her own talent, she brought that of her husband, John, who became an integral part of what we do (Sadly, John passed away a few years ago).

For my wife LeAnn and me, Sandra was our first friend in TTSGI. It has now been 15 years since. Each year we cherish her more.

Radio Interview with TTSGI Executive Director

Open to Hope Foundation® is a non-profit foundation with the mission of helping people find hope after loss. Their radio program has shared over 500 interviews on topics of grief, loss, hope and healing. This week they share with us an interview of TTSGI’s Executive Director Michelle Getchell who talks about twin loss. Click here to listen to the full interview.

Our TTSGI Facebook Group: You are invited to participate!

by: Michelle Getchell, twin to Missy

Did you know that TTSGI has a FB group, which has almost 2,000 members? This FB group consists of both TTSGI members and non-members. We use this FB group as an outreach for TTs looking for support. On average 20 new contacts a week are joining our FB group. Our goal is to encourage and provide a safe haven for TTs to share honestly and candidly about their twin loss. Our FB group also serves as a way to help TTs (when ready) to get involved in the bigger community of TTSGI and become a member. Twinless twins from all over the world, with losses ranging from days to years, are participating in conversations, sharing their story, and offering their support – demonstrating “Healing by Helping”. We invite you to join our FB group: Click Here!

This FB group is moderated by eight of our amazing, faithful, dedicated TT members: Alice, Dawn, Sarah, Wilmette, Rob, Carol, Jane, Beverly – Thank You Moderator Team!

Questions? Please contact one of the moderators or send your email to contact@twinlesstwins.org and we will pass it to a moderator for you!

2016 Angel Award Recipient

Our “Angel”, Joan, twin to Jean
By Sandy , twin to Jim

At our recent National Conference in Detroit, I had the privilege of presenting the “Angel Award” to Joan, twin to Jean. I have known and worked with Joan for seven years. She is the Regional Coordinator for the North Central region and she has been the recording secretary for all our RC meetings and phone calls.

Joan is selfless, compassionate, kind and generous. When I came across this definition for an angel, I thought of Joan- “a person who can brighten up the worst day only with a smile, a person who can make life bearable with the sound of their voice, a person who you have come to love.” And we have come to love Joan!

In Joan’s own words, “As the Regional Coordinator for the TTSGI North Central region for the last seven years, I have helped twins connect with each other within a seven-state area: Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Even though I lead a busy life, as the owner of a personal chef company, I have often said, “This (being Regional Coordinator) is the most important thing that I do with my life.” My work with the Twinless Twins organization is my way of connecting and healing, and also of honoring Jean. When I help others, I help myself. More specifically, I feel that JEAN is helping others, through me. This is especially significant because of the fact that Jean took her own life. As horrendous as that was, I must recognize that some lives are better because of it. Her unspeakable act has also made the world a better place, through my work with TTSGI.”

joan-awardWhen Joan had the opportunity to spend the winter months in Seattle this year, she used her time organizing a Twinless Twins regional meeting which included twins from Western Canada, Washington and Oregon. Currently there is no Regional Coordinator for that region. She saw a need in that area and filled it. Aided by the past Regional Coordinator, Pamela Fender, she assembled a list of potential attendees. This work for Twinless Twins filled her days, gave her a purpose and created a bigger twin “family” for her. It was truly a labor of love. On March 6, 2016, at noon, thirteen twins and two spouses met at the Best Western Plus Executive Inn, near the Space Needle. Half a dozen or so of them met the night before, in the hotel lounge. They laughed and cried, and shared stories with strangers who are now forever family.

In her “other” life, besides her work as a personal chef, she is a wife, mother and grandmother. One of my favorite things about Joan is that she makes me laugh! Laughter is one of the greatest gifts my twin gave to me. Thank you Joan for sharing this gift with all of us! Joan’s name is usually the first name on our attendee roster at every conference. If you look closely you will see that her name includes the word angel! We congratulate Joan, twin to Jean and thank her for her years of service to TTSGI!

In Memoriam: Betty Jean Case

Betty Jean Case passed away peacefully on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2015, in Portland, Oregon, at the age of 96. She was born November 13, 1919, with her twin sister Fay. Betty was the proud grandmother of twin boys and had twin brothers, so her curiosity of twin relationships and behavior inspired a research project that would result in three published books, including Living Without Your Twin and an offer to appear on Oprah. Her works took her all over the world for speaking engagements providing insight and comfort to twins everywhere.

A Tribute to Betty Jean Case
By Miriam Brandt-Doetsch

I feel privileged to have been a friend of Betty Jean Case and her husband, Dr. Laurel Case. They attended the first Twinless Twins Conference ever held in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, home of the founder Dr. Raymond Brandt, my late husband. She had come to Indiana for the express purpose of talking “twin loss” with Raymond. She, herself, an identical twin whose twin was still alive, had written books on being a twin, but wanted to research and write about twin loss. And, who better to talk with than Dr. Brandt! Both of them were twins. Dr. Brandt lost his twin at age 21 but Betty Jean’s sister was still living.

During that first meeting, they spent hours discussing the difference between survival and loss. And, out of that meeting and subsequent meetings as well as phone conversations, they began to write articles for magazines and books on “twin loss”. Talking about the problems that arise from twin loss was so new at the time and the two of them were passionate about researching and writing articles and books on their research in order to open the door for more conversation and future research on this subject.

Betty Jean was a very gracious, humble, giving lady. And I do mean lady. She was one you just enjoyed being with a lot. I visited her twice after Raymond’s death and though there were many years of age difference, we had such fun. She was so happy whenever I called, and she always made me feel happy and privileged just talking with her. Dr. Brandt so enjoyed our western trip to Oregon for both of them to work on their writings, but the four of us took a trip to the seacoast as well to the mountain where their son has a home. Not much writing but a lot of talk and deep friendship. Such a precious time.

She graciously gave Twinless Twins her copies and rights of her book, Living Without Your Twin. Many twinless have been helped with their grief because of her writings of such a dear topic to her, for she knew she would be twinless one day as well. Betty Jean once told me that besides being there for her family, she felt she had “fulfilled a need for being there for twins, something that the Lord placed in her heart.” I sincerely agreed.

Happy Holidays

Greetings Fellow Twinless Twins,

The winter issue of the Twinless Times Newsletter is in the mail on it’s way to TTSGI members! This issue is packed with wonderful stories, notes, updates from our Regions, book reviews, and a holiday message from our President. The newsletter is a great way to stay connected and keep on top of the happenings at TTSGI. Though we now have gone to our electronic newsletter for the spring through fall issues, we have kept the winter issue as one we mail to our members – we hope you enjoy! There have been some great additions to our TTSGI Store. Take a moment and check out the new TT swag, books, and various items offered just in time for holiday shopping. Make your purchase by December 17 to ensure its delivery before Christmas. This is another great way to support the organization.

The holidays, though exciting and filled with family and friends, can be a time that our twins are missed the most. The grief can be powerful and isolating. Remember you are not alone. We do holidays together as one big TT family. Please take advantage of the resources on this website. We have articles that you can download, recommended books, and resources in our store for anyone to take advantage of. For TTSGI members, you have access to audio recordings of past conference speakers, as well as past newsletters that you can download. This information is there at your fingertips available when you need it most.

Though we are months away, the planning of the 2015 conference is in full swing. Please make plans to join us July 23-26, 2015 in Nashville, TN. The conference is open to all TTSGI members and their guests. The Keynote speaker will be Mitch Carmody (top speaker for Compassionate Friends). This will be a weekend set aside for sharing, laughing, crying, learning, healing, and remembering our twins. Look for the latest information on the events page of our website.

Happy Holidays from your TTSGI Family!

Remembering Darcie Sims

pictures of darcie sims

Darcie Sims, Ph.D, was a bereaved parent and child and a grief management specialist. She was a nationally certified thanatologist, a certified pastor bereavement specialist, and a licensed psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. She was the author of many books and produced multiple vidoes, including the award-winning video series Good Grief. She was an internationally recognized speaker and Editor for the Bereavement magazine, as well as a writer for Grief Digest. She was also president and co-founder of GRIEF, Inc. The impact Darcie had on countless lives was astounding.

The impact she had, and continues to have, on the Twinless Twins Support Group Intl. is one that has rescued many from the painful journey of grief. Darcie had a way of bringing joy and hope into the darkest places. It is hard to believe that a twinless twin would ever laugh when talking about grief and loss. But that is just what we were able to do when Darcie was our keynote conference speaker. Darcie’s real-life approach to grief allowed us to feel sane. Her wit and candor were refreshing at a time when many of us desperately needed it. Though not a twinless twin herself, she had a way of understanding and being sensitive to our unique loss. We felt safe and understood and most importantly loved.

Darcie used to say, “May love be what you remember most.”  These words describe exactly how we will remember Darcie. She was a woman of strength and beauty and she will forever be missed.

You can hear Darcie Sims on Good Mourning for free. Click Here.

2012 Conference Recap

The 2012 TTSGI Conference was a great success. Over 39% of our attendees were there for the first time. We also had many members in attendence that we had not seen in 5-8 years. It is such a comfort to know there is a place to come to when you are ready and need support!

One of the highlights of the conference being in Dublin, OH was the Memorial Walk. To see all of the twinless twins walking on the path together seemed so symbolic of our grief journey. It was such a treat to watch several new friendships being formed. We love how twinless twins who never knew each other before come together and have an instant loving bond. We are always amazed when the former “first time attendees” return a year later and seem to be in a much better place. We can only assume it is because they found hope and support through new twinless friends.

Plans are already being made for the 2013 Conference, which will be in Los Angeles, CA. The date has been set for July 18-21. Save the date – hope to see everyone there!!

Click here to watch a slideshow from the conference!
Song is titled “A Little Farther Down the Road” by Alan Pedersen.

Survey: Loss of a Twin

Dr. Nancy L. Segal is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Twin Studies Center, at California State University, Fullerton. She has been studying the twin relationship and the behavioral consequences of twin loss for a number of years. Dr. Segal is also the author of Indivisible by Two: Lives of Extraordinary Twins and Entwined Lives: Twins and What They Tell Us About Human Behavior.

Dr. Segal acknowledges that the loss of a twin is an experience that deserves considerable professional attention. She has invited twinless twins to participate in a study of how twin loss affects the surviving twin partner and other family members. Results from her study can teach a great deal about how counselors and other psychological professional may assist twins and their families in dealing with such loss. It is beneficial for the public to be informed about the unique aspects of twinship. If you are 15 years, or older, consider completing Dr. Segal’s survey. Click here to download the survey. Completing this survey is voluntary.

“Beginning with the End” – A New Book by Mary R. Morgan

In 1961, Michael Rockefeller, son of then-governor of New York State, Nelson A. Rockefeller, mysteriously disappeared off the remote jungle-lined coast of southern New Guinea. Amidst the glare of a worldwide front-page news event, the governor, along with his daughter Mary, Michael’s twin, set off on a futile search, only to return empty handed and empty hearted. What followed were Mary’s 27-year repression of her grief and an unconscious denial of her twin’s death, which haunted her relationships and controlled her life.

In this startlingly frank and moving memoir, “Beginning with the End”, Mary R. Morgan struggles to claim an individual identity, enabling her to face Michael’s death and the huge loss it engendered. With remarkable candor, she shares her spiritually evocative healing journey, which moves her forward into a life of new beginnings and meaning, especially in her work with others who have lost a twin.

Mary R. Morgan provides fascinating insight into the unique challenges and complexities of twin bereavement, while showing how much it has to teach about the subject of grieving and healing from any deep personal loss. As a therapist, she discusses her work with the twin survivors of the 9/11 World Trade Center disaster and shares the difficulties of healing in a culture that fears death and offers little time for grieving.

Powerful, honest, inspiring, “Beginning with the End” chronicles a remarkable journey of grief, healing, and a reengagement with life. Ultimately, it is a story of hope, remembrance, and reconnection to the twin bond and to Michael’s spirit that will forever touch hers.

Purchase your copy today!