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Getting Through the Holidays

By Michelle Getchell, twin to Missy

Apart from the date of loss and birth date, it is the holidays that seem to be some of the hardest times for a twinless twin. There are so many people full of cheer and well wishes, it can weirdly be a reminder that happiness is fleeting. Some twinless may be asking, “How can I be happy when I feel like I am missing part of me?” To a twinless twin, this question makes sense. I know this is a question I asked myself many times.

I remember the first several holiday gatherings without my twin. It was all I could do to sit at the dinner table and contribute to the conversation. I held back tears and was keenly aware of how alone I felt in a room full of family. Please don’t mistake me, I love my family and I had always enjoyed the festivities, but without my twin it did not feel the same. I did not understand life without her and gathering together highlighted that she was gone. It was another reminder that I wanted my twin back – now.

If I am candid, I wanted to avoid it all – gatherings, presents, and people. However, I felt torn to try and please my family. I knew my presence gave them comfort by letting them know that I was surviving. In their eyes they saw me as ok.

This holiday may be one of the first without your twin or it may be one of many you have had to endure. Be assured that the feeling of tension, missing, and longing for your twin makes sense. Remember we do holidays together. You are not alone.

I use the holidays now to remember my twin with joy. Some ways I have done this is to ask my family questions about my twin. I love all stories about her. This fills me and keeps her close in a way I may not have gotten all year. I now look forward to holidays. There was a lot of time and healing for me to be able to say this. Take your time in this process and be good to yourself this holiday season. For more encouragement, feel free to read this article on grieving and coping with loss over the holidays.

“You Are The Light”

The Empty Chair - and article from the twinless times

By Sandy Goad, twin to Jim

Recently, I was reviewing an article in Grief Digest, a magazine that offers hope, and support to those who have lost a loved one. Andrea Gambill writes,

“In the mid-to-late seventies the notion of peer support was viewed by the professional caregiving community with a high degree of skepticism. In those days, many of them thought that putting together a group of untrained lay people with similar life experiences, with the goal of “helping” each other, was at best, worthless. The only “support” groups in those days that were recognized as potentially valuable were Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers.”

A few visionary pioneers were beginning to plant the seeds of bringing together other people of similar needs to help support each other. Groups were beginning to form like Hospice, the Compassionate Friends, Madd, and the Centering Corporation. Andrea states, “In the beginning, most of us had little to bring to our missions but enthusiasm, energy, selfless goals, willing hearts and personal life experiences. There was not much in the way of formal training, but what we lacked in academics, we made up for in love and dedication. We didn’t have any road maps to follow…but we followed our unmarked roads with faith and purpose. And we learned a lot.” These support groups were “the light” for others to follow.

“A wonderful garden of hope and healing was spreading like wildfire.” In 1987, Dr. Raymond Brandt, twin to Robert, planted a seed. He established a support group for twins who have lost their twin called Twinless Twins Support Group International. (TTSGI) He was a visionary pioneer! Twins, at different stages in their bereavement, came together to listen to each other and reach out in the spirit of healing by helping others. This year marks the 30th year since Dr. Brandt shared his vision with the world. TTSGI continues to provide support to twinless twins through regional activities, national conferences, their Facebook page and educational resources.

Andrea Gambill writes,

“I’ve said it before and I’ll remind you again: The most positive sign of progress in our grief journeys is the point where we realize we care more about other people than we ever thought we could. When our mirrors start becoming windows, we know we’re making progress in our grief journey.”

When you have made progress and you are ready, will you “share your light” with others along this journey?

In Memoriam of Mary George Beyer

Mary George Beyer “George” passed away March 21, 2016 from lung complications. She was born February 28, 1938 with her twin sister, Georgia Mae Terry, who she called “Sissie”. George taught school for 33 years and after her retirement she earned her Master’s in Counseling and used that to help others in need. George was an active volunteer with TTSGI and she helped many twinless twins at the annual conferences, regional gatherings, through phone calls and by email. She will be sorely missed.

Tribute to My Friend George Beyer
By Dawn Barnett, twin to Daryl

Mary George Beyer was not only a twin friend but my BFF. We first met when I got her call (for a few years I took TTSGI calls that went to the main office during closed office hours), right after she lost her twin Sissie. We would talk for hours and those calls went on for over a year and I was so glad to be there when she needed it the most. As the years went by, we became best of friends and she would call me when the dark days came or just to say hi. Those calls still lasted hours because George couldn’t talk for a minute. We roomed together at most of the regional meetings and some of the conferences and would talk all night long. Over the years, she was able to do what we know from Dr. Brandt as healing by helping as she helped so many other twins in the deep throws of their grieving. As a licensed therapist, she was very qualified and willingly able to help so many times at the many conferences she was able to attend. I will miss her thoughtfulness, her Texas-size homespun humor and most of all her friendship, but know she is with her Sissie and all her family now as she had no family left here. She is also not in pain anymore and her heart and lungs are back to being perfect again. In our last emails we exchanged while she was in the hospital I wanted her to come to the Village and play golf with me at one of the courses and that’s what I’m going to miss most of all; being with her again and playing our favorite game which we never had the chance to do. But I’m sure she’s playing with Sissie and maybe even Daryl in heaven now and they are having a ball! R.I.P., my friend, George!

Love, Joy, and Peace

Dear Twinless Twin,

The holiday season can be a time of celebration and also a time of feeling the immense loss of your twin. Know you are not alone – we are in this together. May your holiday be filled with many special memories of your twinship and in those memories; the sting of the loss is lessened.

For the twins who lost their twin early in life and have few or no vivid memories, know that the bonding that you had with your twin in-utero is special and profound. May you know more than ever that your twinship is valued and remarkable.

The Twinless Twins Support Group Intl. is so thankful for you. Sorry we have to be a part of this group. However, we are grateful our group understands the depth of the loss and grief.

Sincerely,

Twinless Twins Support Group, Intl.

In Despair, Time Is Endless

essay-parravani-pic
Christa Parravani, author of the memoir Her, recently wrote an essay for DAME Magazine. According to Parravni, “It’s about a time I nearly bought a gun and used it. It’s about more than that, of course. It’s about surviving the desire that nearly killed me. It’s about living.”

On the eve of Thanksgiving, 2007, I ingested 90 pale-blue pills imprinted with the identifier: Lilly 4415. It is a testament to the healing power of years that I no longer remember the design of the drug, the dose, or its true name. My killing pill lives in the same category of memory as the fragrant flowers Mom planted beside my identical twin sister Cara’s and my childhood driveway. Freckled tangerine sepal lilies grew so tall over the asphalt that they bowed to their shadows. Those lilies brushed softly against our Corvair’s passenger side door, a patting whispered drum that both greeted and sent us off. In the remembrance of my suicide attempt, I tether the beginning and wished for end of my life into a circle that thankfully was not forever fused. Now they live together in the same time.

To read the entire essay, visit: http://www.damemagazine.com/2014/09/09/despair-time-endless