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?