Dealing With The Loss of a Twin

When a twin is lost at birth the surviving twin, though never knowing their twin, aches to have one.Identical twins usually feel an intense loss, a bit more than fraternal twins who have lost a twin. Twins are born to be together, they often have secret languages and speak for one another. Imagine the scope of that loss. Some feel it’s like losing half of themselves. This closeness is unique to twins, it’s a strong loving bond and it is often ignored by society. Focus is often only aimed at the parent who has lost a twin. A surviving twin may feel isolated for the first time in their life. They remain a twin in their mind and in fact still are a twin even though alone and this makes them feel separate.

Since the loss is so great, it is important to seek out support. Today we have the benefit of the Internet, so distance is no longer an issue for those needing to find people like themselves for support. An online grief support group offers that opportunity to open up to someone who understands. Speaking to another like-minded person can help get out pent up feelings. A place to vent anger not only about the loss itself, but also about how those who are outside the situation just can’t understand and can be insensitive to the intense feelings a surviving twin may have. Often bigger cities offer local support groups as well, which adds a more personal touch to the situation.

Grieving is personal and each person has his or her own way of coping. No one else can ever replace the lost twin, so it is not helpful to try and fit someone else into that role in an attempt to fill the void. Talking about the loss is most beneficial. Sharing positive memories and happy times will help in the healing process.

Though a support group is helpful, a counselor can be of great help in learning to cope with the loss. Something to understand is that being twin-less does not mean the surviving twin is now alone. Focused support groups have people in similar situations that truly understand. They are walking in the same shoes as it were. Twins are often seen as a team or unit, so it is normal that they would feel lonely and awkward at first. The only difference is that now the twin-less twin must learn to live as an individual.

When a twin is lost due to suicide, it can cause even more confusion for the surviving twin. They cannot always understand what caused their twin to go so far. The surviving twins confusion may lead to a whirlwind of relationships, romantic and otherwise, trying to fill a void that cannot be filled, relationships that usually fail due to the circumstance of their beginning. Their mind becomes full of questions, why they didn’t feel the same way and asking themselves why are they alive? It’s called survivors guilt and it’s all the more reason for a surviving twin to seek outside help.

Family ties may also be strained either because the living twin becomes so dependant and/or realizes that they never really built a strong relationship with the rest of the family in the first place. While the family wants to be there for the surviving twin, they may not really know how to approach them, which can lead the surviving twin feeling even lonelier. Family counseling may be best for all concerned in such situations.

Twinkles Twins An international support group.

C.L.I.M.B. Loss of a twin – includes articles and personal stories.

Althea Hay ton A lovely article about womb twin survivors.

Twinslist A loss/bereavement resource page.

TTSGI Twinkles events page for the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Twin Loss A Nationwide Support Group in NZ for both parents who have lost a twin and twins who have lost a sibling.

Open to Hope Article: Sharing the Experience of being a ‘Twinkles Twin’.

Kristi One-man’s story of the suicide of his twin.

Resources A pdf resource link on grieving.

NCMOM Links to support and bereavement sites.

Perth Twinkles A Western Australia site catering to twinkles folk.

NY Times A Singular Pain: When Death Cuts the Bond of Twins.

NCTS The National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

TCFSS A sibling support group.

Twins UK Surviving the loss of a twin or co-multiple.

NIH Article about the book, An Empty Room.

Compassionate Friends A family support group.

Academia A science magazine article focusing on twins and the affects of a loss.

SHE An online grief counseling for siblings of twins.

CCO Recommended books for children and teens on grieving, death and dying.

VETS Links to bereavement support groups.

Independent News The story of living a half-life without a twin.

AJP An article on attempted suicide of surviving twins and related articles.

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