A Difficult Day

June 13, 2007

Today should be, and is, a day of celebration. However, it is also a day of tremendous sadness. My brother, Mike, is 40 years old today. My brother, Mark, who is Mike’s identical twin, should be sharing in the festivities. Instead, we are facing his first birthday without him.

As hard as this is for me to bear, it is even more difficult for Mike. At first, he didn’t want his birthday to be acknowledged, but we convinced him to let us take him out to dinner. It IS still his birthday, and a decade birthday, at that.

In an attempt to better understand what Mike is going through, I did some research on “twinless twins.” (http://www.twinlesstwins.org/InTheNews/Surviving/tabid/242/Default.aspx)  Here’s some of what I found.

A twin’s “self” is a multiple existence. Acting from a framework of “we,” not I, they learn to rely on each other for many of their needs. This closeness, or twinning, becomes the closest relationship they ever know.

Twin grief is a lifelong process. A shared birthday is particularly difficult to bear, particularly the first birthday after a twin’s death.

Also, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hometruths/deathofmytwin.shtml) the problem with twin bereavement is that, the other person is such an integral part of your sense of self that when you stop being a twin, when the person who made you a twin, dies, you have to really reconsider your whole sense of self.

And, (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/01/07/PNGIDAITU71.DTL) it’s a very devastating type of sibling loss that is often overlooked… [Twins] had an understanding and a trust, an acceptance and unconditional love beyond what most people have even in marriage. Every birthday is a reminder of the loss. It’s an occasion most of them would just as soon wipe off the calendar.

Today, my heart is breaking for myself and for my parents and for my siblings, but, most of all, my heart is breaking for Mike.

4 Responses to “A Difficult Day”

  1. lisele said

    Oh, I am so sorry for your loss and it sounds like Mike is going to need a lot of time and support to come to terms with this. I hope you have a special day for him in spite of the missing brother.

  2. Peg said

    I am so sorry about the death of your brother. I hope you will read Sibling Grief: Healing after the Death of a Sister or Brother. It’s not just about twins, but all siblings.

  3. yaketyyak said

    Thank you both for the kind words of compassion, and thanks, Peg, for the book recommendation. I will definitely look into it.

  4. I found your blog through a search for the butterflies with seeds on them that you plant. I am also a twin and my twin brother died in 1994 when we were 22 years old. Thank you for posting your thoughts and the links to the websites. I will pray for you and for Mike.

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