MATR TWIN STORIES
Do you have a twin story you would like to share with the MATR? Have you ever had a funny twin experience? Or perhaps you would like to tell others about your participation in one of our studies?
If so, you may contact the MATR and we can help you submit your story through the mail or email.
STORY OF LOSS AND ASPIRATION: HOW THE TWIN RESOURCE CENTER CAME TO BE
We loved being twins! I had my twin brother for 28 years before he died unexpectedly. At the time of his death I had been a social worker for more than seven years. I worked primarily with older adults and thought I knew about grief and loss. I had formal education on how to address grief, and routinely supported others through a variety of losses where I was employed. When my twin died, I quickly realized I had no idea what grief really meant. The level of devastation that engulfed my world remains hard to adequately describe in words. Not only had my twin brother died unexpectedly at such a young age, half of me died too. The innate bond all types of twins develop in the womb is profound. Twins have never been alone, ever, and suddenly in the physical sense I was.
I immediately wanted to change careers as I had no confidence I could help others since I felt totally incapable of helping myself. Before I could act on that desired change, the company where my husband worked was sold and he lost his job. I absolutely had to continue on in my job doing the best I could since I was abruptly our sole source of income. I have now been a social worker for 30 years. I remember telling myself long ago, if I survived the death of my twin and stayed in social work, I would one day be a better social worker. Formal education is very important; life experience is a lesson that cannot be fully taught.
As I struggled through the darkness of grief and participated in grief counseling myself, from more than one counselor, I did not gain much traction. The counselors were good, yet I did not sense anyone really recognized this death was different than someone who had lost a brother, this was my twin brother, half of my very being from my perspective. It’s different. I told myself once again, if I survived the death of my twin and stayed in social work, I would one day try to create a new path for other bereaved twins to travel. I wanted bereaved twins to know for sure they were with a professional who had specialized training to better understand twin relationships and most especially twin bereavement.
While it was questionable many times, thankfully, I survived the loss of my twin. I think of him all the time, as I did when he was living. I see him every day in the various features and mannerisms we shared. And I still have my tough times, our birthday being the toughest. No one ever “gets over” the death of any important relationship. The person who coined that phrase set up an expectation that does not exist; I am so sorry our society keeps the thought in circulation. You also hear grief is a process, and it is. It’s a process that continually changes; the tasks change, the pain changes, the coping changes, and eventually in each individual’s own time the loss gets incorporated into the rest of the living there is to do. It is finally landing in a place where it is okay to be okay.
In 2014 I launched the Twin Resource Center full time in hopes of following through with what I told myself in those early days after my twin’s death. I survived and I stayed in social work! I truly believe I have been a better, more compassionate social worker due to personal experience. Now it was time to create the new pathway for other twins. My cherished mother is a twin!
The Twin Resource Center is an education and counseling service. I am even more deeply passionate about providing training for other professionals since the twin population has been on the rise. With more twins, there will be more twin loss. There will be more twins and their loved ones who may seek professional help dealing with a variety of twin related matters. I am a licensed clinical social worker who is available to provide counseling for twins or their loved ones in the state of NC. To me, the ultimate would be professionals who are twins helping twins, and there are others, but there aren’t enough.
Since 2007 I have provided training to interdisciplinary professional groups about twins. Attendees have consistently reported a better understanding of twins along with feeling more equipped to serve twins in ways they would not otherwise have known to consider. It is my mission to do more. The pathway can be built! When twins are seeking care of any kind, particularly bereavement care, I want them to be assured the person helping them is very informed about twins and realizes twins’ needs are uniquely different from all other relationships. Our world usually responds to changing demographics and twins deserve a response two!
Jacqueline Parker Hatch, MSW, LCSW
SEEING DOUBLE: THE CASE OF "MISTAKEN" IDENTITY...
When my twin daughters, Lindi and Libby were 11, they were local beauty queens, which required appearances in parades and showcases. This was the only time I made them dress alike. One day they were in a Christmas parade and were dressed in their matching queenly attire. Afterwards we decided to take my mother to the mall. When we got to the mall we separated with Lindi going with Mom and Libbi going with me. When it was time to leave I asked Libbi to go look for Mom and Lindi. She scurried back after about 10 minutes and I asked her if she found them. She replied ‘No’ she had not found them and said that she was more embarrassed than she had ever been before. I asked her to explain and she said that she had looked in a couple of stores and then remembered that Lindi had said she wanted Pizza. She went to the entrance of the pizza parlor and spied Lindi at the back. She waved & Lindi waved back. She motioned for Lindi to come out and Lindi motioned back. It was at that point that she realized that the pizza parlor had a mirror covering the wall in the back and she had been looking at herself!
TWINS REALLY DO "HAVE MORE FUN!"
This picture was taken when my twin sister, Karen, and I vacationed in Kure Beach, NC with Karen’s 15 year old twin daughters, Jessie and Jennie. The four of us enjoyed it so much we are now planning our next vacation together!
Our family has proven that twins don’t always skip a generation, like most people think. My grandmother had twins, my mother had twins and my twin sister had twins. I also had two children, but not twins. Think one of the teenage twins in this picture will be having twins too??? We’ve warned them both!!!
I’m thankful to be a twin. Twins are indeed "Special"! - Sharon Ashmore