As an adult, about seven years ago, I was finally able to start mourning for my fraternal twin brother and wept deeply for the first time from the loss of his presence, his movement, his sound, heartbeat, and I no longer had the awareness of him who had always been there with me in the womb. His absence in my empty still seclusion was deeply felt. The comfort and peace I had known was gone, that part of my life was now empty. (Tears flowing again as I write this.) Even though we were fraternal, we had a unity, a bond that had been there, so the pain of the loss was real. The hurt and anguish was so immense with no one there to give comfort or aid in understanding what had happened, to offer help, support, or solace instead of the sheer cold pain in the still lifeless quiet where before I had the comfort of his heartbeat, movement, and presence. It had been four to six weeks before that I felt the shock of that ice cold flat thing press suddenly against the left side of my face; but it seems his overwhelming loss was my first real trauma. That opened the door within me in the months to come while still in the womb, for more pain to begin to form into deep isolation, rejection, sadness, and fear, growing within me. How does a preborn infant deal with the confusion of all those unknown emotions in her solitude?
I was the youngest of my southern siblings and the first to be born in a hospital. By the third day home from the birth my mother took me to the doctor who concluded I had broken ribs. My mental and emotional suffering as an infant in the womb now included physical pain. They had not known that every time they picked up the little innocent life, that they were inflicting me afresh with the pain of those broken ribs. Whether for a diaper change, putting on fresh clothing, time to eat, someone just wanting to hold the new baby, time for a bath, whatever the reason, the physical pain was real every time. They finally understood the problem, and the need to let me rest on my back only as much as possible to heal as quickly as possible. Now I was left to lay and hear the sounds in the open air so unlike the womb. I so needed to be held, loved, and comforted to help heal from the horrible event in my former home. Instead, now a new physical trauma had been added and sudden times of great pain were experienced each time someone came to care for my needs. No one could explain to me that my own physical movements as an infant including crying, would cause that sharp unwanted pain again. I was a little innocent infant who months before birth had already experienced the shock of the icy flat metal against my face, and then the loss of my twin brother about six months in the womb. Even though I had never seen his face or touched his skin, the pain, and emotions of the awareness of the loss of his presence, his movement, and his sound, the rhythm of his heartbeat, have still left me today to grieve and cry for who was there with me. (Yes, even now the tears fall.) After birth, I lived in a new place with new sounds and frequent sudden physical pain. People didn’t know that their effort to provide for my physical needs also served to increase my internal pain of solitude, sadness, rejection, and fear.
As a grown woman with many children, it has still so saddened and hurt me that no one ever mentioned or seem to think of my twin brother. No one in my family ever thought to honor or speak of the life that was. Instead, they chose silence as though he never was. Even now I broke down crying for what I feel within. No matter what anyone wants to say, he was/is part of me and the loss I feel is real. I write this still breaking down crying and grabbing Kleenex, then trying again to type through tear filled eyes. I praise God for my brother and the little time I had with him, even though I could not grow up experiencing life with him, to know all the special things about him. Someone said that we must all understand that the life of one twin does not eliminate the grief over the loss of their close sibling they shared the womb with. How very true!