Monday, March 7, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

      It was good to have come into the world with an identical twin sister on November 4, 1961.  I consider it a blessing and will treasure all the memories of our almost 47 years together.  Janine and I arrived over 10 years after our two brothers Richard and Sutcliffe.  Our family lived on a farm in an isolated area of the country so it would have been a lonely life if I was born a singleton.  As a matter of fact about a year after our birth, our brothers were off to boarding school.

       What a wonderful companion Janine was.  When you have an identical twin, you have someone who has so much in common with you.  The word that comes immediately to mind is togetherness.  I am grateful that our parents encouraged us to take pride in being alike and saw no problem in our spending a lot of time together.  Of course, they never failed to help us realize that each of us was an individual.

       Over the years I found it extremely easy to get along with my twin sister.   There were times when I would rush to tell Janine something and she was about to tell me the same thing.  Furthermore, in discussions, each of us could finish the other's sentence or we even uttered the same words in unison.

       Throughout our school days we excelled in the same subjects doing particularly well in the Arts.  It was beneficial to us that our teachers and parents recognized that we had the same capabilities and there was absolutely no reason why one should be put in a class below one's standard just to be separated.  Knowing how alike we were in thoughts we made sure never to sit beside each other in the classroom.  This was done just in case any teacher failed to understand how much we thought alike and believed we copied each other in tests and examinations.

        Twinship gives lessons in social skills that parents should enhance. The ability to smile, be polite and communicate with even persons whom we were meeting for the first time is a trait that I will always treasure.  I have no doubt that the ease with which we were able to do so came naturally because we were twins.  I cannot  forget how shocked Miss Josephs, our History teacher at St. Mary High School was when she found out that Janine and I were new students.  We had completed 5 years of high school at Marymount High and had just moved to St. Mary High to pursue Advanced Level studies. She was amazed at how well we settled in with our new classmates.

        Since my twins death I have read the book 'Twin Loss' by Dr. Raymond William Brandt.  For the first time this book informed me about utero bonding where twins bond together while sharing their mother's womb.  This first experience teaches twins to share.  Being accustomed to sharing things with one's twin equips one with a level of ease in sharing with others.  In other words living the life of being a twin is all about sharing and caring.  Parents should never stifle this inborn trait while cautioning children how far to go.

        It is important to touch the lives of others by showing what it is to be a true friend.  This strong sense of friendship is again an offshoot of being twins.  Our friends have been long lasting starting from when we were very young until today.

       There are many funny moments when you are twins.  My twin and I could not help being amused when people could not tell the difference.  Most amusing was when someone came across one of us not knowing that there was an identical twin somewhere else only to be totally surprised on seeing someone looking exactly like the person they had just seen.  Only a few close friends and our immediate family could tell the difference.

        Every child should be taught to appreciate plants and animals and where we live they are in  abundance.  Janine and I developed a deep interest in birds and about 10 years ago we started a collection of bird figurines.  It has grown into a huge collection that graces our living-room in a display unit.  This collection stands as a memorial to our shared love for our feathered friends.

       When it comes on to special holidays and birthdays, it is particularly good to have a twin to celebrate these moments.  I especially notice how important these have been since my twin's death.  I no longer look forward to these holidays and my birthday.  Anyway, I think a good way to remember a departed twin is for parents and the remaining twin to give a donation to a church, charity or some organization.  In the case of my twin, I am thinking of making a donation to the Jamaica Cancer Society on my next birthday as this terrible disease took my twin away.

       I would encourage all parents of multiples to help their children enjoy their twinship and treasure all the wonderful memories that come with it.  I consider 47 years with my twin to have been a short time together on earth.  However, I have enjoyed this short time and although now facing the pain of having lost my twin, I would rather it be so, than not to have been born one of identical twins.
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