BY JUDY HAUGHTON-JAMES
Over the years so many persons including relatives could not tell the difference between Janine and me. As a matter of fact only my immediate family and close friends were able to tell the difference. Although my twin sister died on October 16, 2008, at times I am still called Janine. This does not create a problem for me at all.
I can never forget what happened on the day of her funeral. As is the case after many funerals, relatives and friends get together. As one of my cousins was leaving our home she said 'Okay then Janine, take care." I did not get flustered. It brought a smile to my face. The thought even crossed my mind "Hey Janine! We still have them confused!"
I also recall the chirpy call I got a few days after her funeral when a cousin said 'Hello Janine! How are you today?" This happens from time to time when I am talking with relatives and friends on the phone. Some have even made the mistake of writing cards and emails where they addressed me as "Dear Janine." Again, this is not a problem for me!
When some persons say Janine they act as if it is the biggest error they could ever make. I gladly assure them that all is well. It seems as if they feel they may upset you if they call your departed twin's name.
If you are not one of twins do not be surprised when a twinless twin mentions the name of his/her departed twin often. There is usually a level of closeness that you will never understand. Avoiding them or changing the subject is not going to go unnoticed. It will only add to the pain of the twinless twin.
However let me say something very important to twinless twins. If you find that there are persons who do not want you to call your twin's name do not subject yourself to any added pain. There are a number of avenues out there to talk about your twin and experiences with persons who are also on this journey.
I could not end this post without saying how much I like the idea that most of us in the Twin Loss Yahoo Group sign our posts not only with our names but our twins' names. In my case I sign Judy twin to Janine. So anyone who calls me Janine, no need to apologise. She lives on through me and it is an honour that I keep her memory alive in every sense of the word.