Wednesday, March 30, 2011


After attending my aunt's funeral yesterday I have been feeling a bit down today as it brought back some sad memories of my twin's death and funeral.  Strangely enough I thought I was stronger at my twin's funeral. I think the whole shock of it made it seem so unreal then. Anyway I am going to look back at some more happy moments now!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011



Today wasn't the easiest of days as it was the first funeral I was attending since my twin's burial. It certainly brought back some sad memories. Anyway I am glad that I managed to pay my last respects to my Aunt Prilly.  The young priest Rev. Monique Campbell  delivered a very uplifting Homily. As she said "Death is not an ending, it is a new beginning." She elaborated on this and it was certainly words of comfort for those of us who have lost loved ones.  My cousin-in-law Vince Henry delivered a beautiful rendition of Josh Groban's song 'You Raise Me Up.' I also saw many relatives whom I had not seen in a long while and even met some new ones! I wish we could all meet on a happy occasion.

Friday, March 25, 2011




There are days when this is exactly  how a twinless twin feels. I wrote this on a day when I was in deep reflection.

 At times there is this inner turmoil,
Struggling against it is heavy toil.
However it is destructive to internalize pain,
As there is really nothing to gain.

Oh, I definitely need to be bold,
I have been successful at times if the truth be told.
I want to find true peace and be stress free,
I know I can achieve this as I look to Thee.

That day I will truly welcome,
Then at last I will shout "I have overcome!''
Release me! Oh, Release me!
I need peace, perfect peace!

Monday, March 21, 2011



In this article I give an in-depth look at how the internet has helped me since the death of my twin sister.

"Praise the bridge that carried you over." - George Colman

      My fantasy world came crashing down as my bubble burst on October 16, 2008.  This was the day that my identical twin sister Janine passed away after a short battle with stomach cancer.  The shock to my system was great as I had no idea that she had this disease. It was a time when I had to grapple with the feeling of being so alone.  As one of twins I was lulled into a false sense of security that I was guaranteed company for the rest of my life.

     Waking every day to face a mirror and see the exact image of my departed twin or to speak and hear my voice that sounded exactly like hers was sheer torture.  Seeing her pictures or handwriting also had a depressing effect.  Only someone born one of twins can fathom what I was really experiencing.

     As a Christian I had no doubt that I was facing my biggest test ever.  Immediately I went into battle by reading the Bible, religious books and other literature that I was sure would help me face the dark days ahead. I prayed and asked God to show me every possible way to cross over these troubled waters.

     After four long gloomy months I got connected to the internet.  As a country girl living in a deep rural area on the tropical island of Jamaica I saw a whole new world open right in front of my eyes.  At first this was my quick access to friends and relatives.  As a matter of fact I was now in touch with persons whom I had not had contact with for many years.  It immediately started chiseling away at the feeling of being alone that is not easily uprooted from the mind of a twinless twin.

      Letters that would take more than a week to come from foreign lands were now replaced with the quick and immediate email.  My friends, relatives and pen-pals helped to lift my spirit not only with personal emails but other emails carrying prayers and positive and inspirational messages.

       I was also awed by the amazing experience of being able to chat with persons via instant messages. I can still recall how fascinated I was as I had my first chat with one of my twin sister's former pen-pals.  Here I was in Jamaica chatting with someone all the way in Italy.

      I heard about social network sites and cautiously pondered whether to join any.  Some of my relatives and friends never cared for such sites as they felt that they compromised one's privacy. Neverthless I took the plunge and joined Facebook.  I regard this as one of the best decisions that I have ever made.  On a daily basis I am in touch with so many persons.  They constantly write posts that carry Bible verses, prayers and a wide range of positive messages. These messages have come at times when I felt as if I was locked in a dark room not knowing where to turn. Suddenly it is was if a light came on and brightened up the room.

      For over 1 year I went through the twinless twin journey wondering if I would ever make contact with other twinless twins.  I rarely came across twins so I thought  communicating with twinless twins was expecting too much. It was therefore a wonderful surprise when I was contacted by the Twin Loss Yahoo Group.  At last I was able to share my experiences with other twinless twins and read their experiences.  It was such a relief to find out that I was not strange or crazy, it was just a part of the rough road travelled by a twinless twin. A member of the group ends every post with these words:
    "May the Light of God surround you
     May the Love of God enfold you
     May the Power of God protect you
     May the Presence of God watch over you."

     When you are in my situation you abhor every moment of inactivity as it makes you drift into an abyss of despair.  Sadness engulfs you like a red hot raging fire that consumes a building. The internet with its access to E-books, newsletters, magazines and websites flooded me with so much material that occupied many hours throughout each day.

      My career as a Freelance writer also got an added boost as I went through the therapeutic process of pouring out my thoughts and emotions in articles and poems.  There are so many angles to becoming a twinless twin that I have been able to thoroughly analyze.

     Today I can  give thanks for God's assistance all the way with special thanks to Him for leading me on this bridge called the internet.  It has helped me through the most difficult period of my 49 years on this planet.  I have found an inner strength which I did not know that I possessed.  As 1 Chronicles 28:20 tells us "Be strong and of good courage and act.  Do not be afraid or dismayed; for the Lord God, my God, is with you."



Saturday, March 19, 2011


Just over  a year after my twin sister's death I was busy searching for some books and suddenly found this photo album in a grip packed high on top of a wardrobe.  I got this album many years ago and did not even remember that I had it. It was in a plastic bag looking as new as ever and had no pictures in it. Mom and I decided to make it a tribute album and placed many pictures of Janine in it. Strangely enough I have not yet found the other books that I have been searching for. It is as if I was led to this album for this special purpose. I think that twins continue to have a strong bond even after one of them has passed on. As the saying goes "Once a twin, always a twin."


When I was only 13 years old my father died but then I don't think I fully thought about death. Two years ago my twin sister Janine passed away and I developed a deep interest in this topic. First of all I turned to my Bible. Since then I have read a number of books and was especially fascinated by the book 'Healing Grief' by James Van Praagh which was sent to me by another twinless twin named Brenda. Last Saturday, March 12, my Aunt Prilly passed away and again I am thinking about the subject. Oh, how happy I would be if I knew that my father and Janine had already met in their new life. Ah well, we won't really know what death is all about until our day comes. One thing I am sure about though is the fact that they are all in a better place.This is based on my Christian belief.  As I ponder about this topic I add 2 pictures of Aunt Prilly. One of her as a young woman and the other of her in later life. May her soul rest in peace. A Thanksgiving Service will be held for her on Tuesday, March 29 at the St. Andrew Parish Church starting at 2 p.m.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011



Fun times we had a plenty,
It was obvious to so many.
Whether at serious work or play
We were together every day.

That we enjoyed each other's company,
No one can ever deny or even ask why?
Twinship provides memories galore,
That I know for sure.

Lucky to have had a friend wherever I went,
Every moment was well spent.
A life filled with so much pleasure,
Our days together I will always treasure.

Monday, March 14, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

She always had a bright smile
And it would last for quite awhile.
Never failing to look her best.
She would accept nothing less.

Friendly and outgoing,
Love she was always showing.
Very close to family and friends,
Right to the very end.

Gone to rest in the twinkling of an eye,
Did not get the chance to say goodbye.
Nevertheless it was probably the best,
That this was the way she went to rest.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


My family and I have faced death again as my Aunt Prilly passed away this afternoon. Death is something that we all have to face but when we lose a loved one it is always a challenging time.  These words helped me when I read them some time after my twin sister's death. I hope they will help anyone who has lost a loved one:
           "Those we love don't go away,
            They walk beside us every day.
            Unseen, unheard, but always near.
            Still loved, still missed and very dear."

Friday, March 11, 2011



Warmth marches forward as I take a stroll down memory lane.
A wonderful day to do so as the sun shines brightly on my tropical isle.
Immediately I recall how my twin and I loved to bask in nature's glory.
Right now I can picture us in our identical peach floral dresses
that seemed to welcome passing butterflies.

Spring draws near and we loved visits from our feathered friends.
Their morning chorus made our early alarm clock redundant.
The sound of the long, strong, beak of the woodpecker could never
Be ignored as he relished his favourite insect dish from a coconut tree.
The same tall coconut tree that gave us a refreshing drink of coconut water.

As we gazed downwards the blue sky seemed to kiss the Caribbean sea,
While the surrounding hills and valleys appeared to take on their blue hue.
Today  they remind me of the ups and downs on life's journey.
I walk alone as a twinless twin but with God's help I will climb out of life's valley
and head to the top of a mountain of hope.

I have no doubt that the day will come when we meet again.
For sure such a wonderful day that will be.
This awesome scenery engulfs me with inner peace.
Now I  take comfort knowing that despite it all,
My twin Janine is in a better place.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011



When we are grabbed by the cold hands of grief,
We desperately go in search of ways to find relief.
One way for me was to become as busy as a bee,
I would never stop until something to do I could see.
This would ensure that I would be on the go non-stop,
At the end of the day tired, in bed, I would drop.

Nevertheless good rest eluded me many a night,
Reciting Psalm 23 would be one way to put up a fight.
I could hardly wait to see the light of day,
When as a writer I could pour out what I wanted to say.
It has certainly been good therapy for me,
As sad thoughts rushed at me like a raging sea.

An idle mind I could not withstand,
And some persons seemed to understand.
But now I have no choice and must slow down,
It is advice that I can no longer ignore with a frown.
I have no doubt that it will be a huge mistake,
If I don't face reality that it is for my own good sake.

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.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


This is one of the early poems that I wrote a few months after the death of my identical twin sister. I know that many persons have lost family members and friends to this terrible disease.  I hope that others will be spared from this in the very near future.


Cancer what a terrible disease,
Always causes such unease,
Its pain no one can appease.

Capable of destroying many a cell,
Making someone become so unwell.
Life concerned for all a living hell.

Dear God give doctors and researchers wisdom
To find a cure for this weapon of doom and gloom,
That has resulted in my twin gone too soon.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James
     It was just before noon on October 16, 2008 and I felt as if I was in a strange place lost and groping around in the dark.  Was this for real or was I dreaming? Is this a reality that I can face?  It was at this time that my identical twin sister Janine died after a short battle with stomach cancer.
     I did not know that Janine had cancer until she had died.  Now when I look back I am relieved that neither of us knew, as it would have been an even more unhappy period for both of us.  I don't think I would have been able to deal with my twin's unhappiness knowing that she was dying.  As a matter of fact I think she died in peace.  Some 15 minutes before she died she said to me 'I no longer feel ill.'  It is memories of this moment that help me to find strength in the midst of my sadness.
     For some 47 years Janine and I were like two peas in a pod.  We looked alike, dressed alike, thought alike and did everything together. The big question that stared me in the face was how do I not fall apart and be strong in such a situation.  The constant words from friends and relatives were 'Be strong!'  I said to myself "You can say that as you are not the one in my situation."  There is that powerful force called utero bonding that makes it extremely difficult dealing with the death of one's twin. It wasn't going to be easy coming to terms with the fact that someone who shared so much in common with me, even to the point of uttering the same words in unison, was no longer with me. In other words I was alone without my best friend, companion and confidante.
     This was a moment that demanded real strength.  I therefore started reading my Bible, religious books and articles and books on twin loss. I always knew that there was the possibilty of my twin dying and leaving me someday, but I wasn't ready for it so soon in my life.  The material I read helped me to understand what I was going through and how to face it head on.
     The support of family, friends and pen-pals helped me garner the strength that I needed as I knew that I would never be alone in this uphill struggle.  They were like towers of strength with their visits, phone calls, emails and letters.  I have had some amazing moments as I would be feeling quite low in spirit and as I checked my emails there would be one or more from friends that had the most inspiring words.  Yes, words that make you feel that although you are down you can try to get up.
      I have also found strength from the many friends who tell me that they see me as a link to Janine.  Actually she had many pen-pals and several have asked me to write to them after her death.  One actually said "In a way it is as if Janine is still here."
       I face moments of sadness and it has demanded a great deal of inner strength. During such moments I say a word of prayer or I repeat over and over my favourite Psalm - Psalm 23.
      I have been a Freelance Writer for many years and what I faced was not just writers block, it was more like a major road block that stopped me from writing anything for months.  It wasn't easy getting motivated as the person whom I used to work with and collaborate on many articles was no longer here.
     One day while reading Dr. Raymond Brandt's book 'Twin Loss' I came across his advice to write essays and poems about one's departed twin.  It dawned on me that I could write essays on Janine and our twinship but writing poems, oh no, that is something that I was never able to do and worse yet not at a time like this.
     Some weeks passed and out of the blue I decided to give it a try although it would most likely be the most difficult writing task that I would ever undertake. Much to my amazement I was able to write several poems and was particularly pleased with one titled 'BEING TWINS.'  I decided to share it with many friends, relatives and acquaintances and they have all asked me if I am really sure that I had not been writing poems for many years.They complemented me on the wonderful tribute it was to my twin and how it accurately summed up the lives we lived over the years. Here I was struck down by adversity but a hidden talent had been unearthed in this my darkest moment. In addition writing about my twin has proven to be therapeutic and strengthening.
       Moments of sadness I can't escape but I try to counterbalance them by reminiscing on the many happy times that we shared.  We especially enjoyed our Christmas and Easter holidays and being at family gatherings.  Decorating our home during holidays was a favourite pastime and Janine was always the first one to start decorating our home.  Christmas 2008 I was not in the frame of mind to decorate our home.  As Easter 2009 approached I found myself being haunted with the feeling that I just could not decorate our home.  Suddenly I said to myself "Why not decorate the center table in our living-room with Janine's favourite Easter bunny, chicks,eggs, and yellow and lavender feathers?" I kept them up for several days and it gave me strength as I knew that she would have been pleased if she was able to see these decorations. Since then I have used her favourite decorations on special holidays.
      I find strength even in the beautiful chorus of birds that visit the gardens and trees on our farm as well as the sound of the woodpecker pecking away at a nearby coconut tree.  It brings back pleasant memories of the shared love for our feathered friends that Janine and I had.  Actually it was about 10 years ago that we started a collection of bird figurines.  What started with the cutest little yellow bird figurines from our mother has grown into a huge collection of figurines from around the world.  Today this stands as a memorial to a hobby that we enjoyed tremendously.
     Time is moving along quickly and as I continue to draw on all the inner strength that I can muster I will never forget these words that I got on a condolence card - 'Born in love, lived in love, died in love.'  They give me strength to continue to live the life that my twin lived and strive to lift my spirit and live for tomorrow.

Friday, March 4, 2011


By Judy Haughton-James

Being born one of identical twins,
Oh, so much it means.
Years of joy untold for sure,
If we just could have had more.

We took pride in being alike, 
Made sure that no one lost sight.
Togetherness that was our might,
Kept our future bright alright.

What better friend to have had,
To be with me whether happy or sad.
Stood beside me when others made me mad,
Shared in everything that made me glad.

Someone who could finish my sentence,
Understand what I meant even if it did not make sense.
Sometimes uttered statements in unison,
Much to the amazement of many a person.

A ready mate in times of recreation,
No better confidant or companion.
Always present to share hobbies and interests,
Even both becoming Freelance Journalists.

Special holidays had so much meaning,
I realize it more now that my twin is missing.
To be without my twin is hard to bear, 
And to think that from now on it will be so from year to year.
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