Monday, May 30, 2011



      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.

Thursday, May 26, 2011



        So often we hear the statement "A picture is worth a thousand words."  This is so true. I am  happy that from my twin sister and I were very young my mother always took pictures of us. Since Janine's death Mom and I have arranged albums with pictures of her, the both of us as well as pictures of Janine with relatives and friends.  As an earlier post showed I even came across a new album which has become her special tribute album. I have shared some of these pictures here and plan to share even more in the future.

        Above are 3 pictures of Janine and me when we were rather young. I can't tell who is Judy and who is Janine in these pictures!:) My parents and brothers were always able to tell the difference. However now Mom and my brothers can't recall who is who in the above pictures. Anyway Janine was smaller than I was during our early years. She was always smiling so I am here thinking maybe she was the one with the smile. Nevertheless I often jokingly say to my mom "You are sure that I am not in fact Janine." 

        Of all our pictures as toddlers these are my favourites. Strangely enough, the one I like best is the one of us in pants. Now that is amazing, as Janine and I just never liked wearing pants over the years. As a matter of fact in our teenage years I think we only had pairs of black pants and navy blue pants and they were rarely worn.

       I have hundreds of pictures of Janine and myself. Surprisingly I found the strength to choose several of our pictures to place in the photograph section on her funeral programme. I guess I was in shock or denial then.  I say this, as after her funeral I could not look into the albums for some months as the pictures made me so sad. Thank God these days I can look through our many albums and  smile when I see pictures of her with a bright smile or a mischievous grin.


Monday, May 23, 2011



        Recently I joined the group Twinloss NZ on Facebook. It is a support group for those who have suffered the loss of one or more or all of their twins, triplets or more in a multiple birth from early pregnancy through to childhood and beyond including the loss of a twin sibling in adulthood. They also have a publication called 'Hearts & Wings.' Thanks to Rosemary Smart I have already read 2 issues of this publication. I must congratulate Rosemary and Jan Liddell on the excellent job they are doing. 

        I am very impressed with the mothers of twinless twins who are doing everything possible to help the surviving twin and themselves. Some of us who are twinless twins may not realize how much our parents are affected by the loss. Sadly in a number of instances the twinless twin has not received the necessary support from family and friends because they expect them to find their way into the 'MOVE ON CLUB' or 'GET OVER IT CLUB' at an unrealistic pace.

       I can't help being amazed when I hear stories of twinless twins being told the most unkind statements by friends. However the real shock for me is when their family members do likewise. I am truly grateful to my mom and 2 brothers for the support that they have given me since Janine's death. It is over 2 years and not one wrong or inconsiderate statement has been uttered by them. 

       I am here wondering if the parents and friends who have not shown the necessary understanding would do better if they had more contact with persons who were in a similar situation. This would help them to realize that what the twinless twin is experiencing is nothing strange and he/she is not crazy!  I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they do not fully understand what it means to lose a twin and so they utter these statements. 

     Twins have a special bond that is formed from in the womb. It is called utero bonding. When one dies the surviving twin faces a difficult situation.  Singletons can't begin to know what this is like. Unkind statements only add to the pain that the twinless twin is experiencing and it will never be easy to forget the wrong things that were said.

       Luckily twinless twins have various groups on the internet where they can share their experiences. There are even twinless twin gatherings where they meet in person. Such occasions give the twinless twin an opportunity to meet with others who are on common ground. Based on what I have read from other twinless twins, you can even have fun at such gatherings.  

      If you wish to communicate with other twinless twins check the Twin Loss Yahoo Group, Twinless Twins group on Facebook, Twin Loss NZ on Facebook and The Twinless Twins group in the Experience Project. I am sure there are more groups out there and I would be happy to hear about them.  There are also those of us doing our part on our Blogs.

     I have been accustomed to having company for many years but I have managed to walk this path without being a bother to anyone. Nevertheless I must say that I have found good support from former schoolmates, many of whom I was never close to. I have linked up with them as well as persons who I do not know personally on Facebook. Furthermore I have had such amazing words of encouragement from persons at Writing.Com. I really can't complain. As the saying goes - "Gratitude is the best attitude."

Thursday, May 19, 2011



        Over 65 years ago when my mother Kate Lindo, a student at Westwood High School in Trelawny, Jamaica and Dorothy Sadler a freshman in high school in South Dakota, U.S.A. were given each other's names as part of an English assignment little did they know that it would lead to a long lasting friendship.

         On Monday, Dorothy departed this life and was laid to rest in Huron, South Dakota earlier today. Mom got married to Harry Haughton- James while Dorothy got married to Weldon Pratt.  Despite having to raise families among other responsibilities over the years they kept in touch exchanging letters, emails, cards, pictures and gifts. 

         We often hear the statement "Never give up on a dream" and this is so true.  The life long dream that they would meet some day became a reality in 2006.  Dorothy, her daughter Jane and son-in-law Orrin came to Jamaica and we met in the popular tourist resort of Ocho Rios. We had a good time chatting and laughing while we enjoyed the delicious Jamaican cuisine, tropical climate and breathtaking view of the waterfalls at the popular Ruins Restaurant. We even had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with the owner, Mr. Karl Hendrikson, who stopped by our table and spoke with us for awhile. Of course such an occasion could not pass without pictures. In an earlier post titled "THE JOYS OF PEN-PALLING" I have 2 pictures of that occasion.

        Dorothy is no longer physically here but the wonderful memories will live on forever.  My family and I look forward to keeping in touch with her daughter Jane and we know that Dorothy would be so happy about this.

        She is now in a better place and we will all meet again some day. I thank one of my Facebook friends and former Marymount High schoolmate Karen Kong Wilson for sharing this wonderful quotation by Dr. Seuss with me a few days ago - "Don't cry because it is over. Smile because it happened."

       In the meantime Mom and I will treasure all the pictures that she has received of Dorothy and her family and an article written by Crystal Pugsley in the Plainsman newspaper where Dorothy was interviewed about her meeting with my mom. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011



    In a previous post titled 'THE JOYS OF PEN-PALLING' I mentioned the wonderful meeting that my mom had with her American pen-pal Dorothy Pratt whom she corresponded with for over 60 years. I also included pictures of us all at The Ruins Restaurant in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. This morning we heard the sad news of Dorothy's death. I must say how much I admire the positive and uplifting spirit that her daughter Jane has at a time like this. It helps to lift my spirit as someone who has lost loved ones including a twin sister.

     As a writer I have had my say in poems and articles about ways of dealing with the death of a loved one but I have also come across some awesome poems and quotations that I have found most uplifting. I will share these from time to time.

     Today as my family and I think about Dorothy Pratt and her family I share these wonderful words that I got from Twin Loss NZ's publication 'HEARTS & WINGS'

"Do not stand at my grave and weep
           I am not there
           I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints of snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
When you awaken in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds circled in flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die." 
                                                 Author Unknown

Dorothy Pratt's obituary can be seen at the following URL:-

Monday, May 16, 2011


In my previous post I wrote about the struggle to regain my deep interest in sports since the death of my identical twin sister. Here is a poem that I wrote about my love for sports: -


I can tell you I am a real sports fan,
It is good when someone believes 'I Can.'
Set out steadfastly on a plan,
Never giving up until success is at hand.

Sometimes feeling the pangs of defeat,
Even coming under intense heat.
But oh, what joy as victory is sweet,
Accolades then come in a heap.

My favourites include athletics and football,
Then I am most enthralled.
Glued and ready to take in all,
When my side wins I have a ball.

I also like the bat and ball game of cricket,
Great to see a bowler on a bouncy wicket.
All celebrate as if they have a winning lotto ticket,
Spirits of supporters take an instant lift.

Sports is always a cause for celebration,
Players and crowds feel the exhilaration.
Supporters ready to give exhaltation,
As persons proudly represent a nation.



       Janine and I have been big sports fans over the years with our favourites being athletics, football and cricket. We both would be glued to our television sets when these games were on. It has been a real struggle for me to regain the interest that I used to have as we were always watching these events together. Anyway I am working real hard at it and I know that Janine would want me to continue to enjoy these sports.

        So far the sport that I have managed to show the best level of interest in is athletics. No surprise really! We have some great Jamaican athletes - Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, Asafa Powell, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Brigette Foster-Hylton, Kaliese Spencer, Melaine Walker, Kerron Stewart etc.  Believe me, with a line-up like this, once you are a big athletics fan, it is not too difficult to regain one's interest, especially when it comes on to the Olympics and World Games!

         Football comes next. I show some interest in local and international competitions and watched the last World Cup. I basically watched the key games. When Janine was around I watched many more games.

         Cricket has been the most difficult one for me. It demands sitting and watching a game for long hours and that still isn't easy. The fact that our West Indies team has not been doing very well in recent times has not really helped. Anyway the Twenty Twenty matches have been rather exciting so I have watched part of these games from time to time.  Yesterday The West Indies team seemed to be hinting to me to get back as they won their first test match since February 2009! This came after 17 matches.

         As I discuss sports, I remember that Janine and I were not  good at it during our high school days.  I can recall us playing these games during our Physical Education classes - volleyball, netball and softball. Did I say playing?!

        Our first cousin, Lister Haughton-James, was a very good coach at St.Mary High School with this school winning Girls, Boys and Eastern Champs a number of times. While we were students at Marymount High School some of the Physical Education teachers wondered if we were really related to him.  Ah well, we were not good at sports but were big sports fans over the years. In another post I will publish my poem titled 'SPORTS FAN.'  

         In the meantime I hope Lister gets to come to Jamaica this year so that I can do an interview of him for the St. Mary High School website. I already have a battery of questions supplied by Otis Sinclair, one of the founders of the site. Of course I will have a few of my own. I wonder if he can explain why Janine and I did not get this knack for athletics!:)

Saturday, May 14, 2011



       Over the years Janine and I wrote many articles together for local and international publications. Right now I can just picture her with the usual bright smile about my writing success at Writing.Com this week.

      In the previous post I wrote about the impact of some of the submissions by members of the Power Reviewers group, especially blainecindy's lyrics.

      Well, my spirit has been further lifted as I submitted 4 pieces to the group and got many positive reviews. It got even better as I received an Awardicon for my article about Mother's Day 2011 and I was not even able to add the picture of the card that I have here with the post.

      For my poem 'A TRIBUTE TO MOM' I was listed among persons who were winners for the Best Dedications Posted.  I also got the Community Spirit Award for doing the most reviews.

       Life certainly has its ups and downs and it helps when things happen to lift our spirits. The awards and prizes have inspired me to get a good amount of writing done this weekend. Look out, I will share some of them here real soon. 

Friday, May 13, 2011



        Those of us who are members of the Writing.Com Power Reviewers group have just had 2 very busy days. This month we decided that members of the group would present and review items based on a Mother's Day theme.  I must say that I was impressed with the poems, articles, essays, lyrics etc.  However I was particularly struck by the lyrics of a song by member blainecindy, titled 'JUST ANOTHER STAR IN HEAVEN.'

        When I reviewed this piece I had to tell her that I love the line that said "I know Mama's another star in heaven."  It  certainly lifted my spirit as I immediately recalled what happened during the nights a few days before the second anniversary of the death of my twin sister last year. About 3 nights prior to the date I went into my mother's room and sat alone for awhile. Suddenly I looked through the window and there shining down was a very bright star. It had an amazing impact, so right to the anniversary date I stood at the window for quite some time each night and looked at this very bright star.

     I can't explain why, but the thought came immediately to me that this was Janine telling me that everything was going to be alright. It may be that my imagination was running wild but it certainly helped me through that second anniversary.

     As I read most of the material at Writing.Com about departed loved ones they brought back such special memories. As our ProCom Link Captain Eyestar always states 'Power Reviewers Rock!'

Monday, May 9, 2011


       Yesterday when I woke up it seemed as if we were in for a bleak day and probably some rain. However the sky became bright and blue which was no surprise on my tropical island of Jamaica. My 2 brothers and I had an enjoyble day with our Mom in the cool hills of Boyne Park. Of course Janine was also here with us in spirit. 

      Above is a picture of the card that we presented to Mom early in the morning. Janine and I always liked making cards for her so I have continued this tradition. I got a cream sheet of cartridge paper and pasted a picture of the Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) on it. This was taken from the January section of a calendar featuring Australian wild flowers.  Strangely enough most of the pictures that I took of it showed a bright light at different sections of the flower. I saw this bright light as indicating that there is always a brighter future ahead.

      You will notice that I have Janine's name listed on the card with these words 'Janine (looking down from heaven).' As I have always told Mom "While you are here on this earth I will be listing Janine's name." She is very pleased about this. 

      It has not been easy for Mom to see only one of us over the last 2 years and 7 months. As she told me after returning home from my Aunt Prilly's funeral, several times she just kept looking beside her and it seemed so strange to have only one of us there. Therefore every opportunity I get I keep Janine alive in her eyes.

     Mom has also done a good job at this. She reminds me that Janine is not in her grave, she is right here with us.

     Well, I am not blowing my own horn but I must say that I was pleased with the Mother's Day lunch that I prepared. It consisted of fried chicken, rice and peas, corn bread, baked ripe plantains and a vegetable salad. Mom and my 2 brothers commented on how lovely it was. They also enjoyed the home-made chocolate ice-cream I made and the cake I baked.

      Throughout the day we had the pleasure of hearing a wide variety of songs especially for mothers on our radio stations.  Some of them were songs using the pulsating reggae beat which is the national music of my country.

     A big part of making the day enjoyable was discussing things about Janine and our celebrations over the years that made us smile. As I said to Mom "Everything went smoothly and quickly that it seemed as if Janine was here helping me. The only thing, I was doing most of it as usual."

      I am happy that I decided to start this Blog and was able to pay special tribute to my mom with posts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I also thank all my friends who took time out to read the posts and indicated that they liked them and wrote comments to me in emails and on Facebook. Furthermore I thank everyone who sent Mom good Mother's Day wishes. She sends her heartfelt thanks to you all.

Sunday, May 8, 2011



My mother is amazingly great,
That is one point I won't debate.
She makes me oh so proud,
Never one to follow the crowd.

All my life she has taught me right from wrong,
And never to be too quick to join the throng.
Her direction has kept me on the right track,
I have no regrets as I look back.

A lady who has endured life's knocks,
Has had more than her fair share of shocks.
Despite all these personal blows,
Has held her head high and it hardly shows.

I see her as a tower of strength,
Someone who has never lost faith.
For many more years I hope she is around,
Ready and able to give advice that is sound.

Saturday, May 7, 2011




    From the early age of 13 years old I have only had one parent, my mother, Kathleen Naomi Haughton-James ( nee Lindo).  She became a widow on August 14,1975, when my  father Harry collapsed and died of a heart attack while performing his duties as a Councillor in the St.Mary Parish Council on the tropical island of Jamaica.

    Since that fateful day I have been amazed at the strength that she has displayed when she encountered what I call the valleys on this journey called life. It is not that she did not display sadness for the loss of her husband when she was only 47 years old but managed to have the strength in holding it together and taking care of her family. It was a strength noticed not only by her family. I can never forget the words that someone said to her shortly after my father's death - "Mrs. James, there are so many beautiful things about you, but probably the most beautiful of them all, is your ability to take knocks."

     The person who said this died some years ago, but little did he know that come October 16, 2008 mom would have suffered yet another blow, that of the death of her youngest child and my identical twin sister Janine.  Again she showed all the signs of loss and it was more difficult then as she was now a lady in her 80s.  However again she held it together and was a tower of strength for me. I keep saying to her "God certainly knew how important it was for you to have been around when Janine died." We have been through our trials together and her strength has helped to pilot me through my darkest hour.

     Of utmost importance is her strong Christian faith which has never faltered despite the circumstances that she has encountered. This has been such a good example for me who in turn leaned on this faith to carry me through the most challenging period of my life. I am truly blessed to have her as my mother.

    Every Mother's Day she gets a card and despite the fact that Janine is no longer around I never fail to write in it - "From your children: Richard, Sutcliffe, Judy and Janine (looking down from heaven)."

    I know the day will come when my mom is no longer around but I hope I will get the chance to celebrate many more Mother's Days with her. Every day I give God thanks for giving me such a special mother.

Friday, May 6, 2011



This Sunday, May 8, will be celebrated as Mother's Day in Jamaica and many countries.  I take this opportunity to wish all mothers a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Today, Saturday and Mother's Day I happily post tributes to my own mother Kathleen Naomi Haughton-James.

More than I could ever ask for,

Overcoming so many obstacles in life,

There with me as I traverse life's hills and valleys,

Holding my hand every step of the way,

Ever sure and ready with strong faith,

Really a tower of strength for me and all to see.


Thursday, May 5, 2011



    Ever since I was a teenager the Daily Word magazine published by Unity has been subscribed to by my family. It is a most inspirational magazine that always has a message to uplift your spirit at the very right time.  When my twin sister was ill she still found time to read it in the morning or have it read to her. I have also found it to be extremely helpful since her death and never fail to read it early every morning.

     There are monthly affirmations, the Editor's Note as well as an inspirational article at the beginning of every month. The poems and Letters From The Heart are also very good. From day to day each month you get a message about FAITH, DIVINE ORDER, HEALING, GRACE, HARMONY, PROSPERITY, ILLUMINATION and so much more. When an entire issue is finished I even sit and read the entire month's messages again. I am really happy that my parents introduced me to this magazine.

   Speaking of Unity, over the years I have read several books that my parents bought which were written by one of their authors.  I also remember how my twin sister and I eagerly looked forward to the Wee Wisdom magazine when we were children.

   I eagerly recommend this powerful little magazine. It is definitely worth the read whether you are experiencing good or bad times.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011



       Shortly after Janine's death I remember a cousin saying to me "Why not start a Blog where you can share your thoughts on what it is like being a twinless twin?"  Then I was so confused that I never gave it much thought.  However after 2 years of linking up with other twinless twins, reading books and better understanding a lot of my experiences I decided to start a Blog. If you are a twinless twin write down your thoughts, poems, articles etc. even if you do not want to share them with others. You will definitely find doing so therapeutic.
      I am also happy to see other twinless twins having Blogs. Three twinless twin Blogs that I am currently following are Enjy's Place, Kari's Blog and Twin Love. I have also joined the Experience Project's Twinless Twins group. I had some problems accessing the site but happily that problem seems to be over.  If anyone knows of other twinless twin Blogs please share them with me.  In the meantime write on.  Below is a poem that I wrote some months after Janine's death.

By Judy Haughton-James

I have always wanted to work in the media,
Being a broadcaster was the first idea.
Finally decided to be a Journalist,
And pursued my goal with earnest.

Did courses in Journalism and Writing,
Found them extremely interesting.
Broke into print with hobbies and interests,
Since then have written on a wide range of subjects.

These days writing for me is therapy,
While others offer me sympathy.
Now without my identical twin,
I draw on all the strength within.

celine dion ft. josh groban, the prayer

Monday, May 2, 2011

Josh Groban - Your Raise Me Up on Ellen Show



      Some years ago my identical twin sister Janine and I had an article published in Jamaica's national Sunday Gleaner newspaper titled 'MUSIC AS THERAPY.'  It gave facts on research findings showing the effect of music on human beings, plants and animals.  We started it with this quotation from one of the world's great philosopher's, Plato - "Music is moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything."

     I remember the days when we started playing the recorder at St. Cyprian's Prep School. We were even brave enough to play it in front of the whole school at devotion when we were in high school. Oh, how I wish that we had continued piano lessons. We were even members of the choirs at our two high schools.

    We have always found time to enjoy listening to music and our taste included a wide variety - reggae, calypso, soul, gospel etc. These days I do not get to listen to a lot of music during the week but I certainly make sure to get my fair share from the radio stations and video programmes on television during the weekends.

      As I write about this subject I am here wondering when I will be able to take up the case with CDs that Janine and I received as gifts or bought ourselves.  Not even at Christmas time am I able to listen to our many Christmas CDs.  Anyway I am happy that I can still watch and enjoy the popular Digicel Rising Stars Show which Janine and I enjoyed so much.  I eagerly await the start of this year's season.

     There are several songs that have had a great impact on me since Janine's death.  Two of them are Josh Groban's song 'You Raise Me Up' and Judy Jacob's Song 'Days of Elijah (There is No God Like Jehovah).'  I find them so inspirational.

    Whenever I hear Josh Groban's song I remember how it lifted my spirit so many mornings shortly after Janine's death. There was a talkshow on radio that we used to listen to every morning and the host always started her show  with this song.

     Music is indeed powerful! As our late reggae superstar Bob Marley said in his song Trench Town Rock "One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain."
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