Thursday, June 30, 2011



    Since I joined Facebook I have used the Status Shuffle quotations on many occasions. My favourites include those that come under the topics of  inspirational, life-lessons and life. They often come in so handy when my spirit needs a lift. I also find that many persons like these quotations. Here are some of the favourites that I have chosen:

"Strength is looking back and seeing what you have been through and knowing you were strong enough to make it through."

"Life throws things at you sometimes and it says, you can't do it.  You gotta be the one to throw things back at life100 times harder, and tell it watch me."

"My life is guided by my G.P.S...God.Power.Strength."

"Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future. Faith is having the courage to dance to it today."

"Life has its UPS and DOWNS.  The trick is to enjoy the UPS and have courage during the DOWNS."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011



         Since becoming a twinless twin I have become more and more interested in the facts about twins in general and also about my twin and me. Recently Mom found 2 Baby books that she had safely packed away. Janine and I had never looked in these books. One is a small yellow  book and the other is a big blue book. The covers and inside are decorated with drawings of flowers, baby pictures, ribbons, balloons etc. In the bigger book Mom has in some pictures of Janine and me. By the way, in those days one had no idea if one would have a girl or a boy until the child was born. Anyway Mom found out that she was having twins ahead of time.

        Now to the facts in the book. One fact that we always knew was that we were born on a Saturday. Mom said that she was due to travel into Kingston some 45 miles away to give birth but on that morning she realized that she would not get any further than the Port Maria hospital some 6 1/2 miles away. She jokingly remembered how nervous our father was and after they reached the hospital she told him to go and have some breakfast. Shortly after he left I arrived in the world at 10.15 while Janine arrived  5 minutes later. I weighed 6 1/4 lbs while Janine weighed 5 1/2 lbs.  It was noted that I had a birthmark on my right leg but I can't find it now!:) In each book she kept records of our weight gain and at times it switched where I had on more weight and then Janine had on more weight.

         However these are the facts that struck me. Although I was the first born Janine crawled, walked, spoke, and had teeth before I did. I am sorry that she is not around now that I could joke around with her and say the words of an ad that we used to see on television here "How come?!" I asked Mom if at any time she got nervous when one took  some time after the other to do things but she said "Not at all."  For instance Janine was taking steps at 13 months and she had to wait 1 month later to see me take those first steps.

         I also noted that in our early years we had some pets - Nip and Lassie were our dogs and Tibs our cat.  I think I have some recollection of Nip and Lassie but can't remember Tibs. The records of our christening, birthday celebrations and the gifts we got were also interesting. Mom is having a hard time getting these books back from me but I will certainly make sure I know where to find them again!

Sunday, June 26, 2011



    Isn't it amazing how sometimes we feel down and out and then we see a quotation that really lifts our spirit? I am constantly being inspired by quotations. No wonder I could not resist adding the WISDOM QUOTES feature on the right sidebar of my Blog. Check it throughout the day as the quotes change regularly. From time to time I will also share some of my favourite quotations.  Here are a few:

"Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow." - Mary Ann Radmacher

"We cannot direct the winds but we can adjust the sails." - Bertha Calloway


"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark." - Rabindranath Tagore

nana mouskouri - amazing grace

I can always depend on my Facebook friends to lift my spirit! Thanks to Jack who posted this AWESOME video on my Facebook Wall!

Friday, June 24, 2011



        I am big fan of athletics and recently I have had reason to focus on this. First I had a visit from my cousin who was a coach of one of my former high schools. As I interviewed him for the school's website we recalled the wonderful achievements of athletes from that school. 

        Now in full focus are many of our top athletes with our 4 day Jamaica National Athletics Championships being held at the National Stadium. These Championships will determine the athletes who will represent our country in the World Championships in August .

       Wonderful memories flow as I remember August/September 2008 when my twin sister and I sat in our living-room watching the Beijing Olympics. She was not feeling well but was still able to enjoy Jamaican athletes winning medals and parading with our black, green and gold flag!  Right now I can picture her seated in our gold living-room chair with a smile on her face and there was certainly a lot to smile about. Just look at the achievements of our small country at those games:
       Usain Bolt - Gold in the Men's 100m with a world record - 9.69 seconds
       Usain Bolt - Gold in the  Men's 200m with a world record - 19.30 sec.
       Men's 4x100m relay - Gold - world record 37.10 seconds
       Shelly-Ann Fraser - Gold in the Women's 100m
       Sherone Simpson  & Kerron Stewart - Silver in the  Women's 100m! 
       Yes! That is right! Two Jamaicans won silver medals in the race!
       Veronica Campbell-Brown - Gold in the Women's 200m
       Kerron Stewart - Bronze in the Women's 200m
       Shericka Williams - Silver in the Women's 400m
       Melaine Walker - Gold in the Women's 400m hurdles - 52.64 seconds
       Olympic Record
       Women's 4x400m relay - Bronze 

      The time that we spent together revelling in the great performance of our athletes is among the many special moments that I will treasure. It is still hard to believe that only 2 months later in that year she departed this life. One thing for sure, great memories live on forever.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


    My post a few days ago showed a comic strip featuring mothers at a mothers of twins support group meeting.  They all looked so tired. I asked Mom if this is how she felt at times when Janine and I were very young. Well, she said that Janine and I resulted in her getting to love the energy food drink, Milo. Sometimes she got so tired that she would mix a glass of Milo and put it in the refrigerator. When it was cold enough she would drink it. She never regarded us as 'double trouble' or the 'terrible twos' though!:)  Today she still loves Milo and especially during these hot days on our 'Island in the Sun.' Attached are some pictures of Mom, Janine and me.  At least she did not look worn out as yet in the first picture! She was seated behind us in the second one! Maybe a bit tired eh?!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Over the weekend a friend sent me this comic strip. Mom and I had to smile when we saw it. In my next post I will give my take on it. In the meantime smile and give your face a rest!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all fathers and grandfathers. I am happy that since Thursday I have been able to pay tribute to my father on this Blog.  Today I end my tribute with this poem titled 'A TRIBUTE TO DAD.'

My dad was a politician who truly cared,
So much with people he willingly shared.
Never in doubt that he was elected to represent,
Not like some politicians who are often absent.

A father that has made me proud,
Oh how I wish he was still around.
A short life based on good ethics,
An example of decency in politics.

Stood tall and looming with his integrity,
Determined not to ever lose his dignity.
To his dying day he eagerly served,
Doing good for people he never swerved.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

dance with my father again-celine dion22.flv

Thanks to my friend Jacqui Bodden-Prince for sharing this Celine Dion version of this wonderful song with me on her fan page at www.facebook.elainejames

Friday, June 17, 2011

Celine Dion - Dance With My Father (2008 Version)



      As we are about to celebrate another Father's Day I take time out to pay tribute to my father Harold Haughton-James who passed away when he was 56. At that time Janine and I were only 13 but I will treasure those years as during that time we learnt some important life lessons.

       He was a jovial father and a politician who had no time to consume himself with hate. I admired the ease with which he had friends from the opposition party and how he treated people equally regardless of their political affiliation. The tribalistic attitude of our politics at that time could not change him.

       He started his political career when a Councillor was not a paid official but showed dedication to service. He was a shining example that one does not have to be paid in order to carry out his duties well.  So much so was his commitment that even when he had his first stroke in 1970 and was hospitalized he kept asking questions concerning his duties as a Parish Councillor.

       At times he took us to and from school. On our way home some evenings it was like a Geography lesson titled 'GETTING TO KNOW YOUR PARISH.' We enjoyed his traversing here and there as we got to know several areas in St. Mary - Belfield, Islington, Oxford, Free Hill, Bailey's Vale and Hampstead, to name a few.

       Early in the morning on August 14, 1975, he sat with us on the veranda and we had a good time chatting and laughing.  I can still remember as we drove out with our aunt-in-law that morning she said "Oh, I forgot to tell Harry good morning."  We turned around and saw him as he stepped back into the house. A few hours later he collapsed and died at the Parish Council meeting. As fate would have it he died serving people.

       He was a real church man and served as a member of the Church Committee for many years.  He was also a Justice of the Peace and would sign documents for persons who came to his house at various times of the day from Sunday to Saturday.

       The words on his tombstone tell the story of his life "I have fought the good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith" - 2 Timothy 4:7

       Having lost my identical twin sister in 2008 I have become more and more curious about death. I have read several books including 'Healing Grief' by James Van Praagh. I am here hoping that Janine and my father have already met each other in the afterlife.  I still wonder how coincidental it was that they both died on a Thursday, just before noon and a few weeks before they would have celebrated their birthdays. Dad and Janine are at peace and I know we will all meet again some day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011



Sunday June 19 will be celebrated as Father's Day. From today until Sunday I will post tributes to my father. I will always remember his dedication to service.

Faithful and devoted public servant

Always helpful and caring to his fellowman

There to serve without thought of compensation

Happy, jovial and often with a smile

Eagerly giving service to his country

Ready, willing and able to stand up for a cause.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


My brother attended a funeral on Sunday and I have just seen the funeral programme with this awesome poem at the back of it. I did some research and found out that it was written by British Poet and Painter David Harkins:

      "You can shed tears that she is gone
        Or you can smile because she has lived.
        You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
        Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.

        Your heart can be empty because you can't see her
        Or you can be full of the love that you shared.
        You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
        Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
        You can remember her and only that she is gone
        Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
        You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
        Or you can do what she would want:smile, open your eyes, love and go on."

Monday, June 13, 2011



       We have often heard the saying "Laughter is the best medicine." Recently I read that research has shown that 1 minute of laughter boosts your immune system for 24 hours while 1 minute of anger depresses your system for the next 6 hours.  Nevertheless all of us who have experienced the loss of a loved one know the emotions we go through and how difficult it is to smile and laugh when we are going through the grieving process.

       When the day comes that you discover that you can smile and laugh again then you know that you are healing no matter how slowly.

       A few days ago I had to laugh when a friend sent me an email message titled "Courtroom Humour." This is a lawyer questioning a witness:-

            Q. How old is he?
            A. John is ...
            Q. You said he is Joan's twin, right?
            A. Right
            Q. So the same age as her?
            A. Right.

           Now you tell me! If they are twins they must be the same age! Well! Well!

Friday, June 10, 2011


      When I got connected to the internet a few months after my twin's death in October 2008 little did I know that I would have been swept up by the wave of the social media. First it was Facebook. Now I have joined Twitter, LinkedIn and Savvy 24 Seven. Add the twinless twins and twin loss groups and I can say that I have been truly blessed to link up with some wonderful persons who have become good friends on this healing journey. As the saying goes "Friends are God's way of taking care of us." I dedicate this poem to all my friends:


There is nothing better than a true friend,
Someone on whom you can always depend.
In times of sadness a godsend,
No misunderstanding that you cannot mend.

There for you when there is the thrill of good times,
Uttering positive words that sound like chimes.
Happy to know there is something to celebrate,
When everything in your world is going great.

Never short of words of encouragement,
Happy to see your dream's fulfilment.
Never too busy to help you cope,
Especially when you desperately need words of hope.

Standing with you through thick and thin,
Especially when your life seems to be in a spin.
Remembers you whether you are near or far,
Not even the wide blue sea stands as a bar.

Worcester Telegram & Gazette - - Twin sister mourns slaying victim

Worcester Telegram & Gazette - - Twin sister mourns slaying victim

I just got this article in my inbox from one of my friends. It is so sad to see another person become a twinless twin under these circumstances. I pray that her twin sister, relatives and friends will be comforted. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011



Life sometimes throws us into a deep valley,
And we wonder if our spirits can ever rally.
As we climb at times we may slip and slide,
With the way out seeming far and wide.
Don't give into the feeling to throw in the towel,
We must dig ourselves out with the force of a shovel.

On rough days I repeat my favourite Psalm 23,
It lifts my heavy load and makes me feel free.
My departed twin would not want my life to be in a spin,
So I battle on doing all that is necessary to win.
Yes! There is no doubt that overcome I must,
As in the Heavenly Father I put all my trust.

Monday, June 6, 2011


        This month I will interview a former coach of one of my high schools for the school's website. This has made me reflect on the interest that Janine and I had in sports over the years.  While we showed some interest during our younger years I would not say that when we got dressed in our blue uniforms we enthusiastically rushed to Physical Education classes. Nevertheless we had fun as we attempted to play netball, softball and volleyball. Note carefully the word attempted! 

        At our first high school, Marymount High, Sports Day was a big moment when we would all dress up in the colours of our Houses and cheer and sing songs. That was the day when students had help in telling the difference between us. I used red ribbons in my hair to show that I was a Josephite while Janine had brown ribbons showing her support for the Franciscan House.

        As time progressed our interest in a variety of sports increased. However it was the comprehensive course that we pursued with the London School of Journalism that really got us showing  more interest in games like cricket and football. When it was time to study Sports Journalism we faced it with some amount of apprehension but we boldly forged ahead determined to succeed.

        Talk about bravery! We decided to write a ball by ball commentary on cricket. Now that was really something!  Normally we would turn off any radio station covering cricket and complained when we wanted to hear our favourite music programmes. At that time we did not have many radio stations in Jamaica so the choice was rather limited. 

      We wanted to do well so we started listening keenly to cricket coverage. Our interest peaked as this was the heyday of West Indies cricket with players like Michael Holding, Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd and many more. Having gotten a gist of the coverage we each sat down and wrote our own assignments. It wasn't that difficult after all and our tutors commended us.

      Slowly but surely our interest in this game increased and we actually became big fans especially of the shorter versions - 50 overs and Twenty Twenty matches. With each 4 or 6 hit by a West Indian batsman we cheered and oh what a sight it was when one of our fast bowlers knocked back the stumps of an opponent. If the wickets came in quick succession the excitement reached fever pitch!  Watching a game live on television or listening to it on the radio was good so I must express thanks to Tony Cozier, Joseph 'Reds' Perreira and many other cricket commentators who helped to make this game interesting for us.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

NY-born twin friars die on same day at age 92 | AP Nation - The News Tribune

NY-born twin friars die on same day at age 92 | AP Nation - The News Tribune

I read this amazing story this morning!  Thought I would share it here!  I always remember that Janine and I sometimes said we wanted to die at the same time.  When we realized that it would not likely happen I would say I want to die first and Janine vice versa. However it did not go that way. Anyway the Lord knows best and she is at peace now. Of course one day we will meet again!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


      On Thursday, October 16, 2008, I seemed to have fallen into a deep dark hole. This was the day when my identical twin sister Janine died after a short battle with cancer.  I felt lost, confused and hopeless. Fear and doubt overcame me and several times I asked myself "Has this really happened?"  Sleepless nights prevented me from getting a break from the bullet speed questions which shot at me with each passing moment.

       I turned to my Christian faith and received immense support from relatives and friends.  One day while having a phone conversation with my cousin Lorna in New York she informed me that some literature on Twin Loss was on the way to Jamaica for me.

      I waited anxiously for it to arrive.  I can still remember the day when my brother brought home the parcel. I grabbed a pair of scissors and tore at the outer layers as a child would open a Christmas gift. A book titled 'Twin Loss' by Dr. Raymond William Brandt quickly caught my eye.  Immediately I started reading and was surprised to find out that he had also lost an identical twin.

      My head was literally buried in the book. I have never read a book so quickly.  It helped me to understand that I was not crazy following the death of my twin but was in fact experiencing what other twinless twins went through.  His comprehensive coverage of a variety of issues and advice were a godsend. This information could only come from a twinless twin.

      A light started flickering and I began my climb out of the deep dark hole.  However the light got brighter as Dr. Brandt suggested that as part of the healing process the twinless twin should start journaling. My twin and I were Freelance Writers and we wrote many articles together. For several months I felt my career was over and saw sheets of blank paper in front of me without having the energy to take up a pen. I took his advice and started writing again. I got an exercise book and in a short time it was full of material on a wide range of subjects which could be summed up with the heading 'WITH TWIN TO TWINLESS.'

     At first I did not consider his suggestion that I should also write poems.  Over the years I admired the works of several poets but as for writing poetry this was not in my league. Suddenly I decided to give it a try and one of the first poems I wrote was titled 'BEING TWINS.'  I shared it with some friends and relatives and they said I should try and have it published as it was good and perfectly described my life with Janine.

     I kept my essays and poems for awhile and as my state of mind got better I decided to start submitting work to publications. I have had a number of acceptances and feel worthwhile as I have been able to share them with others who are also having to cope with the stress of grief.

      Two years later I am happy that I have not only been able to write about the sad times following my loss but also the good times being one of identical twins. I am particularly pleased with an article titled 'TREASURED TWINSHIP MEMORIES' which was published in the Summer 2010 Digital Online Edition of the American publication TWINS Magazine.  It recounts the wonderful times I had for almost 47 years and encourages parents of twins to ensure that their twins enjoy their twinship so they too can have precious memories.

       I have definitely been through the darkest moment of my life but a light is now shining and I have found inner strength which I never thought I had. Thanks to the writing of Dr. Raymond Brandt I have not only emerged with important material to deal with my twinless state but my writing career has risen from what appeared to be ashes. Most instructive  is the fact that out of this adversity I can now pursue another genre of writing, that of writing poetry. Now I am a living example of this adversity quotation: - " It is through adversity that we become stronger, find new ways to achieve and come to know that through perseverance in the face of challenge we can accomplish anything."

Last week Friday I joined Savvy 24 Seven which is a Social Network for Professionals. I thank Crystal Watts for inviting me to the group. My first post there was this article. I decided to share it here as it reveals a part of my experience since becoming a twinless twin.


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