On Wednesday Nov 14, our host Jan Miyasaki spoke with Mary R. Morgan, author of Beginning with the End: A Memoir of Twin Loss and Healing. Mary is a licensed psychotherapist specializing in dealing with twin-less twins. Mary has her own personal experience in dealing with the loss of her twin brother. A member of the Rockefeller family – her father, Nelson A. Rockefeller, was the governor of New York – Mary led a sheltered and privileged life until she was 23, when her twin brother disappeared off the coast of New Guinea in 1961. Mary explains that she repressed her grieving, and went into a state of denial for a very long time, until she was finally able to begin her healing process.
She began specifically working with twinless twins when she worked with a group of twins who had lost their twins during the Sept 11, 2001 attack of the World Trade Center. During group therapy with them, she observed the “atmosphere of twin-ship” in the room, and saw that the group had come together by this common bond. Listening to them share their stories, and being able to share her own with the group, Mary decided to begin writing a book about twin loss, which the group had asked her to do. “I had found through my own long healing journey, and through my work with them, that you can deal with deep personal loss. That there is a natural healing process that belongs to each one of us, but we have to partner with that process in order to move along that journey’s path.”
Mary explains that the time spent in the womb plays an important role for what happens in one’s life later. In fraternal and identical twins, the pair grows in the womb and develops in relationship. Sonograms show that twins are reaching out to each other, in an attempt at contact, as early as 14 weeks. Says Mary “the developmental task of finding our own identity, which we each have to do, is more challenging for twins.” After being born, though they are ‘separated’ from the mother and no longer in the womb, the twins, psychologically, do not separate from each other. As a result, the strong bong that exists between both identical and fraternal twins makes for an especially difficult situation if one of the twins experiences the loss of the other.
Beginning with the End is divided into four sections: Search, Denial, Healing, and Moving Forward. Mary explains the difference between moving on and moving forward, “moving forward is an important concept. It means moving forward with your journey of loss and finally accepting that the physical manifestation of your loved one, or your twin, is not coming back again. That needs to be accepted in all parts of your body and mind. You don’t give up your relationship: that belongs forever, the relationship belongs to you.”
Mary is also connected with the Twinless Twins Support Group, which helps twinless twins deal with their loss and helps with the grieving process.
Visit Mary’s website for more information about the book, her work, and life.
Listen to the entire interview here: