Our Birthday: Life as a Twinless Twin

Photogrief / Photogrief : Eleanor Haley


by Melina Cruz, twin to Melissa

I am a twinless twin. Our birthday is on April 23rd. Melissa died on April 24. How insane is that? It has been 5 years since she passed away.  I still cannot wrap my head around that. These past five years have gone by so quickly, yet so slowly. Some days I feel like I am moving forward and living my best life. Other times, I feel stuck and I cannot breathe. Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling happy. Sometimes I am angry when people tell me not to feel sad. Sometimes I cry when I am overwhelmed and it is just too much to handle. I spend so much energy trying to be okay in this world without Melissa, that when I get home I feel exhausted and drained. Melissa would want me to be happy. People tell me that all the time. I guess I believe them.

I took this picture randomly because I thought it looked cool. Afterward, I realized this is where I am in my life. I am simply putting one foot in front of another. Taking one step at a time. I miss Melissa every day and that will not change. My grief is a part of me now. I understand that more and more each day.

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22 Comments on "Our Birthday: Life as a Twinless Twin"

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  1. Samantha  January 19, 2022 at 5:34 pm Reply

    I lost my twin sister a month ago suddenly. She was only 33 and died 16 days after we celebrated our birthday and right before Christmas. I feel such deep sadness, I feel numb. Other days I feel like it hasn’t happened. I can’t get my head around it and I don’t know how she died yet which makes things worse. I have her son under an SGO. He is 9. He is just like her and has the same cherry lips as her. Even though I lost my twin I am so grateful she gave me my nephew. I don’t know what’s ahead of me but I feel your pain to anyone who lost a twin.

  2. Lelo  November 18, 2021 at 11:43 am Reply

    I lost my twin sister on the 27 September 2021, due to unnatural causes. I would try my best to hold myself from crying because i didn’t want her to see that it was that bad but i couldn’t hold it and she will comfort me, she was very positive during her sickness, always telling me don’t be sad or cry i will be better. She even promised me that she will fight because my mother died the same way. Currently i am lost, i dont know where to from here. I relate “I feel that half of me died that day with her. its a profound endless pain and grief”. I just pray for strength as i am weary.

    2
  3. donald.keras@gmail.com  November 9, 2021 at 2:47 pm Reply

    My twin brother died suddenly at age 25.
    On February 8th it will be 37 years. I turned 62 today, November 9, 2021.
    Celebrating your birthday is never without raw emotion of lost potential.
    Since his death the dichotomy of happily celebrating my birthday and the feeling of loss has and likely will always be present.
    I still shed tears on birthdays yet attempt to conceal them.
    I’m unable to explain this to those not part of a multiple birth but most are empathetic.
    I felt that there must be others and I’m glad I found this group yet sad at your losses. Another dichotomy…

    2
  4. Michelle Talbot  July 18, 2021 at 1:31 am Reply

    My twins name is also melissa. Our birthday was on 26 February and she died on 26 Of May. Idk if I’ll make it through this.

    4
    • Alena Davidson  January 11, 2022 at 6:57 am Reply

      My name is Alena I lost my identical twin sister Monique 6 years ago to cancer I looked after her till the end of course the beautiful nurses.
      I do not feel the same still I miss her so much

      1
  5. Gem  June 18, 2021 at 10:54 am Reply

    My name is Gwen. I lost my twin just on June 16th, 2021. From Covid-19.Our birthday is coming up on June 23rd. I am beyond crushed and feeling like I’m not sure how I will make through our birthday from now on. The last time I was able to see or speak to my twin was via a zoom call and he was intubated on ECMO. My heart breaks for his wife and children and our mother and other siblings. I know all of their relationships and bonds are so very different and extremely strong in there own ways. But, for my I feel like I just lost the person I came into the world with. (He is 3 minutes older than me.) I’m beyond crushed. I don’t want to seem selfish or like I don’t care about the tremendous impact his loss of life has on others in my family. Especially since Father’s day is this weekend and his 3 children are beyond devastated, but I feel like no-one will ever know the impact this is having on me since we came into this world together. It’s all so raw and my heart is broke. I feel like I just lost 1/2 of my own life.

    4
    • Ed Echeverría  July 1, 2021 at 11:16 pm Reply

      May I suggest visiting Twinless Twins Support Group International, http://www.twinlesstwins.org. I lost my twin just over 5 years ago. This organization has been a great help.

      3
      • Alena Davidson  January 11, 2022 at 7:00 am

        Thanks hon but I live in Australia

        1
  6. james. M  May 2, 2021 at 5:56 pm Reply

    My name is James M, i lost my twin brother Rydon M. on February 5th ,2021 , he was 34years. his death has got me feeling lost , unable to understand the meaning of life. my twin brother was diagnosed with kidney failure in December 2020. almost immediately , i left graduate school to go and look after him. in February 2021 , he died. although I have returned to my grad program. i feel that half of me died that day with him. its a profound endless pain and grief.

    4
  7. Gemma  April 14, 2021 at 4:36 pm Reply

    My twin sister died 15th march 2019 very suddenly to cardiac arrest . She left behind a beautiful baby boy who was 10 month old
    I am very involved in his life but I feel so sad angry confused that she was taken from her baby . He was born very premature weighing a mere 540 g against all odds and 5 months in hospital she took him home . Not too long after she passed away. I have a rollercoaster of emotion going on inside me most days . X

    2
  8. Raeesa Asmal  March 25, 2021 at 3:53 pm Reply

    I lost my twin to uterine cancer on Monday…almost a month after our 33rd birthday. We were together for almost every day of our lives and were really only apart for 30 days which she spent in various hospitals earlier this year. My mind is numb….I feel like a part of me is missing. I’m happy that she’s not suffering any longer but I have no idea how to adjust to a life without her physical presence.

    3
    • sammie  April 14, 2021 at 6:57 pm Reply

      hi Raeesa. stay strong. you’ll be ok. I lost my twin to cancer less than a year ago too. Take it a day at a time. her spirit is still with you and she is free. its a rollercoaster for me, just ride the waves and accept whatever you feel without fear and let the deep grief be felt too. afterwards there is relief. that’s the best advice i can give. you’re no alone. think about what she would want for you. i send love.

      1
    • james  May 2, 2021 at 6:06 pm Reply

      i feel your pain. its been 3 months since i lost my identical twin brother, he was 34 years old. i lost and going through depression.

      2
  9. Robyne Chetty  March 25, 2021 at 3:15 pm Reply

    My friend lost a her twin sister and this year is the first birthday without her ,however I’m not sure how to wish her when it’s obviously not a happy one .

    1
  10. Brittany  February 9, 2021 at 5:12 pm Reply

    So sorry for your loss. I lost my twin brother on our birthday a year 1/2 ago….nothing will ever be the same

    2
  11. Rachel Larson  February 4, 2021 at 3:46 am Reply

    My son passed away in June of 2020 due to an accident. He has a twin sister. They were to be turning 16 together on Feb 14th, valentine babies. I can’t wrap my head from always having to share a birthday and having to make decisions together and now that is all gone. I find a lot on losing a twin at birth but not on a twin loss at an older age.

    2
  12. Maureen Callahan  September 4, 2019 at 6:08 am Reply

    I am sorry for your loss! I’m a twin and my twin sister just lost her 22 year old son who is exactly 2 months to the day older than my son. We were pregnant at the same time, we raised them so closely together. I try to explain to people why the death of my twin’s son, my beloved nephew who is so much more than a nephew hurts so bad but I don’t think anyone understands. I’m sending you a hug. I am so very sorry for you.

    4
  13. Justin  August 14, 2019 at 1:38 am Reply

    I feel your pain.My twin brother died on our birthday.March 18th 2018. We we’re supposed to go fishing.He never showed up. It’s never benn the same.

    5
  14. Nathan L  July 19, 2018 at 12:28 pm Reply

    Thank you for your post. It hit me hard personally. My mom and her sister were identical twins, named Melanie and Melissa. They have both passed now. My aunt Melissa died before my mom and I know it was very difficult for her to say the least. Keep going and taking steps forward.

    3
  15. laura  June 29, 2018 at 4:37 pm Reply

    I got all choked up when I read your post and saw your photo. It is so deeply felt, raw and truthful. We (my daughter and I ) felt the same way when we lost her father, my husband, best friend and lover. It’s been 7 years since he left us to start his next unknown journey and the pain is not as piercing as it was in the beginning but it still goes as deep. For her, losing her dad at age 12 will be part of her for the rest of her life.
    thank you for sharing your emotional truth.

    4
    • Lelo  November 18, 2021 at 11:39 am Reply

      I lost my twin sister on the 27 September 2021, due to unnatural causes. I would try my best to hold myself from crying because i didn’t want her to see that it was that bad but i couldn’t hold it and she will comfort me, she was very positive during her sickness, always telling me don’t be sad or cry i will be better. She even promised me that she will fight because my mother died the same way. Currently i am lost, i dont know where to from here. I relate “I feel that half of me died that day with her. its a profound endless pain and grief”. I just pray for strength as i am weary.

      1

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