The bond between twins can be addictive. In the memoir, Her , Christa Pavarrani tells the story of an enmeshed identical twinship, of two sisters whose psychological merging spawns wrenching personal dependence and conflict. The children of an abusive father, a wounded mother, and a dysfunctional home, Christa and Cara were thrown together for their survival and solace. Their similarities, loyalty and interdependency were reinforced. And when they looked in the mirror, they saw each other.
When we lose a twin, it feels for many of us like the literal end of our lives. That is true, in that it is the end of life as we have known it since the moment of our conception. As one twin explained to me: “The day my twin died, the lights went out.” Another twin said to me, “After Daphne died, it was as if I couldn’t breathe. I’d never in my life thought about breathing. I just took it for granted that Daphne and my breath were part of being alive.” When our twin dies, we must begin to breathe again; we must begin again with our lives, starting with what truly feels like the end.