Monthly Archives: March 2014

Twinless Twin

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I attended my first Twinless Twin meeting yesterday.  Twinless Twins is an organization that supports twins who have lost a twin, through death or estrangement.  It was a small group and I was one of two first time attendees.  The other newly alone twin was a tiny woman, less than 5 feet tall and 100 pounds.  A beautiful petite blonde with her beloved Nico (Nick). All the twinless twins in attendance were women so I was glad to see another man there for my husband to speak with. My husband can be quite an intimidating looking fellow, standing over 6′ in his boots, over 200 pounds, with a tightly trimmed white beard and huge presence.  But then he puts on that disarming smile and speaks and it can short circuit brains as they try to match the personality to the appearance. So the men stood off to one side and chatted while I met with the other women.

It was a good experience. Very hard but good. I don’t have anyone to share my story with except my beloved so it was helpful to share what has happened. (My friend Anne Maubach did have lunch with me last week and let me unload quite a bit on her…she was very sweet.) It was wonderful to hear others stories and to know I’m as “normal” as can be expected.  Each twins story was so completely different from each other, but all were about how we deal with this indescribable loss.

I say it was good because I was able to share, and though I tried not to cry, I still did.  I don’t like to cry in front of folks. I even had my beloved grabbing for the tissue and tears streamed down his rugged cheeks. Somewhat cathartic. At this particular meeting, almost all the twin passings (I was relieved to hear that other twins hate to use the word “die” or “died” as I do.) As I was saying, all the twins passings were sudden. One was speaking one moment, then let out a little gasp and was done.  One was struck by a semi truck.  One was hit by a car as she crossed the road…and on and on.  And all of us who have survived ask the same questions…”How do I breath?  How do I keep on living?”  And though none of us felt the desire to commit suicide, we all have the inescapable desire to join our twins. For me, it is only the desire to be here with my husband and 17-year old daughter that keeps me moving forward.  Without them, and the belief that I will someday be together with my twin once again, I shudder to think where I might be today. So we talked, we shared love and then we lit candles for our fallen twins. A small bit of ash fell upon my left thumb as I lit the candle of the twin next to me. I brushed it away. A blister formed but I did not notice it until I left the meeting. We all hugged and I committed to attend a future meeting.  Then we went our separate ways. Some back to Colorado, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Cottonwood…

Then my sweetie hugged me tight, and took me to Michael’s arts and craft store.  So we spent some time there.  We bought several items for our 17 year old.  I picked up only some leather ties for my medicine bags.  Then we headed home.  And once we got home, I went immediately to bed.  And slept for hours.  I woke up only long enough to eat a tiny something and sit beside my husband on the couch. Then went back to bed again.  And when I woke up this morning, I was so sore.  Neck and back.  I’m sure I tensed up so much more than even I knew and it was definitely manifesting itself today.  Jim rubbed my neck and back for some time just to help me be moveable.

So it was a wonderful Saturday.  But also very hard.  And I am so glad I found them. I have come to the conclusion that I went back to work too soon.  Just a little more time for me would have been smart.  So I may ask for more time off in the near future.  We will see.  But until then, I am so grateful to this organization and all I can say to them is thank you. Thank you so much.Image

 

Two Months

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Twin photo jpgAs I said in an earlier posting, this week signifies two months without my twin.  Today is that day. March 28, 2014.

I looked back at my calendar to see what else happened around that date.  Again, because Kishma’s passing seems like it has been so long ago, not merely 2 months.  I find events from that time period and my “time reference” sees them “normally.”  Meaning it seems like it’s been 2 months since I attended a specific meeting, or watched the TNT television episode of Cold Justice which focused on an unsolved homicide in my community.  It’s been almost 2-months since I had a cardiac stress test to diagnose if I have anything similar to what my twin passed away from…

But then I focus on her, on that day, and it seems like forever ago.

Kishma and I were very close, however we had our own separate lives. (It is so difficult to type the words “had” and “were”…)  Kishma had her beloveds, her 3-puppies, she participated in activities at Reedley Opera Playhouse in Fresno, and she managed the haunted house at Hobbs Grove, a nationally recognized “haunt.”  I have my 6 children (we used to joke that I had her children as well), which all but one is grown, I work for a municipality, am the owner of five (yes 5) dogs, am an avid subsistence hunter and a wildlife & fantasy artist and medicine bag maker, and spend most of my free time with my own beloved.  So, she and I would call or write or text each other fairly regularly but again, we had our own worlds and occasionally time got away from us.  However, that last week of her life we were e-mailing and texting each other constantly. Over and over.  And when she didn’t respond immediately I would call.  And vica-versa.

So when the calls stopped…when the texting ceased… and when the fun e-mails no longer came… the silence became deafening.

As I write this I suddenly noticed, at that time, I had begun texting others more often, I think to fill that sudden gap.  To receive acknowledgement and communication…and as much as I love my grown children..there was occasionally a sudden disappointment each time I realized a text wasn’t from my sister…as my mind tried to shield me from that anguish.

So, to my beloved twin sister, Kishma Danielle Morales, I love you.  Not a moment passes that you are not hovering in my thoughts…I do not laugh without wanting to share it with you.  I do not lay my head on my pillow at night without my final thoughts being of you.

I miss you.

The Last Straw

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ImageThere was a game Kishma and I used to play as children called “The Last Straw.”  It included a wonderful statue of a camel, a “saddle” that goes on the camels back, and a bunch of plastic sticks, or straws. It was very simple to play.  You would go around the table and one at a time, each player would put a straw in the camels saddle.  As the game went on and the saddle filled up, it became very suspenseful.  Eventually the poor little camel would “break” in two due to the weight of the “straw.”

Today I can relate to that camel.  I think this poor lil’ camel (me) had the last straw set on her back today.  Just sad and can’t shake it.   I had too many worries between sorrow for Kishma and Danny, me, poor Nico getting laid off, another daughter moving away and finally, being very disappointed in someone I never thought would disappointment me in this manner.  Wow…

So, here it is, 1:01 a.m. and I’m surfing the internet for new paint brushes and some heavy body Liquitex artist acrylic tube paints.  Not much on the inexpensive side out there today.  Sometimes I can find amazing deals on e-bay but not now.  Not that the prices aren’t good.  Just not good for me. I can’t work on Kishma’s painting until I get some more blue tape (which doesn’t leave residue behind on the canvas) to help with straight lines.  My hand shakes so much nowadays that I have to use tape to outline the wooden steps Kishma is sitting on in the painting, otherwise they will look like they are shivering….or doing the wave.  Oh well!  G’night folks.

 

A Fairy Laugh

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Almost two months ago I was standing at the foot of my bed, throwing clothes into a suitcase to rush to Fresno.  I simply had to get there to see my twin, who I found out a few minutes earlier had gone in for emergency open heart surgery.  And though I was told she had only a 50/50 chance of surviving, death wasn’t even considered.  If my husband and I hurried, we could be there before she was really conscious and knew what was going on.  It would be a great surprise for her.

As I was folding a pair of socks it happened.  It was a feeling of taking a deep cool breath.  It’s coolness filled every inch of my body.  Then Kishma’s face came into my mind as clearly as any memory I have ever had.  She was smiling widely with her eyes wrinkling at the corner.  She tilted her head with her black hair mussed, and she laughed.  It can only be described as something as pure as a baby’s laugh…or the imagined joy of a fairy laugh. 

Tears poured down my cheeks as I cried quietly to my husband, “It’s Kishma!  She’s gone!”

The absolute anguish of, “No! Wait for me! Don’t go yet!” was pushed aside by a laugh that was so sweet.  Though I would already be on the road when I got the call from Tan that brought the crushing news confirming she had passed away, my heart knew at that very moment that my twin went home. 

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I chose this image because it looks so much like Kishma when we were young. We were so small and slender but impish too.

Together

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Kishma and Kyla

 

This is a wonderful little old photo of Kishma and I when were graduating from junior high.  At first I was thinking it was from elementary school but I am wrong.  It was when we graduated middle (junior high) school in Los Angeles and we were 13 years old.  We were  so small.

I love this photo because it epitomizes how we were.  Kishma was wearing her plaid skirt as we had already hemmed it, and we were both working on hemming my skirt.  When we were young, that was the way we did everything.  Always together.

Today is 8 weeks and Friday will be 2 months since she passed away.  There must be some kind of survival trick that takes ahold of the brain during grief.  It feels truly like it has been 2 years.  It feels like I have been without my twin for an eternity.  But it has only been 2 months…or 8 weeks…or 56 long days.  If anyone knows a scientific term for it, let me know. 

A Sweet Hug

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ImageIt’s Sunday and one of my daughters surprised me with a framed collage of photos of Kishma and myself.  SO sweet of her. (Thank you Nico!)

This is one of my favorite photos, with the reflections flaws and everything because it is obvious that we love each other.

Huge smiles and sweet hugs between two twins.  Awesome.  Makes my heart happy.

Finding My Happy Place

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Last night was a tough one…not sure why but it definitely was.  Finally turned my light off at about midnight and still tossed and turned for another hour and a half.  Though Kishma is always in my thoughts and though it is true, I did shed tears for her last night I wasn’t doing circular thinking or stressing about her more than I did the rest of  the day.  I really tried to shut my brain down and go to sleep but it wasn’t having any of it.  I guess I should just stay up and paint until the brush starts to go limp in my hand… At least I’d be getting something done.

Of course…I would be silly to say I’m not stressed about Kishma. I am.

 And I am stressed about my health.

And stressed by the fact an old friend passed away unexpectedly this week. (Rest in Peace Danny.)

And today I am stressed about one of my daughters who was just terminated this morning from her position for political reasons (gosh I hate some of the human race sometimes…)  I would love to go into detail right now…but conditions don’t allow me to.

But I can say I am stressed for having had confidence in an individual who is obviously not worth it.  Can you spell e-g-o?  Prevaricating meglomaniac and dissembling egocentric…(a lot of big words for dishonest and conceit.)

 It would be nice to wave a magic wand and make everyone show who they really are. No “hidden agendas” or political underhandedness.  If that were to happen then…like on the movie “Shallow Hal,” there would be some very scary looking people out there.  (Deep breath.) 

But there would also be those who are even more beautiful.  I know several people who already are. I am lucky enough to work with several people like that.

And Kishma is like that.  Nice to be around, and you felt good about yourself to be around her.  That is the way everyone should be.  She is one of those you find yourself a better person having known them. But like me (of course :/ ) she is a Scottish Irish Filipina.  Terrible temper when it is riled.  But it takes us either a very long time to get there or you have had to be a totally unpleasant jerk in which case it will flare up pretty quickly.  That aside, life felt very good around Kishma.  I can still feel that when I visit her home, even with her gone.  Her mates and roommates are mellow, happy, loving people.

It’s like walking into an old Library where you can almost feel the words of the books reaching out to you, Kishma still lives in that wonderful home and reaches out to amplify the affections of all those she loves.  It is a really neat “place’ to be.

I was definitely not in that place today.  I was very angry and frustrated and ready for a fight.  I noticed, since my twins passing, on those occasions I do get angry, it seems to be faster and hotter than in the past .   I understand that increased anger can be a part of grieving.

Yet another challenge.

So, to combat this, I need to consciously find that place again where there is calmness, and a happy heart when moments like those that happened today, happen again.

I need to find my happy place.

 happy place