When I posted on Facebook on Oct. 15 for National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness day, I was pleasantly surprised to find a message in my inbox from my mother’s former best friend. The two of them were close from childhood on, and I grew up calling this woman Auntie and playing with her daughters, one who was my age and one a few years younger. Fifteen years ago she and my mother had a falling out for reasons I don’t know and that are none of my business anyway.
This woman contacted me to share with me that she too had experienced two losses. She was understanding and compassionate towards me and understood my pain. I was touched that she reached out to me and shared with her how my mom was doing. Obviously, she was upset to hear my mother had been suffering with breast cancer and asked me if she could contact my mother and try to reconcile. I told my mother what happened and she started crying and showed me a card that she had started to write to her friend but had yet to send. She was thrilled that her friend was open to reconnecting.
Earlier this week, the two former best friends got together for the first time in a decade and a half. They spent hours catching up and talking about what had transpired in their lives since they’d lost touch. My mother told me a story that both haunts and inspires and comforts me.
In addition to the two losses my mother’s friend told me about, she also lost a twin-a vanishing twin, as it is oddly termed-during her pregnancy with her younger daughter. She did not give it much thought, nor did she ever share this with her daughter.
When her daughter was in high school and going through a particularly tough time, she asked her mother if she had been a twin. Her mother asked her why she was asking and her daughter replied that she knew she had a twin because her twin brother always visited her and comforted her whenever she was sad. Her mother shared with her daughter the name she would have given her twin if he had lived.
I am blown away by this story, and while of course I am skeptical, part of me wants it to be true. I firmly believe in an afterlife, and the idea of a brother being there for his sister in spirit, even if not able to in body, is comforting and wonderful. It also reinforces my belief that life begins very early, and that a lost baby is a real child that has died, no matter how early in a pregnancy a loss occurs.