Complicated twin grief

I lost my twin brother to suicide on 8/4/22. I am devastated, lost, confused and at peace all at once. He struggled with mental illness since we were 13, and lost his battle at the age of 44. I am at peace that he is finally free of the torture he lived with in his mind every day. His mental illness divided us and tore us apart. He could be loving and caring one minute and mean and vengeful the next. I was usually his target and as he saw it, I was “the perfect one” (oh if he only knew how imperfect my life has been). He started using drugs in our 20’s (which we did not know about at the time) and became verbally abusive and manipulative. He was the same with my parents who eventually started the process of getting a restraining order against him. In the midst of that he suddenly moved out of state…..I have not talked to him since….for over 15 years. I decided that I needed to work on building myself up and could not do that while he was tearing me down. My mom was afraid of him and my dad was angry. I often kept tabs on him through friends or a occasional browse through his social media. I thought of him often and wondered how he was. I could never really tell because he often hid behind a smile. I have since adopted two children with special needs and wished they could have an uncle, but knew on his bad days or weeks that they would become his target, and I could not let that happen. I could not let him do to them what he did to me.
I’m finding out now that my parents have had email contact with him for the past several years which followed the same path as the relationship in the past- good until it wasn’t, then he became angry and mean. Time would go on and he would reach out again until he got upset, and the cycle continued. I’m upset that my parents didn’t tell me they were talking and that he had been accomplishing such wonderful things between his episodes. I’m upset that he reached out to them and didn’t attempt to reach out to me. We never had that “twin bond” that others expect twins to have. We were close as children but as his mental health took over and he refused to seek treatment we grew farther apart in my attempts to shelter from the storm and chaos.
Now he is gone! I don’t carry any guilt but I carry a tremendous amount of regret. I do not believe that I, nor anyone else could have stopped him. Per the investigator he had been meticulously planning this for a long time and had every detail covered. He left my parents, his friend and the mother of his son a note. I have nothing. I wish I had something saying “I know you didn’t do anything, I know you never wronged me. I’m sorry for blaming you and taking it all out on you. I thought about you and wondered how you were doing from time to time. I really do love you”. But, even in his tragic death I didn’t exist to him.
We didn’t talk for 15 years and yet there is an unimaginable hole in my heart and soul. For 15 years he was not in my life, now he is gone and I cannot imagine my life without him. I’m mourning the loss of our relationship 15 years ago, the twin relationship we never had, the fences and hearts that will never be mended. I’m confused about how I can feel such intense pain and loss when he has already been lost for the past 15 years. Perhaps because there was always the chance that he would get better and we would be close again. When he was himself, he was brilliant, creative, thoughtful, opinionated and stubborn.
My parents have offered to have some of his ashes placed in a blown glass memory stone for me. While I would love this, I struggle with the question as to whether or not he would even want me to have them. I struggle with whether or not I deserve them after not talking to him for 15 years. I struggle with more than I anticipated I would. Grief is complicated, but I never imagined just how complicated it could be in these circumstances.

One thought on “Complicated twin grief

  1. So sorry you have been struggling. I too am an identical twin, I lost my sis in March of this year. We were super close, 39 years of being in each others daily lives. I’m sorry you didn’t get to experience the twin bond.

    I think you should get the memory stone. He would definitely want you to have it. Mental illness can really distort reality. I got a memorial tattoo with her ashes in it. Getting her ashes was a little closure for me. She only left a note to her 3 young boys, even though we were joined at the hip most of our lives. Big hugs and love to you!

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