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Remembering your twins or triplets

For me, it has always been so important to keep Charlie and Joshua’s memory alive.

I remember so clearly, having a conversation with my head teacher when I went back to school, two months after they died, (I am also a teacher) explaining that I never want people to forget about my twins and her promising that they wouldn’t.

I found it easier to begin with as more people asked about them, especially in the first few months.

One thing that I did straight away which I found really helpful was to write down my experience. I then added it to my photo albums of the boys along with copies of all of the thank you letters that we wrote to the hospital staff. It is lovely to look through and I have shared this early version of my story many times publically.

We were also so lucky to be given the most gorgeous memory boxes which Jess and Samuel would often ask to look through as they were growing up.

I also bought some jewellery that I had engraved, and my husband bought me a ring with their names and 2 stars on for our first Christmas without them.

It is probably times such as Christmas, Mother’s Day, birthdays etc. that are the most difficult but they are also times when it is nice to do something special to remember. We always light a candle during our meal for all of these special occasions as well as many other family occasions, it is my way of including them even though they are not physically present.  I have had many special candles over the years which I enjoy looking out for; candles with two wicks, stars, Forget-Me-Nots and their initials to name a few.

On Mother’s Day we always take some flowers to the cemetery and try to do something together as a family, Dominic (my husband) is especially good at buying me a card from them both too. Christmas was very difficult the first year. We made it more bearable by giving photos of the twins to close family and being with our parents.

It is on their birthday/anniversary on September 13th that we dedicate the day to them and always have.  We have such special memories of their birthday over the years.  Some of the things we have done include-

·         Tea party

·         Making a birthday cake and singing happy birthday

· Fundraising -10 mile walk on their 10th birthday, 15k obstacle run for their 15th, 18 things for 18 days for their 18th including an 18 mile run.

· Boat trip on a barge for the day with family

·         Visiting the cemetery

·         Picnics

·         Special meals

I am so lucky that I always receive birthday and thinking of you messages and cards from my lovely family and friends which mean so much. They are always remembered.

There have also been many family occasions over the years that Charlie and Joshua have been included in, such as my mum and dad’s Ruby wedding party, my brother and sister in law’s wedding and Dominic’s brother and sister in law’s wedding as well as our own occasions. We used the top layer of our wedding cakes as our Christening cake, as tradition we kept the cake for Charlie and Joshua and had two little stars on it and my mum made Jess her own Christening cake. I have been so touched by these and have cried ‘happy’ tears on each of these occasions.

We have brought Jess and Samuel up to always talk about their older twin brothers. They are and always have been happy to chat about them. They would regularly asked to look through their memory box when they were younger and show their friends the photos of Charlie and Joshua when they came to our house. I loved to see Charlie and Joshua’s names in their school books, particularly when they did a family tree. We always encouraged Jess and Samuel to make suggestions about what we could do for their birthday each year. One year Samuel wanted to release football balloons for them at the cemetery, he was so pleased watching them float up to them as he wanted them to have them to play with. Jess asked to take a photo of her brothers in to school to show her teacher when she was in Reception, which was received so well by her lovely teacher. They have also been keen to be involved in any of the fundraising that I have done over the years: supporting me at the London marathon where I wore lilac ribbons all over my vest with baby’s names on who had also died. It was so good to see them at mile 19 where I was struggling. They also both ran part of the 18 miles and joined in the 18 mile bike ride.

I am so proud of all 4 of my children. I often wonder if Charlie and Joshua would have had similar personalities to Jess and Samuel or different altogether, would they have loved Maths and football too?, or singing and dancing? Each time Jess and Samuel reach a milestone- learning to drive, going to University, 18th birthday it reinforces what we are missing, but sometimes in a nice way as I like to wonder…

Dominic and I decided early on that we wanted to buy a treasure box for all of their things, which I continue to add to. It is very full now though! I have particularly enjoyed collecting and buying things with stars, angels and Forget-me-nots on which I associate with the boys. In fact many of my friends and family also buy me star related gifts now too. I also enjoy looking for Forget-me-not flowers while I am out running. We have planted some in our garden and at the cemetery too.

The twins are buried in a little village called Hook Norton, about 10 miles away where we got married and my mum’s family are from. They are near to my grandparents and more recently my auntie. We take flowers and pots regularly. We recently had the headstone cleaned which we were really pleased with.

I hope that you can see how important it is to me that my precious twin boys are always included and remembered. I love to say their names and to tell people about them. My work in the baby loss sector is such an important part of my life too, as a direct result of my loss and as a dedication to Charlie and Joshua.  They have changed my life and allowed me to meet some of my closest friends who have also lost babies. I am privileged to hear about other babies who also died in my work.

I will continue to keep their memory alive and I am really grateful to my family and friends as well as my friends that I have met along the way that have also experienced baby loss.

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