The Split between Grief and Joy

~ letting go ~

I’ve been experiencing this split between grief and joy regularly over the past year. Growing up with one twin, seeing her develop and rejoice over the small things of life regularly brings up the question: ‘How would it be with two of them?’ I imagine her and her twin sister, who would probably look fairly similar, being identical twins. And time stops.

Just recently I’ve met a woman who has also been growing up with one twin. It’s a rare situation I notice, as she hasn’t met anyone else in the 21 years. This makes 3 of us, that I know share this situation, and still, even though the situation might be the same, the experience will definitely be very individual. Like with any grief, I might repeat here…

I still feel the need to recall and explain a bit more, which might help you understand. My little girl died on day 3 of her life. There I was, a first time mum, finding myself in the new role, not knowing how to think or feel, caught between the most blissful experience of giving birth and dealing with the stress of my girls in the NICU and having to let go of my little angel.

When I left the hospital after a week of turbulence in my heart, head and spirit I found myself at home with an empty cot. My surviving twin still in the NICU, my heart aching with the grief of a mother who lost her child.

‘But at least you’ve got one!’
‘Luckily she’s healthy.’
‘Time will heal all wounds.’

Totally unhelpful statements! Others just stopped talking to me altogether. And still now, 13 months after, I haven’t heard from some… I’m sad about their silence.

Then there is the grief of losing friends. This experience has made me a different person, one that probably has become strange to some who expect me to ‘stay the same’.

How to bridge the gap between grief and joy, I wonder. Maybe it’s ok to live both side by side, you may say. It’s living the paradox. And I notice, as I think this, that grieving in general might always be a split between life going on, including it’s joys and the grief being processed over time.



  1. Beloved Nathalie, thank you for your heart-sharing. It’s an honor to witness you speaking from your heart through your pain, grief, joy, happiness, all mixed together. It’s a real true honor to feel it with you.

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