Those who come into the world with another person, a twin, are never alone. The lives of identical twins are so innately blended together that moving from an “us” to a “me” can seem impossible. Losing Kris meant losing my identity–my PLURAL identity–and all of a sudden, I have found myself having to “grow up” all over again as a singular “individual.” It is curious… exceptional… unnatural.
|Twin sisters Kim, left, and Kristen, right
I actually spent a few years as a young child trying to carve out my own individual identity. But within the apparent claustrophobia of our twin relationship, there was a great comfort. It was most likely such a great comfort because my twin sister was exceptional in so many ways; but no matter the reason, having her as my twin has made all our challenges bearable and all our celebrations magnified.
Growing up, even to this day actually, friends and acquaintances will ask how difficult it must be to be twins with, and therefore constantly compared to someone as unique and special as Kris. My high school friends, assuming I was feeling jealous or outdone after Kris had earned another award or achieved some spectacular success, would often go out of their way to try to comfort me.
But what they didn’t fully understand was that I never felt jealous or outdone by Kris. I felt nothing but beaming, heartfelt pride, and even more strongly, I felt wonder. Wonder and amazement that God chose ME to be blessed with such an incredible and amazing twin. What did I do to deserve such a blessing? It turns out that maybe, just maybe I am God’s favorite child. Kris and I will debate that some day.
So far, all I have been able to come up with is that God thought I would need A LOT of extra help, so much so that I might need someone as remarkable as Kris to guide me. But, I also hope that He knew I would be the most loyal and protective twin a person could have… because I knew from a very young age that Kris was special.
As a child, Kris taught me to walk; she taught me to read; she taught me to write; and even made up her own language and taught it to me so that we could communicate secretly, just the two of us. She even took an extra allergy shot every week, walking in the nurse’s office once as Kris, and once again as me, just so I wouldn’t have to endure that dreaded needle.
As you can clearly see, she was not only braver than me, but she did everything first. As we got older, she taught me to be a good wife (she got married first), to be a good mother (she got pregnant first) and how to build a relationship with God (she found Jesus first). She even grew her liver tumor first and courageously endured the first surgery, ultimately saving my life (at which point my Grandfather instructed me that I didn’t have to copy EVERYTHING Kris did). But God had much bigger plans for her than just taking care of me. Sometimes I think I was her practice dummy, so she could be prepared to save and care for the thousands of people she impacted in her life.
|Kristen, mom Lynn, and Kim