Tammy and Jenny, Identical Twin Sisters, Two Bodies, One Heart, Infinite Grace
“I will not go look for her.”
“She wants to be lost right now.”
“It’s not my responsibility.”
“I should be asleep – in my bed, with my family, safe in my house, and I shouldn’t be up wondering where she is.”
The house was silent. Dead silent. The kind of silence that made the voices even louder in my head, and the kind of silence that made the thoughts of my heart scream out with deafening cries.
I climbed out of bed. My husband slept peacefully next to me. Breathing in and out, calm and serene. I walked around the house. I peeked at my kids. Davis was almost 2, Kylie 3, Wil was 4 – and there they too slept – quietly, softly, without a care in the world.
They all slept while I wandered within the walls of my home; they laid in their beds peacefully as my mind wandered all the possible “what ifs” it could fathom.
“What if she’s dead?”
“What if she got arrested?”
“What will my parents do?”
“What if I can’t even find her body?”
The hours crept by. The minutes crawled. About 2am – 5am I spent that time in my head. Occasionally praying, but mostly, I worried, and wondered, and wandered.
As I wrote the note to Matt, explaining that I would be out looking for her, I felt the rush of worry surge even closer to my soul. Walking out my doors, leaving my safe, quiet, restful home, I had no idea where, or if, or what I would find.
I drove around Jensen Beach and Stuart for a couple of hours. The roads at 5am are just as serene as my home – stillness, peace, calm, dark.
Voices chattering in my head, darkness surrounding my heart, He still spoke to me.
“Jenny, I am here.”
“You are not alone.”
“Neither is your sister.”
“Your other half is safe – even if she’s got herself in a bad place. I am with her. I am for her. You cannot carry this load.”
Listening closely, hiding the other voices, I desperately wanted to believe this. I needed to believe this:
No matter what. She was safe. Because she belonged to Him.
After 2 hours in the car (2 hours that seemed like 2 days), I surrendered. I drove home. I crawled in bed with Matt, and I pretended, and I hoped, and I dreamed (wide awake), that she was really okay.
About 30 minutes passed, and I heard little feet outside my bedroom door. The kids were waking up, and I had never fallen asleep.
We did breakfast, turned the TV on, and discovered, that it was September 11, 2001 – THE SEPTEMBER 11th, that our nation, our world, would never forget.
Matt and I put the kids in the playroom, as we sat and absorbed the brutality of what was -on the TV screen – lives shattered, safety broken, families losing loved ones.
I told Matt I had to go out again, to Tammy’s friend’s house, a few streets away, and just check to see if she was “home” yet. So, I left again, my heart even heavier, my pain filling my every pore.
I knocked. And I knocked. No one answered. So, I let that door have it. No more knocking. This time I banged on the door. Pounding out my anger.
It opened. There she was. Sort of. It wasn’t her. It wasn’t the twin sister that I knew. She’d been “using” all night, or maybe even for days. Her face was full of grinning teeth, tired eyes, and a lying heart.
“Tammy, get your stuff. You aren’t staying with us any longer. I was up all night looking for you. This won’t work. Please get your stuff, and you have to give us our house key, and you need to leave.”
She took a few minutes to gather her belongings, we loaded in my car, and we pulled into my driveway. As we walked in, Matt was still watching the TV, taking in the pictures of 9-11, absolutely in disbelief at what was on the screen.
Tammy remarked, “What is that? Is this a movie?”
“That’s not real. Those buildings aren’t really blowing up.”
I heard her voice, and I saw the words coming out of her mouth, but all I really heard was “Blah, Blah, Blah!”
She needed to get out of this space, out of my place, out of my mind, quickly, because I could not watch her, high as a kite, mocking how broken lives were falling all around us. This was real. All of it. And she couldn’t even tell, because her drug use was shielding her pain. There was nothing shielding the pain of my heart. At least I couldn’t feel it.
She wanted to say “bye” to my kids, and I couldn’t bear it. She wanted to kiss them and hug them and tell them how much she loved them. And I would have none of that. So, I shuffled her out as fast as I could.
We loaded in my car. She kept chattering about what was on the TV screens. “That movie was crazy!” “Jenny, you know that’s not real.”
Well, it was real. It was all, very, earth shattering, very, painfully, very real.
I called my parents. As she sat next to me, chattering in her head, words flying out of her mouth, I got to tell my parents that I was driving her away. Moving her out of my house, into a new place – another recovery center, mental ward, group home, another place that she would have to try again, to get well, and stay well.
Mom answered the phone, quiet, exhausted, overwhelmed – as she too had seen the TV screens. She too was watching the whole world be broken and shattered.
And before she woke up to September 11, her world was already pretty wrecked with pain. My dad was in the last stages of his battle with colon cancer. She’d been nursing him, keeping him alive really, even though his death was pending – it was “her job” to keep him okay.
I told her what was. That Tammy would be leaving our house. She had relapsed, and Matt and I could not do this any longer. We knew this was all that any of us could do – was to take her somewhere else, and let her try again.
I hung up with Mom, knowing that I had added to her pain, that I had shattered Daddy’s heart. Because I had carried the news of my sister’s brokenness into their ears, and their minds, and into their shattered worlds.
My anger raged. My dad was dying. And now, he would have to die of a broken heart. His baby, his little one Tammy, the one that was so much like him – she was a mess again, and we wouldn’t get the happy ending. At least not this time.
I made one more call, to a friend who had connections to “safe” places for recovering addicts. I drove her there, to the place that was suggested, knowing it was up to her if she would stay or not. But I couldn’t keep track any longer.
“Tammy, I can’t drop you off at a place like this any longer. This is the last time I will ever drive you to another center, home, recovery whatever. I won’t buy you more underwear. I won’t go find your car. I won’t be party to your death. You are killing your self. And I cannot watch any longer.”
What she heard, I don’t even know. Maybe none of those words were even for her. Maybe they were all for me – to hear the truth.
“I could not keep her safe. I was not her. I was me. We were one package – the twins. But I was me. And she was she. And I could not be her caregiver, her relapse preventer, her whatever it was I was trying so hard to be, for all those years.”
We got to the drop off place. My body moved as my heart stood still. I motioned my arms around her, and I said the words, “I love you Tammy.” But inside, my anger said, loudly, “I hate what you are doing to you. To us. To Mom and Dad. I hate your addiction. I hate the pain.”
“I love you” – to my other half, to my identical twin.
“I hate you” – to the pain, to addiction, to the deeper rooted issues that had never been faced.
“I hate you” – to the terrorists bombing our nation with planes full of innocent lives.
“I hate you” – to the cancer that was eating up my Dad’s body, my Mom’s heart, my family’s wholeness.
I got back in my car. She walked in the doors. Neither of us looked back.
This is an excerpt for my developing book, “Inseparable – Two Hearts, One Body, Infinite Grace” – the story of Jenny and Tammy, identical twins, and how God worked all things out, for His glory, eventually.
I am honored that my sister has permitted me to write her story, our story, and His story. She is whole today. God has restored so much lost time, and redeemed so much pain, and as I type, I am waiting for her and her two boys, to walk in to my house – while she gets a massage today, I get to watch her 3 year old Dustin, play with my five kids, and I get to snuggle her newborn, Trevor “Ray” (“Ray” was our Daddy. Ray Preston Bolt died just 6 weeks after Tammy’s relapse – 6 weeks after the world blew up – our world blew into even more pieces.)
But I serve a God that restores
A God that returns lost time, lost lives, lost souls.
I serve my King, my Redeemer, my Savior. Thank you God for placing miracles among us. Thank you Lord for resurrected life. I have seen it. She is walking in my house today. She is my other half. And I am grateful.
What miracle have you seen God work out in your life? How long did you wait for the miracle? I would be honored to hear and share your story, as you share your heart in the comments below.
Also, sharing my story and my sister’s with others, would be a gift to me and to those in your life.
My sister and our business partner, Michelle, are here for you.
Along with our shared blog, we are Life/Leadership Coaches at www.everydaylifeline.com.
God has done miracles in our lives, and it is out of our life experiences, that we serve others in their journey to their dreams and goals.
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I would love to know how to pray for you if you are in a place of still waiting on your miracle – for a loved one – fighting cancer, recovering from addiction, healing from abortion, or any other painful place you might be.
i woke up yesterday and i rejoiced in my trials – and more hope was produced! Jenny