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Weekend Soundtrack

"Against All Odds"

Bill Radke

Michael Raphael

Larger view
Kim Hershberger, left, and sister Gay in 1977
(Courtesy Kim Hershberger)
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"Against All Odds" performed at Live Aid, 1985
(Phil Collins)

Bill Radke: Kim, why is this song your Weekend Soundtrack?

Kim Hershberger: Oh, just listen to the yearning in his voice... The first time I heard this song, it pulled me out of the despair of having lost my twin. My twin died when we were only 21-years-old, in 1981. I honestly thought that I was dying of heartbreak, and when I first heard the first strains, I thought "Oh, that's very pretty." And then I heard Phil say, "How can you just walk away from me, when all I can do is watch you leave?" And I realized, "Yeah! How can Gay just walk away from me, just leave me alone?" And I realized my despair could turn into a little bit of indignation. I could handle that.

What happened to your sister, Gay?

She was driving on an icy road one night, on her way to her boyfriend's house. She lost control of the car and her car went over a bridge and her car landed upside down, and she drowned. When we had the funeral, and I looked down at her, with my face and my body... I didn't think I'd be able to survive it. When he says: "There's just an empty space, and there's nothing here to remind me, just the memory of your face" -- That's me. That's looking in the mirror and seeing Gay. All I've got is the memory of her face, and I see it every time I look in the mirror.

What memories of Gay and you come back?

I remember our last Christmas together, and Gay had given me a beautiful cloth doll. An old-fashioned doll with a brown calico dress on it, and brown braids. And I thought: "That is such a beautiful, thoughtful present." I just loved it... I said "That's exactly what I wanted!" and she says "I know. I know it was." I just love thinking about that.

It's been 27 years now, Kim. How are you doing?

I'm doing very well. I do wish... I've never met another surviving twin, and I've always wished that I had somebody who I could talk to that knew how I felt. But I never have. But this song is more of a comforting friend.

  • Music Bridge:
    Lost Land
    Artist: Takashi Wada
    CD: Araki (Onitor)
More stories from our Weekend Soundtrack series

Comments

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  • By Ken Giguere

    From Tucson, AZ, 04/06/2008

    Hello....Kim
    I heard the tragic story of the loss of your twin, I am so sorry for your loss. I am also a twin who lost my identical twin brother, abruptly, over 39 years ago, when we were mere lads of 19 years old. I can say, I really feel your pain.
    Mother nature, (God), can be so cruel, how life evolves into death, and we have to deal with it. I also lost my daughter, a few years ago, when she was only 16, killed by a DUI.
    I think of my twin and my daughter, every day. That is how we keep them alive, in our memories...we must keep the good memories and let go of the grief, and anger.
    One thing I surely learned, is it is not how we will die, that we need to worry about, it is how we will live each day to make a positive difference in someones life.
    Please know that we are here for each other. I hope you will read this... and I appreciate your taking the time to tell us your story.
    If you want to contact me, my e-mail address is freekengee@yahoo,com, and my name is Ken.
    PEACE & LOVE.... from me

    By maureen comstock

    From Mariposa, CA, 04/05/2008

    Hello dear Kim. I too lost my identical twin sister in a solo car accident. She ended upside down in the Merced River Canyon, she didn't drown, but was killed instantly. Margaret and I were severed October 18, 1978, when we were 19 and a half. I just can't believe that I've been without her for almost 30 years. There isn't a day that goes by that my heart doesn't ache for her. At family gatherings, we've all become use to the void, though missing her is mentioned by the others from time to time. I don't believe a single, a non-twin, can realize what happened to us. Didn't realize how unique and truely blessed we were to be identical twins, how we communicate without words, how we feel each others emotions and even physical injuries. I didn't hear your story Kim, but a very dear friend from the Alaska wild just sent this message about you to me. He heard you and thought of me. I will listen to your story, my heart goes out to you, as I am the surviving lone twin as well. God Bless us, Maureen Comstock, Mariposa, California.

    By Joanna Worthley

    From Claremont, CA, 04/03/2008

    I heard Kim Hershberger's story commuting home, and had to pull over to listen all the way through. I am a surviving twin. Now in the second year after my sister's death, the light is returning --as the piece says, "Against all Odds." Thanks to Kim for her gift to other bereaved twins.

    By Grace Stanczak

    From Plymouth, MI, 03/31/2008

    Kim, I am glad you were able to share your story with everyone. I have three words for you that related directly to the experience of being a surviving twin: The Thirteenth Tale. I urge you to get your hands on the audio version of Diane Setterfield's book specifically with Jill Tanner and Bianca Amato (there are two audio versions). It will take you on an intriguing journey whose end may contain some positive means of closure for you.

    By Carol Shetler

    From Goshen, IN, 03/30/2008

    I heard your story yesterday morning and wanted to contact you because our nephew is a surviving twin. You said you have not been able to talk with a surviving twin. If you are interested in doing so, we could arrange that (he is 23 years old and lost his twin when they were 18--an auto accident). They come from Illinois to visit family here in Goshen.

    I am glad you were able to pick up the pieces and continue on with your life. May God bless you.

    Carol Shetler

    By Pamela Robinson

    From Chicago, IL, 03/29/2008

    I am heartened by Ms. Radke's ability to go on. As my twin sister and I get older, I worry sometimes that someday be a "surviving twin." Then I try to banish the thought...just too painful to fathom.

    By Isabel Phillips

    From Weston, MA, 03/29/2008

    Kim,
    I heard your voice and interview today on "Weekend Soundtrack" (Phil Collins' Against All Odds) and was moved to tears. You described the mysteriously transformative power and possibility in music with such soulful clarity. I lost my younger brother to suicide 24 years ago, and have an older sister who is still alive but who has schizophrenia. Even though I am responsible for her care (she has been institutionalized all of her adult life), and I still see her and talk to her regularly, I feel like I am living my own "successful life" with such indescribable dimensions of aching loss, surrounded by empty faces of family photos, "against all odds." Sometimes the feelings of despair and isolation are so enraging and disempowering, but other times I am inspired beyond all imagination to live on, creatively and colorfully,...because a story like yours emerges like a beloved companion to light my way with divine light and love. We are here for a reason. Thank you for allowing us to accompany you through your deepest despair, to your awareness of the freedom of indignation, to those profound memories of your sister's last Christmas gift, with the help of the transcendent message in Phil Collins' song.
    I am richer for your "company,"
    Isabel Phillips, Ed.D.

    By Candace Vaivadas

    From Lugano, Switzerland, 03/29/2008

    I wanted to thank you for the interview with Kim Hershberger. I myself am an identicle twin and I was brought to tears over her story. I am 22 and Kim's experience has been a fear of mine that I never thought I could live through. Now I know that it would be possible to find happiness if something tragic were to happen to her. Hearing the song that makes Kim think of her sister made me think of my own, how much I cherish her, and how lucky I have been. We are now living in different countries and I often feel very alone, but everytime I look in the mirror I am reminded of her presence. Thank you for accidentally bringing her closer to me. -Candace

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