The list of things twin sisters Delphine LeBlanc and Delina Comeau have done together is a long one and now a significant milestone has been added to their list – they have celebrated their 100th birthday together.
Wearing matching outfits and warm smiles, the women were treated to a special open house at the Villa Acadienne long-term care facility in Meteghan, Digby County, on Thursday afternoon, Dec. 19. Family, friends and Villa residents and staff gathered to help the twin sisters celebrate their special day.
“Happy birthday Delina and Delphine, happy birthday to you . . . and many more,” sang the band.
Born Delina and Delphine Theriault in 1919, the identical twins spent their childhood and teenage years growing up in the Acadian community of Concession in the Municipality of Clare.
They were inseparable, even after they married – Delina to Bernard Comeau and Delphine to Louis LeBlanc.
When they moved from Concession to Little Brook, their homes were close enough that they were still within walking distance of one another.
They not only looked alike, they dressed alike too.
“Even after they were married they would call each other up. If there was the picnic in Church Point or some event to go to, they would call each other to see what the other one was wearing because they still dressed alike,” Delina’s daughter Marie Comeau says.
“When my aunt was sick, my mother would be sick. That happens a lot with twins,” Comeau says. “If my aunt went to the hospital, my mother would feel ill – they had that connection.”
Asked about differences between the two sisters, Comeau says there aren’t many.
“The only difference I know now is that my mother doesn’t like ice in her water and my aunt likes ice in her water. Everything else is pretty much the same. One orders one meal, the other will order the same meal.”
Delphine has been living at the Villa Acadienne for a couple of years longer than Delina. When the second sister arrived, of course, they became roommates.
Brittney Amirault, the recreation director at the Villa Acadienne, says the staff loves having the twins living with them. And they were thrilled to hold an open house to celebrate the women’s 100th birthdays.
“It is very exciting because it gets the community in here. Oftentimes when people move into long-term care the community tends to kind of forgot about them. But these two ladies have big families and they’ve been very involved in the community their whole lives. It’s an honour to have them here and they’re still both so full of life. They have a joie de vivre,” says Amirault.
“They do everything together and they’ll only do stuff it it’s together, so there’s no chance of you getting one of them to do something if the other isn’t on board,” she adds. “But they are very happy-go-lucky and go with the flow. Still, at 100 years old they also do appreciate their rest as well.”
Health-wise the two women are doing well. They are a little hard of hearing, but they still get around at times with walkers. Other times they move around in wheelchairs.
“It’s a very exciting day because we’re so pleased that they’re still here with us,” says Rita LeBlanc, one of Delphine’s seven daughters, about the women’s birthday celebration. “They’ve been together forever. They would dress the same. They’re very religious. They watched their health. They never smoked or drank. They would always speak to each other on the phone and say ‘what are you wearing today?’”
LeBlanc says there were times that even family got them mixed up.
“They looked so much alike and you were like, ‘oh, that wasn’t mom,’” she says, laughing.
Marie Comeau says the most notable difference in the two women’s lives was the size of their families.
“I was adopted. My mom never had children. My dad or my mom, they couldn’t have children, but my aunt Delphine, she had seven daughters. And out of her seven daughters, five had children and they were all boys,” she says.
Delina and Delphine still say their rosary every day. And their religion and prayer meant a lot to others in the community, Rita says.
“There was a lady who learned she had cancer so they would go to mom to pray for them. They thought of her like an angel,” she says.
It’s not at all common for the Villa to have twins living in their facility and to have a set of twins celebrating their 100th birthday is unheard of.
Asked if twins ran in the family, Rita LeBlanc says they did.
“There were five sets of twins in the family, so when I got pregnant I was afraid,” she says, laughing.
For their birthday the sisters were treated to music, cake, well wishes and certificates congratulating them on their 100th birthday, including ones from the queen, the prime minister, the governor general and others.
Their birthday milestone is one that many people had been looking forward to.
“It’s the talk of the town,” Marie Comeau says. “Everybody is excited.”