The chronicle of a brother’s loss of his identical twin to a devastating illness.
Growing up in New York City during the years of the Depression, identical twins Diskin and his brother Marty lived lives that were “outside the realm of normal, ordinary human experience.” Their genetic peculiarity provided them with a connection unlike any other, allowing each to know what was in the other’s mind, to feel what was in the other’s heart, and even to remember an experience of the other’s as their own. Despite this closeness, or perhaps because of it, they became estranged as adults. Not until Marty was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in his 40s did the two begin their inevitable voyage back into each other’s lives. Then, when his illness suddenly turned life-threatening some 20 years later, the journey was complete as they faced their final battle together. The author describes in painstaking detail the variety of chemotherapies, surgeries, and other medical procedures Marty endured, culminating with a bone-marrow transplant (in which the author served as donor). It is during these few years, the last of Marty’s life, that Diskin came full circle in his appreciation for his twin and the unique closeness they shared, especially as he had to face his death and the loss of part of himself. “For nontwins, the death of even the most beloved person is the death of another. For Marty and me there is no entirely discrete other.” In this generous and compassionate story, the author paints his love for his brother in warm and deep tones.
An honest and heartfelt look at what it means to be a twin and how it feels to lose a brother.