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The Boston Globe

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Connections

The twin we lost

On our son Matthew’s birthday each year, we are thinking and not saying that this, too, is the day his brother died.

IT IS SUNSET ON CAPE COD. At the end of a long happy day with sand in our suits, sticky with ice cream, stunned by hours of sun and the long march up a sandy dune back to the hot car, we have just finished a windy dinner at a clam shack right on the harbor.

Our small son tears off his clothes and runs naked through the shallow water. His figure blackens into silhouette. His older sister strips her clothes, too, and soon the two of them are splashing and giggling. At this distance, where I stand with my wife, Cheryl, we can’t see the tangle of scars, one wrapped around his chest or the others across his belly, that trace his remarkable survival from his birth at 26 weeks and a pound and a quarter. After four years, he is a lovely, healthy child.

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