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Turning 35 is probably my last birthday as a ‘we’

Red Twin and I are 35 this week. This will probably be the last birthday for which Red Twin is with us. I’ll have the rest on my own. I’ve been thinking about growing old, especially about being 70, because I guess that will nominally be the birthday that marks living more time without her than with her.

Maybe God will give Red Twin another year, to 36 or beyond. After all, she was not expected to make 35.

Maybe the same cancer will take me and I won’t reach the point where I’ve lived longer without her than not.

Maybe the effects of climate change will mean we all have shorter life expectancies.

Anything could happen. But this milestone looms for me, as the day when I will have lived more of life without her than with.

We were born together, learned to walk and talk together. Our teeth fell out at the same time (and in mirror image!) We went through puberty together, our bodies changing in just the same way at the same time, though we could compare the minutest of variance.

Of course there have been things that have happened to our bodies that were different. She broke her right arm, I gave birth twice. While I was browning in the Tanzanian sun, her skin was paling, because she was always indoors or veiled. And of course there is the cancer that has meant she’s had several surgeries, with whole internal organs removed.

But facing what will likely be our last birthday with both of us around, I’m looking ahead to experiencing natural physical changes on my own. Like the old ANZAC adage, she won’t grow old as I who am left will grow old. And there is a great deal to grieve there.

For example, I’m wondering what will happen when I go into a Kmart dressing room.

It’s funny being an identical twin, because you’re quite used to seeing your twin from all angles, but not yourself. But when I go into a Kmart dressing room, occasionally I catch a glimpse of a reflection of a reflection of myself from an angle I don’t normally see, and it gives me a start because I think Red Twin is there too.

Will I always see her there? At what point will I have aged to the point where this doesn’t happen any more? Will I even notice it as it slips away?

Or will I be a 70 year old lady, still giving myself a scare, and then once again feeling the crushing weight of being a twinless twin, even though I’ll have lived more of life without her than with?

I guess we all find it hard to think of our future selves. But my future self always had her there.

We imagined ourselves with arms entwined as we sat side by side on a couch, cackling over some thing that was only funny to us. (More) grey hair and (more) wrinkles and another 35 years of life experiences wouldn’t disrupt the Mutual Admiration Society of two.

And now I am trying to think of what I will be like old, instead of what we would be like.

Categories: Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

9 replies

  1. Much love to you (both). A mirror is an apt word to reflect (sorry) your relationship. Makes me think about being made in God’s image and how that interweaves and enlivens everything you have just spoken of and more. A beautiful imaging. A precious gift. And so a deep grief with the anticipation of a parting. Much love and sadness and grateful thanks for The person of J in the mix of lament and hope. Xx

  2. Tamie, both you (your whole family) ave Steph are in our prayers. Big hugs and may you know a special closeness with Jesus as you walk this path and these wondering in his loving hands.

  3. Ah Tamie. So beautifully written. And so sad. I can only imagine these things you are both going through, both grieving. But I can pray to the God who does understand, and does know the answer to your questions, and in due time he will reveal this to you.  I’m thinking back to a friend in high school whose twin died when he was 2; he was so desperately sad even then, and desperately longed to know his brother. I’m thankful that you guys have had these 35 years of laughter and fun and sharing in the hard times as well. So many memories shared. But so much more to say goodbye to. Thinking of you both, and praying. Love Sam  xox

  4. Awake and thinking of you at this sad and difficult time. xxxx
    Such a moving reflection. Always in my thoughts and prayers as I wait with you of news. xxxxx

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