On May 22nd, 1968 my brother, Tim Clover, was killed in Viet Nam. A long dark night began for our family. It was only our deep, abiding love for our parents, for his widow and son, and for each other that saw our family through until morning finally dawned, slowly creeping over the horizon, lighting our way once again.
Tim was truly special - our only boy, handsome, charismatic, highly intelligent. He was a poet and a dreamer who hated the war. And he was my best friend from the day I was born until the day he was lost. Although I wrote this eulogy years ago, time hasn’t erased the sense of loss. My life is a good one. I have a wonderful husband and family, close friends, and beautiful grand-children. But I will miss Tim always.
Glancing out the window I catch a glimpse of the last sunlight of day brightening, almost artificially, the Western sky, thrusting me back to the remembrance of the last light of my day long years ago. An interminable dark night followed before a slow dawn. The pain is sometimes as acute now as it was then, only now it last seconds, minutes, instead of hours and long nights.
Could it be almost fifteen years already? When in that time did I lose the lovely silliness of childhood? When did I become so inhibited that I ceased sitting on curbs for lack of chairs or mimicking the caged gorilla to make him talk to me? At what point was I unable to utter the beautiful little fantasies and half-truths that fall trippingly from every child's tongue?
Fifteen years! A long time and, yet, not so long. Not long enough to heal the wound, but long enough to make other matters equally or more important. Long enough to become a woman, wife, and mother, but not long enough for the soul to catch up with the body. In many ways, I will always remain an insecure teen-ager waiting for her brother's approval.
The scenes my mind conjures up are so agonizingly real, but without them my life would be sorely empty. His voice, his mannerisms, his face are only shadows of memory. His uncanny insight into my mind and mine into his, the need now for fumbling words where once none were needed, the total empathy of brother and sister that I now miss are the substance of the memory brought back so abruptly to me in a seconds glance at a fading sky.
He was a part of me since my earliest memory, the person most closely entwined with my childhood and youth. He consoled me and wept with me in those horrendous teen-age years that unmercifully coincided with the sixties, that time of turbulence so unfathomable for a girl of seventeen. This is a eulogy for a beloved brother who was lost in that turbulence. Long may he rest now in peace.