Letter to the Editor and the Hornbuckle Family
Posted October 29, 2017
This letter is directed to the Hornbuckle family.
These lovely people are deserving of our condolences, and I have sent mine, privately. That is not the purpose of this letter. Instead, this is intended as a message of gratitude.
When Clint was diagnosed, you must have been both devastated and terrified. I can’t imagine. In fact, I don’t like to think about it. But when you received the news, you could have shut yourself off from the world, and no one would have faulted you for it. You could have thanked everyone for their concern, but said that this was a family matter and that you were choosing to focus your energies on your son exclusively.
You did not do that. Instead, you recognized how important your son was to this community. You created the Hornbuckle Warriors page on Facebook, and a movement was born. You took uncomfortable pictures and shared medical information and personal moments, all combined with daily updates as to Clint’s progress. His fight became our fight. And your hope became ours as well.
While the updates themselves were appreciated, so were the comments. When I would get down, I would go to the page and see everyone’s messages. It made me feel better to see others as upset as I was. Maybe that is a strange thing to be grateful for – I don’t know. But sometimes, in times of sadness, company can bring comfort.
Clint was my friend. Cindy is my friend. And by extension, their family is my family. But I am not someone who would have warranted daily calls about his condition. And I wouldn’t have asked. I would have given you your privacy and waited for news. I wouldn’t have had a place to remind myself just how much Clint meant to people. Your selfless decision to share your son with us, and to keep us up-to-date on his progress, made me feel as if I were there, getting to spend some last time with someone I cared about. And someone I will miss.
I don’t know if creating and writing that page brought you any comfort. I hope that it did. But to be honest, what kind of comfort can there be for such a devastating loss? I can only hope that as time passes, you will return to that page, read the comments, and know that Clint was loved. Losing him is nothing short of catastrophic. But I hope that you can see that your son touched the lives of hundreds of people.
Maybe this letter is inappropriate. I hope not, and am sorry if so. I don’t intend it to be. And I don’t intend it to make light of this devastating loss. My pain is incomparable to yours. But I, for one, am grateful for your decision to allow us to be with you on this journey. Your choice, and that page, reminded me why I love this community I will always call my home. Your loss is now our loss. My heart reaches out to you, and I offer you my sincere thanks for sharing your last days with Clint with all of us.