Horn Happenings

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Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States

Friday, March 30, 2007


At around 4:00 a.m. on the 14th of March, 2007, my grandfather, Alfred V. Horn, passed into eternity after a 5 year long battle with dementia. By the end, he could no longer walk, talk or swallow, but we rejoiced at the peaceful expression replacing the demented look as he prepared to make his last journey. Although death always brings some sadness to those left behind on earth, our hearts are full of gratefulness that God relieved his faithful servant from suffering.

Gathering around his bed the night before he died, we all laughed, shared memories of happier times with our father/grandfather, and said our last good-byes to the comatose form breathing so laboriously in bed. Dad spent the night at the hospice center sleeping by his father’s bed as my grandfather silently slipped away early the next morning.

Yes, there were tears shed as the finality of his passing became evident, but the greatest comfort of all was the realization that this wasted body was now, in spirit, present before the Almighty King of Kings. Undoubted assurance of eternal salvation is the greatest gift one who is dying can leave to family members.

Last week, our entire family flew back to New Jersey for my grandfather’s funeral. While in Jersey, we were blessed to spend time with some additional family and friends during our six day stay. Hosted by long time family friends, we were able to join in the celebration of their 54th wedding anniversary surrounded by their 3 children and 17 grandchildren. What a blessing to see a couple still strong in the Lord, devoted to the family and in love with each other after 54 years!

While walking with a friend through the cemetery a few days following my grandfather’s funeral, I was struck with the realization of how deep our family roots are in this little South Jersey town. Relatives from both my mom and dads' families lay buried in the small Presbyterian cemetery off quiet Walnut Street. In just one little area stands the stone markers for my great-great-great grandparents, great-great grandparents, great-grandparents, grandparents and other various great-aunts and uncles. Pondering the brevity of life and necessity to use well the years given is never so real as when walking through a graveyard.

Looking back over the last 5 years of caring for my dad’s father, Tim, John and I are so grateful for the faithful example of our parents. To paraphrase Tim’s words to our parents, “You didn’t simply talk about your convictions, you lived them out and taught us faithfulness even when it costs.” As my grandfather enters Heaven and hears the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” I would like to echo this statement to my own persevering parents. Thank you so much for teaching us what true love is all about.