In C.S. Lewis' book 'The Last Battle' from the Chronicles of Narnia, there are a few descriptions of heaven that remind me of what Clint is experiencing right now. Here are three specific quotations from the book that I love very much:
"Listen, Peter. When Aslan said you could never go back to Narnia, he meant the Narnia you were thinking of. But that was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. It was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia which has always been here and always will be here: just as our own world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan's real world. You need not mourn over Narnia, Lucy. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream."
"I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!"
"And for us this is the end of all stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."
Clint Jason Side was born April 27, 1984, and died September 8, 2014. He was 30 years old. Clint was the bravest man I knew and he lived bravely to the end. He was born and raised in Jordan, NY, with his father (Clifford), mother (Diana), and brother (Clifford Jr.). After graduating high school, Clint joined the Army and served for 6 years as military police, which included 4 tours to Iraq.
I met Clint in September of 2006, 8 months before his last tour to Iraq. We married one month before his last deployment. Clint was an amazing husband, and I cherish every moment God gave us together. He was faithful, trustworthy, lively, humorous, hard working, selfless, and a man of great honor and principle. He had my full respect and admiration, as well as my love and affection.
After Clint's first battle with brain cancer in 2010, Clint continued to fight bravely and enjoyed just over three years of remission. During that time, God blessed us with a healthy and beautiful baby girl in 2013. I thank God Clint was able to be in her life for the first year and a half. We created some wonderful memories, and Felicity will always know her Daddy and how much he loved her.
Clint fought his last battle with brain cancer this year. It was the last battle he would ever have to fight, and he fought it with great strength, positivity, and dignity. It was NOT easy, and it was painful in the end. I thank God for his great mercy in taking Clint home last week, for he no longer suffers and he is made whole....healthier than he's ever been in his life, and with great clarity of mind (something he has not had in years!). There is no more pain, no more sadness. Clint went was met by Jesus and our deceased daughter Victoria at 12:40 p.m. in the afternoon a week ago Monday. He was surrounded by family and friends. His passing was peaceful, and not without some Clint-style humor. (That is something I am so thankful for....Clint never lost his humor. Even when he was paralyzed, couldn't speak, or make any facial expressions, he still found ways to communicate his humor.)
When I woke the day after Clint's passing, rather than feeling a heavy sadness, I felt joy because I knew that Clint was happy at that very moment. While I miss my precious husband VERY much, I am choosing not to reside in the depth of my loss. Clint would not want that. I choose to rejoice in Clint's gain instead. He has never felt better or happier in his life, and this is only the beginning!! I will see him again, and I look forward to that wonderful reunion. I know I could not realistically walk forward in an attitude of joy in the midst of mourning without Jesus....I love the verse that says the joy of the Lord is our strength....and it truly is. I choose to hold onto Jesus.
We are having a memorial service in celebration of Clint's life on Saturday, September 20, at 1 p.m. It is being held at Evergreen Christian Community in Olympia. Please join us in honoring Clint.