The truth about my last 2 1/2 years

I feel like I have some summarizing to do of what these last 2 1/2 years of my life have been like before I can move on to more uplifting topics. I don’t know about the 5 stages of grief…if there’s really a text book way to grieve. I only know what I have experienced. And here’s a breakdown (no pun intended) of the past 2 1/2 years.

The first 6 months…
SHOCK: I just couldn’t believe it. Lance died. How did that happen? It was unfathomable. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. He was super human. He was supposed to survive. I really wasn’t ever going to see him again? My kids lost their father? These were some of the thoughts that swirled through my head day in and day out. And nights were horrible. I didn’t want to go to bed. Alone. I was lonely!! I looked for every escape imaginable mostly in the form of my cell phone. After all that Lance had done to eradicate himself from the ever addicting cell phone, it had become my life line. Anyone out there? Anyone up at midnight to tell me I’m not alone. ANYONE??? I even would text Lance and tell him I missed him. Sometimes I would watch videos of him, almost obsessively, trying to will him out of the computer and come to life. It just wasn’t possible I wasn’t ever going to see him, touch him, hear his laugh again.

Mornings were no better as I woke up feeling like there was a ten pound brick on my chest, it felt so heavy! Thank God for my kids…they have always brought me love and joy, even through my hardest days. Plus I had to be there for them. They had lost their father. I had to be present but sometimes I was so distracted. It was so hard to concentrate on anything. I was so racked with my own feelings of loss and shock. Even being through this every day with my kids, I couldn’t imagine what it’s like for a 7 & 9 year old to lose their Dad. The kids and I lit candles and chanted every night together for 40 days straight to release his spirit. Even when it was over, we still wanted to chant. It was our connection to him. We talked about him daily. We still do.

ESCAPE: Six months after Lance passed, a man came into my life. I know to many that seemed soon. I didn’t care what people thought. I knew what I had been through. How I had been on this journey for two years straight. Day in and day out. How there was nothing I wanted more than for Lance to survive. But he didn’t. I wanted to laugh, to have some fun. Unconsciously I wanted to escape my pain, my life even. And I did. It was a bit surreal. This pain was being lifted by someone bringing lightness into my life. I was being reminded that there is joy, happiness, even elatedness still to be had.

ONE YEAR TO YEAR TWO:
THE WORST: By one year, my support team for the most part had gone on with their lives (accept of course my die hard friends). That is normal and to be expected. You can’t always have people around checking up on you. Life does go on. But some people expected me to be moving on too (or at least it felt that way). I guess from outward appearances it seemed like I had. But grief grabbed me and took me down. I felt this emptiness, this loss so deep that I still can’t put it into words. I was so devastatingly sad and lonely sometimes. As the second year reared it’s ugly head, I couldn’t believe that this was really how life was going to be. It really was going to be without Lance. He wasn’t coming back. Certain random holidays I just wanted to hide. Father’s day, Memorial day, the 3 day holidays where everyone is with their families, their dads, their husbands. Our anniversary was so painful(!)…I thought we were supposed to be married for 50+ years? I started realizing that everything in my adult life was and had been about Lance. My dear, wild, mad scientist, father/husband/friend was gone and everything I dreamed about in my future was about us. It was debilitating. Humbling. I realized escaping grief was unavoidable. I couldn’t believe I was really going to have to let go of this man. We were Lance and Nance. Who was I without Lance? Ugh.

TWO YEARS TO PRESENT:
DREAMING AGAIN:
 For the first time in 4 years (since Lance was diagnosed), I am starting to dream again. Big dreams. The letting go process continues. I realize it’s an ongoing process. We (my kids and I) still have our hard days. But I don’t wake up with that brick on my chest and the man that showed up is still with me, and we are starting to create a future together. My kids, now 10 & 12 are thriving in school and with their friends and their sweet, loving compassionate hearts continue to grow. We still talk about Lance daily. Sometimes even talk to him. He will always be a part of us. I see many traits in my kids passed down from Lance. The wicked smart, life loving, adventure making, risk taking man will always be with us. We just have to tap into our hearts. He’s there.

Love, Nance

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I’m back…

Sunset jumpAfter 2 1/2 years of falling off the radar, I’m starting up my dusty ole blog again. I know I don’t need to give any explanations of why I fell off the radar but at the same time I’ve questioned how long I can live in the “I lost my husband” fog? Not to others, but to myself. For 2 1/2 years I’ve been questioning what is my life’s purpose. Many of my friends would look at me compassionately, “You just went through something so heavy. Don’t worry so much. It will come.”  It would make me feel better for a day but then the very next day I’d be back to wondering what in the world I was doing with my life. As if raising two children isn’t enough…and why isn’t it?

It took me awhile to realize why this was such a prevalent theme for me. I had my whole life figured out and Lance was part of it all. So after the initial shock phase of losing Lance wore off and the second year reared it’s ugly head, I was COMPLETELY lost. I realized all the dreams I had, were wrapped up with Lance…every detail of my life had been planned out, all the way up to getting old and grey (yes I was a planner) and Lance was a part of every decade. Thus began the painful process of letting go. Ugh! Even as I write this my eyes are filled with tears. Letting go is a long and ongoing process…

For anyone who read my blog while Lance was sick knows that writing was my outlet. My catharsis. While this might not be my life’s purpose…it is an outlet for me. I like sharing whatever wisdom I can impart. I am not a nutrition expert, or a health expert, or death expert or a grief expert, or an expert on life or any kind of expert for that matter, I just have my experiences. I speak and write from those and from my heart. Anyone who knows me, knows I am an open book. So I am going to share…whatever inspires me at that particular moment.

And maybe, just maybe, I will find my life’s purpose along the way.

xo
Nancy

Love and sprouts in Puerto Rico

Lance and I are eating a lot of sprouts in Puerto Rico at the moment. We are at the Ann Wigmore Institute: a grass roots, super intimate, wheat grass juicing, live foods type of place (based on the much fancier Hippocrates Institute near Palm Beach). I considered Puerto Rico fairly close until it ended up taking 3 planes and 14 hours to get here, ending in a beautiful flight across the island on a tiny 8 person plane. I had to make sure to get to know every one of the passengers before take off in case we were all going to die together. They thought I was being funny but I was actually serious. They turned out to be some groovy Puerto Ricans and we laughed the whole way to the west of the island. We landed safely 🙂 and I was thrilled to be in this luscious, humid place.

What has really drawn me to this place, is not only does it remind both Lance and I of our travels pre-kids (in India and other parts of Asia) but the people are so incredibly genuine, nurturing, loving, supportive and so extremely passionate about what they are doing!! Between the live foods diet (meaning nothing is cooked and everything is either sprouted, soaked, blended, or fermented), and the juicing, it is super educational as we attend classes on everything from wheat grass, to sprouting, to digestion, food combining, fermenting, composting, sugars, starches, dry skin brushing to more than I ever wanted to know about the colon. Every single thing we eat is grown right here.

82 year old Leola. Lance's new girlfriend.

What I love about this place, is even though they are teaching this “live foods” diet, they are constantly reminding you of the importance of taking care of yourself: body, mind and spirit. That is right up my alley! In all these classes they are always genuinely mentioning that more important than even the food (which is what they are all about) is love: loving yourself, loving each other, love, love, love. These people are all heart. There is the sweetest and smiliest woman here who is 82 and has been apart of the institute since 1990 and says she is “having more fun than she has ever had in her life.”

Energy Soup. 80% sprouts..breakfast, lunch, dinner

We are doing a cleanse for the next 3 days (“energy soup”). I confess I have never done a cleanse. In fact I am thinking I am horrible at it and we haven’t even started. I don’t like to be hungry and so all day today I have been sneaking extra food every chance I get. It’s like I wanted to store up before the big hibernation. (I know it’s not that long of a cleanse but it is to me!).

I am going to post one or two more times this week with more pics and stories in case you want to check out the blog again this week. I won’t send out a mass email. Oh and please comment on the blog instead of replying to my email. Lance doesn’t like me to crowd his inbox with emails but loves reading your comments.

Oh and forget HBT, we are HBE here in P.R. (that would be eight not eleven).

Love, love, love,
Nancy

The Story of Our Lives

A friend of mine, Ryan, gave me this amazing book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller. I encourage everyone to read it.

Million Miles is about what it’s like to edit down your life to the interesting parts. Donald wrote his memoir and in the process he had to cut out a lot of his life. If you write a memoir, hopefully you want people to read it. So it needs to be compelling. It needs to be a good STORY. That means all the boring stuff needs to come out. Editing your life. Yikes. What a strange experience deleting big parts of your life that people wouldn’t think is interesting.

What it led Don to realize was that we can write The Story of Our Life in the present and make our lives truly remarkable right now, not so people will want to read about it, but so we will live amazing lives.

There is a chapter early on in this book about Don listening to a friend (Jason), as his friend is telling him about the trouble he’s having with his teenage daughter. Jason and his wife found pot in her room. She was hanging out with the wrong crowd and the wrong guy. The whole thing was devastating to Jason and his wife.

So Don starts telling his friend about the concept of Story. Telling Jason about his experience editing his life story and realizing we can all create wonderful stories in our lives in the present moment. Then he said, “Your daughter is living a terrible story. She’s writing a story where there is risk and adventure with pot and crazy boyfriends” which made Jason realize he hadn’t mapped out a great story for his family so his daughter had chosen one for herself. The best story available to her.

Don’s friend kind of went a little crazy after that as most of us would define crazy. He did what I think is amazing. He took a $25,000 second mortgage out on their house (he definitely should have talked to his wife first!) and paid for an orphanage to be built in Mexico that they were also going to help build. It transformed the family. Jason had had the realization that not only was he not taking risks, but they weren’t helping anybody. His daughter was totally into it, wanted desperately to go to Mexico to take pictures of the orphanage and children to post on her website and inspire people back home to help. She dumped her boyfriend. Their lives changed dramatically for the better.

I am so inspired by how this dad changed the story of his family’s life and by how he saved his daughter. The chapter is called, “How Jason Saved His Family.”

This whole concept of story has made me think how Nan and I can change our story. Nan is thinking too. What can we do to give back? All of us can change the Story of Our Lives at any moment.  Why haven’t we built an orphanage? If we do something crazy soon at least you wont be surprised.

Love,
Lance

I LOVE Madonna

Last week, I didn’t watch the Superbowl, but I did watch the halftime show on YouTube. I was pretty impressed with this 53-year-old woman who looked amazing up there dancing, but I was more impressed with her pre-game press conference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta9gbgRqalI

She was nervous, honest, mentioned her mid-western roots (she grew up 20 miles away from me in Michigan), talked about prayer, talked about God and did a little salsa dance. She looked even better in the press conference than on stage, I thought.

The first time I really took notice of Madonna was in New York City in 1999, when I moved back to the states from Sweden and Nancy took me to her yoga studio. We were laying out our mats in this tiny studio downtown, and this 5 ft tall girl on the mat next to Nan says, “Nancy do you have an extra scrunchie?” Nan gave Madonna a hair band like it was nothing. I spent 5 years in Hollywood and was never very interested in seeing stars. I was totally star struck doing yoga next to Madonna for 2 hours. She was so unassuming, normal, and a really good yogi. Plus she’d just recorded our guru’s opening prayer as a song on Ray of Light. I thought that was risky to say the least.

It’s so easy to be critical of someone like Madonna. I’m reading this really great little book my mom gave me called “The Quiet Mind.” It says among other awesome things, “Enlightened ones do not get angry nor do they judge anyone. The young in soul are quick to pass judgment on others. Always find the goodness and light in everything. You can purify your own atoms by right thinking, right speech, right action and judging no one.” Needless to say, I’m way into purifying my atoms and if loving someone like Madonna helps me get there, I’m all for it.

Anybody in your life or in the world you might have a hard time loving? Can you find the goodness and light in them? It will heal your soul, I promise and so does The Quiet Mind, “If you train yourself to think in terms of love and forgiveness every moment of your life, a most beautiful healing will take place in you.”

Love,
Lance