Lance’s last ride in his ’68 Ford truck

I had made a list of men that in my mind were going to be the “pallbearers” (translation: Lance’s close friends that were going to carry his body from our house to the back of his ’68 Ford pick up truck and up three flights of stairs to the shrine room at the Shambhala Center). The thing is, I didn’t want to tell the guys about this list because after all Lance was still alive. But as I said in my earlier post, I had to think of some of these details if I wanted to have a smooth process. I knew I didn’t want some hearse like vehicle with some man I had never met taking Lance away. I wanted to be a part of every step of the process including his cremation (yet another post) and I wanted him to go Lance style. Anyone that has known Lance long enough, knows he has NEVER been without a big ole’ beat up truck.

Almost 24 hours after Lance’s passing in our home (might sound freaky to some but felt like the most natural thing in the world), my seven strong men showed up organized by some of my dear close girlfriends who pretty much orchestrated everything after Lance’s passing.

Some of the men had been with Lance the day before while Lance was in a coma and some were seeing him for the first time. I was so impressed how they all showed up. Not just with their emotions but with their dignity, honor and grace. I felt such a connectedness with the group instantly from the moment they arrived which would only develop further as the days continued. Many of them would come spontaneously to the cremation with me a few days later. They sat around our bed, honoring and telling stories about Lance, laughing and crying. I was so touched by this display of affection from seven hunky men.

Roxanna and the guys in the back with Lance

When they carried him, they treated Lance like a prince (which he was of course). My girls had bought a box (yes a cardboard box…made for a prince) for his transportation and my friend Roxanna had dyed these beautiful silks to lay him in. They placed him gently in the box and carried him to the truck. Mind you it was a 90 degree day and they were worried about him melting (he had dry ice on him to preserve his organs) but I didn’t want him to be covered up for his last ride in his truck (or ever actually). They complied, sweet men that they are, and all jumped in the back and gathered around him. I drove the truck along with my friend Roxanna while his childhood friend, Derek, pulled out a beautiful flute and started playing it. It was sweet and magical ride in light of such a sorrowful time.

We drove downtown and even got stopped on Pearl and Broadway right downtown (not by police, but by a red light). This is the busiest crosswalk in Boulder. The juxtaposition of these people casually walking across the street while the nine of us were in a sacred procession was a bit surreal.

When we arrived at the Shambhala Center, Lance’s dear and caring friends carried him up three flights of stairs to the beautiful shrine room where Lance and I have meditated many times and my kids have been a part of the Buddhist school there for years. Almost immediately, four gorgeous bouquet of flowers (thanks to Tommy) arrived and were placed around him.

Lance and his famous hat (more on that later)

Between the men, they decided who would be with Lance throughout the night…sometimes multiple people sat with him. He was never left alone for a moment until his cremation. This gave me great comfort after being awake for more than 60 hours to go home, be with my kids and finally get some rest before yet another mystical and moving ceremony that would be held the next evening.

Words cannot express my gratitude for these gracious, heart-centered men who honored and loved Lance in a way that the sincerest of friends do. I know Lance in spirit is smiling down and saying “thank you.”

Justin, Tommy, Travis, Hatch, John, Paolo & Derek (from left to right)

31 thoughts on “Lance’s last ride in his ’68 Ford truck

  1. Yes, thank you. I am truly feeling blessed to know you. When the dust settles I want to come to Boulder and cook you guys a big meal and give you an enormous hug. I want to do this for you, but in the end, I know that you’ll somehow give me more than I give you.

    Crissy

  2. Nancy, Lance looks so happy and peaceful. What a beautiful ceremony. Amy H. gave us the full report back here in New York. So amazing that she could be there with you. We think about you guys constantly and can’t wait to celebrate the world of Lancey in the fall. Thanks so much for sharing these photos with all of us. Really beautiful. Love, Amy

  3. Nancy,
    I am amazed at how beautiful and sweet this reading is. I am at a loss for words but just want you to know how deeply touched I am after reading this post and processing this transformation. I think about my own son and pray that some day he finds the love of his life the way lance found you. WIth such grace, dignity and massive amounts of love you have cared for Lance and so many during this process. The description of this sad is balanced by the most lovely way to say ‘see you in the future…’ Love~ DeeDee

  4. Absolutely beautiful! I look forward to your Wednesday posts! Please keep them coming. You are a wonderful writer. I know many of your stories but I always seem to learn something new about the gentry’s with each post. Love Jen

  5. Nancy, thank you so much for giving the rest of us the gift of hearing about this amazing time for you all. I say amazing because you amaze me. You took control and had the passing that you and Lance wanted. You didn’t get run over by the “social norms”. You did it your way. You stayed centered and made it happen. Thank you for the gift of love and grace that this website gives us as witnesses. Much love to you all.

  6. Thank you, Nancy, for describing in such beautiful, emotion provoking detail Lance’s transition from this world. It is wonderful to see and hear about the men that helped with the process! I also appreciated seeing Lance in his send off. He looks like a Russian Tzar! It seems that the rituals and ceremonies you and your dear friends organized were fit for his stature (Prince, Tzar). I look forward to your next post! Love, Heather

  7. Nan, I am grateful for your wonderful description of what took place. What you planned, how you did it all and the strong spirit has helped everyone involved. What a great way to handle everything. Lance looks so perfect in these pictures. His strength and peace comes through and this is how I have always known him.
    Love and Light to you,
    Craig

  8. Wow, you can see the smile on his face that was mentioned at the ceremony. He looks so peaceful.
    Thanks for the gift of sharing these photos and story. The size of your heart is amazing. It is so beautiful to see how you ushered Lance on his new journey in “his” way. You can feel the love in the photos. 🙂

  9. Nancella… you are so blessed by all of those men who surrounded you and Lance on that day…and blessed to have them in your life everyday going forward. And to your girls out there, who I can’t wait to know someday… I have often told friends how I have had such a confident sense of knowing that you are surrounded by wonderful people in your Boulder community. I certainly have had pangs of wanting to be one of them.. but the knowing that you have been taken care of too by your loving friends makes me so happy.
    The love you have poured out to Lance is now a giant wave coming over you. We are all in awe of you and inspired by you…and grateful beyond words for what you’ve shared throughout this process. You are a true angel. A beautiful angel.
    I have begun my letters to Zach & Amelie and I hope that I can read to them in person…or tell a tale or two someday soon. I love you Nance.
    And isn;t it just like Lance to look handsome in a card board on the back of a truck box wearing fur hat in 90 degrees!? Damn, I love that man.
    More soon…
    Love,
    Kelly

  10. You have given new meaning to honoring the spirit of someone you love. All the details that you thought of to make Lance’s life and his death so true to him are remarkable. The fact that you had the peace of mind to do all you did is amazing. I, like many, have learned so much from your journey. I garner strength from your resilience. I am grateful that Malia and Amelie’s friendship sprouted another friendship: you and me.

  11. Nancy,
    Lance and I were friends in college – we lived in the same dorm freshman year. I have followed bits of your story and have been amazed at your collective strength throughout Lance’s illness and death. I was overwhelmed reading about his last ride – it’s just remarkable how you honored Lance in such a beautiful way. My thoughts and condolences are with you and your children…
    Barbara Steinberg Askenazi

  12. Thank you for sharing the beauty in the transition of death. You and Lance have done it on your own terms and words cannot express how much it moved me to be a part of sending him off in such a beautiful way. Nancy, you have inspired me to prepare in ways i never imagined and look so differently at this stage in all of our lives. Thank you for your honesty and openness. And thank you for allowing so many of us to particpate in one of the most beautiful ceremonies i have ever experienced. I love you both, gina g

  13. Nancy, you just continue to amaze me and I look forward to the day I meet you in person. This is beautiful and heartbreaking and amazing. The last day I saw Lance he was wearing that crazy hat. I love it….thinking of you and sending you love. Kim

  14. WOW nancy…just WOW! you are a powerhouse…thank you so much for sharing this journey with us all. peace to you and your family…

  15. Dear Nancy,
    The two things I most associate with Lance (and I mean “things”–not people, not you and the beautiful children you had together, because that’s a whole other category) are that big white truck and that big furry hat. He drove with me from the IZZE offices in that truck in 2004 to cast our optimistic, ill-fated votes for John Kerry, and I told him then that it was an unexpetcted delight to “passenge” in that big front seat, watch him shift that crazy gearshift while smiling that crazy, manic smile, and bump along roads and around corners in such a distinctively attention-getting relic. And of course, the hat–a distinctively attention-getting relic in its own right (and one I have to admit I was not nearly as smitten with).
    It is heartbreakingly fitting in the most beautiful way to read about the truck and the hat carrying and adorning him on his final, peaceful, and beautiful earthly journey. I am grateful to you for sharing such an intimate experience with us, and deeply moved once again by your pure, honest love.

  16. Nancy, Nancy, Nancy- This is “amazing”. This leaves me speechless- yet inspired to dig deeper into my own life. I am grateful that you are willing to share this sacred, deep & emotional story. Thank you. I also have to say that the few “funny little snipets” you throw in are beyond beautiful- I remember when you first started this blog- you mentioned that even in the darkest of moments, you should always find the space to laugh…(or something like that.)
    As always- sending you love & lots of it,
    Gina F

  17. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us who could not be there but were holding you in our hearts and mourning in our own ways. I loved that damn truck too and that silly hat. So perfect in every way. Thank you for honoring him so beautifully and for being the love and light of his life. I still haven’t sat down to write to Z&A – it still feels too soon for some reason (though Yayo already has of course)… but we will. There is so much to say and yet not enough words to say it all. I love you dearly – you are the true meaning of beauty on so many levels. Peace rainbow sister!!

  18. Oh Nancy, thank you for sharing your stories about the richness and beauty of life and death. It takes a lot of strength to see death as such a natural and honored transition when we belong to a society which often sees it so much differently. It is such a gift to so many that your stayed your course, clearly and presently, throughout this process. Truly extraordinary for a family who experienced this transition so early in your years together. Much love to you all…

  19. This was a powerful and amazing and inspirational account Nance. Thanks for letting us share in this experience through your words and pictures. Coming from a long line of folks who “like a good funeral” (I kid you not, we’re Irish) this reflected all of the beauty of your lives and your ability to usher Lance beyond this world with grace.
    Much love,
    Colleen

  20. Dear Nancy, thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. It is really amazing, I feel so much love in your stories! And what a beautiful gift this is for Zach and Amelie! I wish I had something like this about my mother. They will continue to know Lance throughout their lives…..
    Much, much love!
    Anja

  21. Thank you, Nancy, for your words and your grace. I got the news late (haven’t been checking my work email) and so am appreciating greatly an opportunity this fall to celebrate Lance’s life with you and others. I am so grateful for one last hug from Lance those last few weeks of school – he was walking by my classroom, saw me, and called me over. I hadn’t seen him in so long! Then he gave me a hug – a soulful, deep hug of such love. Truly I delighted in the depths of love that he was offering. Does that sound crazy? I felt as though he was comforting me, rather then me comforting him. Such a gift! And such a beautiful demonstration of presence… may I one day hug you and others with the same depth of love, and the same presence of awareness, consciousness and Source. Thank you Nancy. Thank you Lance. Much love to you and your family.

  22. Perfect. Exactly as he, I’m sure wanted it (had you discussed it being like this or was this just more of you nailing it?). Thank you again for so eloquently sharing the experience with all of us. I feel like I was there in some way now. And thank you to all the pall bearers for a job well done. Lance would have been (is) so proud.

  23. Nancy – thanks so much for the stories and for always keeping everyone posted…….the way that you organized the memorial at the Shambala Center was such an inspiration and so respectful of Lance’s life and legacy. Your strength, hope and selflessness is an inspiration to us all. Over the last weeks, I have really missed him so much almost everywhere I have gone…..most of all, on a personal level I felt like Lance was my biggest cheerleader, an older brother to me who thought everything I did was awesome and great. Whenever I needed support or feedback or just simple grounding, Lance was there to make me feel good. I am sure many people feel the same way I do ! Thanks to everyone for sharing !
    Andrew

  24. Nance,

    What an incredibly touching ride. I am so grateful that you shared pictures of this ceremonious journey to the Shambhala Center with these amazing friends. And, I appreciate being able to see pictures of Lance in his beautiful simply adorned box especially since I wasn’t able to be at the Shambhala Center to visit with him and experience the ceremony. You are wonderful for consciously making Lance’s transition reflective of the man himself.

    I’ve been thinking about the ways Lance so sweetly touched my life and feel his presence permeating the ether.

    xoxo

    Sherri

  25. Nancy, Thank you for sharing this journey. In some way I feel apart of it all. I feel as if I’ve just read the most beautiful, well-written book that I’ve ever read. You know the kind of story that literally changes your life. The one that makes you feel so deeply, the one that makes you really want to be a better person and do something that’s way bigger then yourself for mankind. And in some way I feel I had a little part in this book.
    My part was one of the funny parts. Okay here is my story of how I met Lance;

    I was in line buying groceries at vitamin cottage when I looked behind me and saw Lance. I had never met him before but recognized him from the postings on your blog. I got all nervous for some reason; I went up to him and introduced myself. I felt like I was meeting Brad Pitt. I never get nervous but for some reason I did. I don’t remember what I said but I remember thinking “walk away Jody before you make an ass of yourself” I think he thought I was going to grab and kiss him Lol!

    Every time I read the blog I think Im going to cry but I end up having to smile instead. Love is all around you. Just so beautiful!

    Love you Nancy…
    Jody

  26. Nancy,
    Thank you for including my son, Derek, in this very sacred and moving transition of Lance’s life. It was a very moving celebration to his life and one that I will never forget. You’re children are adorable and so wise for their age. You and Lance made some good choices about their spiritual training. You have been blessed.

  27. Thinking of you today, Lance, on your birthday. I celebrate you, and am thinking of you during your transition. I’ve been following this site for the past couple months, and I feel a lot of gratitude for all the ways you touched my life.

    Thank you for this blog, and for sharing your stories and photos here. It means a lot to me. Even after dying, I’m learning something from Lance. Thank you Nancy, for all that you’ve done. I met Lance in LA when he was working at Disney. We haven’t met, but I’m thinking of you and your family and hoping you are well. Sending warm wishes.

    Lovingly,
    Echo
    Royal Oak, MI

  28. Dear Nancy,
    We send you love and many hugs from all the family. Amy was up at our house this weekend and told us how beautiful the ceremony was and how peaceful Lance looked.
    We think of u and the kids always
    Silvia

  29. Lance was the best cousin ever…thank you for loving him and being there for him. Please thank the boys who carried out his wishes. He is so lucky to have family and friends that he and you do. Thank you for being you…give some hugs and kisses to your children and know that you are missed by us……..the Gentry Lake City girls…we love you and miss you so much. Always in our hearts………Blessings

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