Lance’s last words

I didn’t know when Lance said very softly “I love you Nan” in the early hours Friday morning on the 8th (around 2am), that that would be his last words. Later, as I was holding his hand and he was unable to communicate anymore, he squeezed my hand 3x which I thought to myself “Is he doing ‘the thing’ we have done for 16 years?” Three times, meant “I love you.” So I squeezed back 4x “I love you too.” Then he squeezed back 2x “How much?” and then I squeezed one more time as hard as I could….meaning “so very much.” This would be the last communication I would have with him.

What happened? To some, Lance’s passing may have felt sudden and shocking. His decline was quick. In fact he died exactly one month after we returned from Puerto Rico. He worked until 2 weeks before his death and even held a sales meeting at our house a week before he died. He was never in pain until the day before he died and for this I am eternally grateful.

Lance was given a very dismal diagnosis back in January 2011 but I truly (as did he) felt in our hearts that we would beat this. In fact Lance said days before his death, “I never thought this would get me.” This past March when we received a bad MRI, I was still hopeful against all odds but also feeling like I might have to face a harsh reality. Lance was pretty determined until two days before his death which is a testament to who Lance was.

The thoughts and details I was personally struggling with in those past few months were difficult for me to always share with Lance because I was trying to take his lead. I wanted to be the person he needed me to be (his cheerleader, supporter, partner in hope) but when you are faced with the potential of someone dying, you can’t just stand passively by if the worst does happen and your biggest wish is to make the very end as peaceful and natural as possible.

My goal was that Lance would not end up in a hospital…cold, isolated, sterile, behind closed doors and so not Lance. I knew that if Lance were to die I wanted him to be in the comforts of our home and around people who loved him. With a stoke of luck and the love, dedication and unstinting help of friends, we made that happen. Next I was looking at the process after his death which can often look something like this: wisking the body away, funeral homes, embalming…all cold, weird and NOT LANCE. I wanted Lance to go Lance style…and boy did he ever.

Over the next few weeks I will be writing about the last 48 hours of Lance’s life and the days that followed. Lance, forever my teacher, left me with some powerful lessons about both life and death in his final days. I am sharing this not only because it is cathartic for me, but his death was something as close friends witnessed, incredible and helped demystify death which by all accounts felt like Lance’s last gift.

While there is no amount of words to express how much I wish Lance was still here and how I know the worst of my sorrow is yet to come, his death and three day ceremony to follow were magical and unforgettable. His last ride in his ’68 Ford pick up truck with seven guys gathered around him as I drove to the Shambhala Center was just one of the many extraordinary events that happened in the course of 3 days….but more on that later (with pictures).

Lance and my common goal in starting this blog was to share the insights and lessons we learned throughout this experience in hopes that people will make changes without having an ending like ours. I will continue to share those teachings because I feel passionate about them as well as in my own small way, it is my way of honoring the amazing and one-of-a-kind man that was my husband.

PS: A couple of articles about Lance:


64 thoughts on “Lance’s last words

  1. You never cease to amaze me Nancy Gentry. I am the luckiest girl alive to have you as my friend. I learn so much from you. I love you.

  2. Dear Nancy and Family,

    My most sincere condolences. We all loved Lance and I know you were a rock in his time of need. Lance was something so rare in life today, a true individual. He lived life on his terms and in his way. He poured out love and passion and made the world a better and more interesting place. We were lucky to have him in our lives and he was lucky to have you in his.

    Again, my most sincere and loving condolences.



  3. nancy, the limitless love and spirit you express so beautifully in your words is a testament to both lance and to you… my deepest love and thanks for your courage to share…

  4. Nance you do not cease to amaze. Please do keep the lessons coming.

    When I saw Lance that final time I thought to myself he looks ready. You gave everything to make this so. How difficult and yet rewarding. I found it profoundly healing to see his face and have this realization.

    A couple books you might find that resonate, both from Joan Didion “A year of magical thinking” and “blue nights.”

    My sincere thanks to you, Lance the kids, as always.

    • As always I am full of tears and amazement. How much do I love you.. I have learned so much from both of you. Your spirit shines through and it is bright.


  5. Dear Nancy,
    Oh my! You never cease to amaze me! To be honest, I feel strange saying this, however, this posting from you is helping me heal and cope- both of which I have been struggling with. I have to thank you, from the bottom of my heart for sharing this.
    All my love, hope, & faith,

  6. Nancy, thank you. I can’t stop thinking about you, Lance, your kids. You are amazing, just like Lance.

    With all the love in the world, Kim

  7. Thank you for this beautiful message which comes from a place of strength, courage and honesty. So many of us are thinking of you and sending their support.

  8. Nancy : I am so very deeply sorry and saddened for your loss and the loss of Lance. You two were always such an inspiration to me. Your strength, wisdom, courage, understanding and LOVE is BEYOND. We never know the path this journey of life will take us on and what difficult lessons it will bring us. Your grace and consciousness at this time is astounding and Lance would continually be proud. Your children will always be SO proud of their beautiful Mama. With SO MUCH LOVE, Meghan.

  9. Nan, I’ve been thinking of you and am so honored that you are sharing this with us. Lance was such a life force and he will be missed beyond words. Much love, Maureen and Pat Pelisson

  10. Beloved Nancy:

    It’s challenging to write through the tears that have not stopped much since we were so lucky to sit with you and Lance. I thank God and thank you for creating a space and ceremony where we could see him. I thank Lance for the smile on his lips. Jess and I prayed for him every day and when things seemed to changed so did our prayer. We asked for grace and ease when his time came. When we saw him we knew that this prayer-as all others-was granted. How blessed the prayer was that we were there in time to be at the ceremony. Thank you for including us.
    Jess is serious about hiking to the spot that Lance pointed out to him as one of his favorites. Maybe we can do it together if you head this way. Jess and I know grief now Nancy through Bach and Hakomi. And your words rang true when you spoke of it. And it lightens our hearts somewhat to know we can really be there fully with you because of our new understanding of it. We are here for you and the children. We love you and respect you and Lance. Thanks for showing us the way.
    Lisa and Jess

  11. Nancy,
    I am so amazed by your strength and courage. Your words and thoughts are so beautiful and touching. Thank you for sharing such intimate, painful and loving memories and stories and for teaching us so many things about living and dying. I am so grateful to know you and to have known Lance through you. My heart goes out to you, Zach and Amelie.
    Love, Sienna

  12. Nancy. I wish I had known Lance better than I did. But your journey and all that you have shared has provided a gift to Ashley and I and our family. It is so unfair that it is so painfully at your expense–but it has made us reflect on all that is really important in life and what a blessing health, friendship and love are. These are the only things that matter, and you and Lance are to thank for this very important perspective that we will always have.

    Thinking of you.
    Kevin and Ashley Cohen

  13. Nancy you are truly amazing. I wish I had known Lance. Your writings are beautiful and so well articulated. Thank you for sharing such personal experiences. Your way of looking at life and death is very enlightening. You are an angel on Earth. XOXO

  14. Love you. After a long talk with T. Rosen and many tears shed i felt that we were able to participate in the experience with you from far away. You are amazing. An epic love affair! Love love love you.

  15. PS Nance you are headed towards a NYTimes best seller and Academy Award. The beauty of the story is purely remarkable and the strength to tell it phenomenal. It deserves an audience who will gain through knowing your journey.

  16. Oh beautiful, sweet Nancy. My love for Lance is still there, but the bulk is now transferred to you. And I’m just sure this is happening for lots of others. Not just because you are his wife, but because you let us into your world, let us see you…and made us fall in love with you. At some point later, when I can type without crying, I am going to detail all the changes that my husband and I have made because of you and Lance. ‎”The sick and dying are often our most powerful teachers. People at the extremes of experience can bring us back valuable counsel, knowledge, modeling. How we die can help teach others how to live.”
    –Rabbi David Wolpe Boy did Lance ever do this.
    Thank you is not nearly a big enough word for what you have done for so many. All the love and support that Lance felt is now for YOU. Bless your sweet heart.

  17. Nancy-
    I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Lance. He helped my husband with his business model.

    I recently lost my father to cancer. Your words are powerful. I was with my father as he drew his last breath. He raised his hand to hold mine. I know the profound beauty that you experiences in the process of death. Thank you so much for taking the time to pass these lessons on! It takes courage and so much strength. I look forward to the next post.

    Blessings to you and your beautiful children!

  18. i’m sitting in the SeaTac airport. just after i posted my comment, Madonna’s song I’ll Remember came on. it made me think of lance’s post about madonna asking you for a hair band during yoga, and then the words just made me think of you right now.

  19. Nancy

    Thank your courage and for being so raw. Thank you for sharing your thoughts; they are such invaluable lessons and gifts. Love to you and your family.


  20. tears in my eyes but laughter in my heart thinking of lance going out in style in the old truck! you are so strong my friend! lance had it all and you and zach and ama were his everything that’s why he so peacefully and gracefully departed, he needed nothing else, he lived and died in a powerful and peaceful warrior kind of way. you guys were a wealth of strength and laughter and love. you are in my heart until you make it to the caribbean sea. xoxoxox i love you.

  21. Funny – you were on my mind all day today and then this heartfelt, honest, beautiful message. You are utterly amazing and you just keep giving to us all. Please continue to share your bright light – you and Lance have changed the world one person at a time. The ripple effect of this is absolutely undeniable.
    Love you, Gina G.

  22. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts, feelings and what you and Lance went through together. I have, unfortunately, known others who have gone through this journey and was never quite sure what it was like for them and how I could be a part of it. I have written a short note to the kids that I will be sure to send in the next day or so, but wanted to share some a couple of things that have happened since I learned of Lance’s passing. First of all, I did not know he had a truck, but 2 days ago, I thought I saw Lance driving a blue pick up truck out of Barnsley Tire. I had to do a double take. Obviously it is because I am thinking about him. Today, as I was almost to the turn around point on the Bobolink Trail, a Brazilian song came on my ipod, Reboleio-Terra Samba by Axe Bahia (Reboleio means Twirl) and I started thinking about Lance’s cool spiritual journey to Brazil. To complete the picture, I saw many white butterfiles at the same time flying around. I felt a little lighter on the way back thanks to a little uplift from what felt like Lance’s spirit. As you know, I did not know Lance well and this is the impact he has had on me. I’ll be thinking of you and looking forward to more posts. Sending lots of love and a big hug to you, dear Nancy.

  23. You are so right about the coldness of a hospital death. It’s not just the sterility of the place, it’s the denial of the moment. A hospital is where people go to be fixed so that they can keep living. There is a dishonesty about going there to die. I hope that you can reach many people with this message of dying on your own terms. I think sometimes people don’t die on their own terms because they don’t live on their own terms. Thank you for inspiring us to do so!

  24. Hi Nancy~ A fellow B-Schooler left note on the private FB page for anyone who knew you. I happened to be online at the time, saw the message and expressed my condolences in the comment box…which felt a bit missplaced. I Googled your husband’s name and found your blog, then subscribed. Reading the above post brought tears to my eyes and tight squeeze in my heart. I look forward to reading more of what you have to say because I love my husband too and I know one day we will have to say goodbye. All love stories have sad endings. Know that your story has touched far and wide…I am testimony to that. Much love to you and your family during this tender time. Best, Carla in South Carolina.

  25. Oh Nanc, you continue to amaze me! I am so proud of you and thankful to have you as my teacher. I Love You My Forever Friend!!!

  26. Nancy, your words are so incredible. So brave, so inspiring, so utterly perfect and are so comforting to read. He was so loved and cherished and is SO SO missed, and most importantly, he would be so utterly proud and in awe of your strength and grace. Sending you a lot of love and peace.
    Anthea Anka x

  27. We have never met and I only got to meet Lance through Naturally Boulder. We have friends in common, (Deli and Dave, Todd and Eliza and Millicent Kang). And while I didn’t know Lance well, I got to chat with him off and on over the years. I wanted to share one memory with you. At one of the Greenmont picnics (at Todd’s place) I was talking with him for a while. You were there across the creek with your kids and I said to Lance “Oh your wife looks so lovely!” And he got this wry smile on his face, looked across the field and said “oh yeah, she is trouble all right”. I knew instantly how much he loved you and your family. He then proceeded to tell me how you two met and traveled together. All the while I could tell how important all of you were to him. I’ve been reading all your blog posts and know well enough that you felt his love but thought you might enjoy a little snippet of a memory. I can’t tell you how much I’ve been thinking about you and your kids this past week. I am so incredibly sorry and sad. I love how you are processing this and just wanted to say thank you for sharing it all.

  28. Wow Nancy. What an incredible passing Lance had. I think he would be so proud of his sweet wife for making everything just right….I don’t however believe that he would be the least bit surprised that you made it so meaningful, magical and real. I feel so honored to have known him and I thank you for setting the stage for our community to grieve together. It has been powerful…

  29. Nancy,
    You are in my mind every day. I think about how you have handled all of this with such grace and how you continue to press on with beautiful, true, rich emotion and thoughts to share during such a difficult time.
    I had a dream of you and Lance last night- you both looked so happy.
    I don’t know if you knew this, but I lost my step father to a brain tumor about 10 years ago. He was in my life since I was 10. He was the love of my mom’s life. Prior to his illness, he was strong, healthy, a biker, a runner, a traveler, had just returned from a major trek in Peru…much like how you describe Lance. He was diagnosed and it happened so quickly. Within 3 months he was gone. My mom and I were there with him when he died, in our home, looking out at the Golden Gate bridge. Ironically, I found the experience rather ethereal and divine and felt blessed to have been there with him. We miss him every day. I am so glad you had those last moments with Lance in your home, for both his peace and yours.
    You described THE HAND SIGNAL!!! It made me cry.
    I do that with our children, and my father taught me. Our is a slightly different variation:
    -Do you love me (4 squeezes)
    -Yes I do (3 squeeze)
    -How much (2 squeezes)
    -One last LONG and tight squeeze representing SOOO MUCH!!!
    I love that message, and how powerful that Lance was able to communicate in the simplest form to you.
    You are a wonderful wife, mother, friend and woman. I respect you so much and am praying for your strength to keep on…

  30. Dearest Nancy,

    I didn’t think I would post a comment on your blog, fearing that it might be too personal, but then you sent your blog and I was once again reminded how incredible, loving, open, and brave you are and have been throughout. Your words were brilliantly perfect and heartfelt. What an incredible story you and Lance have told the past 17 months, and even more incredible that you shared it will all of us.

    I am truly grateful for the honor of riding along on your and Lance’s journey, and thankfull for all of your teachings. This Sunday is Father’s Day, and we will be thinking of you, Lance, and your kids, as we say a very special prayer in your honor. Maybe everyone can mark that day, and every other Father’s Day to follow, as the day we pay special homage to one of the best Fathers that ever lived.

    From my family to yours, much love and peace.

    Always, Andy

  31. The Memorial Service was beautiful. There was an incredible presence of grace in the room, especially emanating from you, your children and Lance’s mother.

    My memory of Lance came from the DNC Convention and the nomination of Obama in 2008. Knowing the convention would be a madhouse, he planned a drive/bike route in to the stadium. This worked well as planned, but we were confronted by lines, hours long. Being the rule following risk adverse person I am, I finally got in line, while Lance went off saying, ” I am going to find a better way in.” Sure enough he did. He called me to join up with him and we got right in. He didn’t wait for things to happen, if there was a way, he would find it and make it happen. So it was in his quest for survival, and so it was in his passing. From your writings, we learned of his determination until 2 days before his death. Even in that, he found a way around the line, around the waiting and took control. He took time enough for his final words, enough time to gather his loved ones, but no long waiting. He even timed it so his memorial would happen on a weekend, how considerate. Thank you for all your teachings, and by the way, I am eating more veggies.

  32. Nancy, I can’t fully focus on writing this because there are so many tears , I almost can’t see the computor. You were such a darling little girl, and you know what Larry delighted in calling you. You are such an incredible, loving, caring fabulous young woman. Your writings are so exeptional, and both you and Lance were as people. You must be the bravest young woman on this planet. The lessons you have taught us and the passionate way you shared your life together will never be forgotten. In the future, I agree with your friend…you have a most incredible story that you have experienced, it is a very personal and has amazing messages. I know you have a place in the world as a very gifted writer. We have thought and spoken of you daily and so hopeful until reality was evident. Kiss those darling brave and loving children Zach and Amalie. We love you and wish we could give you hugs in person.

  33. Dear Nancy, Zach and Amelie,
    We’ve never met you guys or Lance but have been following and praying
    closely along with your family over the course of this journey. We are close with
    Auntie Lynn who invited us in to pray and support along the way. The course has been one of so many emotions but what has always stood out for us has been inspiration. While Papa Lance has made his passage, we are continued to be inspired by him and you. The way he presented himself over the course of this trial. So open and brave, so loving and humble. He has become a teacher to us as have you all. Our hearts go out to you in transitioning to being with Lance in spirit. We can’t imagine a more beautiful family continuing to show us the way toward keeping in the light and in our hearts along this mysterious journey. We look forward to our paths crossing at some point. We love you and thank you for such sweetness and true, bold spirit. God bless. Love j, amanda, sage and skye-bird chambers

  34. Nancy-I just want you to know how totally proud I am of both you and Lance. I don’t know what I did to be blessed enough to be part of your world, but I am so grateful to have experienced all that you guys are. I truly treasure being able to have witnessed this incredible love affair (from the best seat in the house at the wedding no less), and the way that you both brought courage, laughter and wisdom to this epic journey. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for finding the time and the words to share your experience with all of us. It meant so much to so many of us, and kept us connected when that was all we really needed. I know this is premature, but I really encourage you to someday use your experience and obvious talents to share your insights with the world. You write beautifully-and your words never failed to touch me deeply. So many people today, facing any number of challenges (not just the loss of a loved one) would benefit greatly from what you have to say.

    And Lancey- …oh man have I felt an emptiness since hearing the news. But that emptiness is slowly being replaced with my joy at having ever known you in the first place. You were an angel on earth, if there ever was one, and I feel so lucky to have felt your hugs, heard your silly giggle, laughed at your jokes, and been inspired by your greatness. You fuckin rock dude.

  35. Dearest Nance (Gert),
    I am sitting in my garden in London feeling so heart-broken for you and so wishing I could see you and give you a big hug. Your wisdom, kindness and generosity are staggering, life-affirming and moving. I am speechless at how much you have continued to learn, love, understand and communicate. I will be sending you and Amelie and Zach something in the next few days – but i just wanted to let you know of my profound sorrow and the incredible honour I feel at knowing you and at having met Lance, all those years ago in San Francisco and then again in New York. What lucky children Amelie and Zach are, to have you as their mother and Lance as their father. I can only apologize for the inadequacy of these words. But know I am thinking of you.
    all love,
    Jenx (Gert)

  36. Nance, thank you so much for sharing yours and Lances story. This has touched the very deepest part of my soul and have learned so much from your posts and your journey. I am humbled by your strength, courage and most of all love. Thinking of you and your family every day.
    Jessica ( Pams sister)

  37. Love , Laugh and Miracles is what I think of when I think of Lance’s passing. OK so the veggies are also important (I have been more vegan since Doug’s diagnosis) but Lance’s passing sounds like a miracle. To be able to have held his hand as he walked across that bridge, both of you filled with your forever love, is a treasure beyond words. I trust he will meet you on that bridge when it is your time to go. Be oh so gentle with yourself for months to come. Create rituals to invite you into your grief- they will be the wheatgrass for this part of your journey. I hope you found Fearless Nest in your mailbox. When you have time to read “It’s All a Form of Grace” you will know me a bit more. I am sending courage and love. shana

  38. Hi Nancy, You know I only met Lance once, maybe twice one day with you and your family (I believe that was the first time I met him) then one day doing store visit. During my morning meditation I was thinking about love and life then Lance popped into my head and I thought what a gift he was. Then I read your blog and there it was, Lance was a gift.

    thank you,

  39. Nancy, still thinking of you all constantly…sending love your way. You are amazing. You both are. xoxo

  40. You got me all teary eyed in the middle of the Toronto airport. Beautifully written Nancy. Thank you for having the courage to talk about this openly. One of the positives to come out of all of this are the extraordinary lessons you have taught us. You and Lance made life itself a little deeper for many because you fundamentally changed how we will all move along our respective journeys, both individually as well as with our families and friends.

  41. Dear Nancy,
    I have been rewriting a letter in my head to you recently and nothing seems to work. There is so much pressure to convey perfectly how I feel and to somehow improve your circumstances. I am going to put those goals aside because they are paralyzingly difficult.
    Our relationship has been built on our common journey and being able to communicate about experiences that are unique to you, Lance, me and Betsey. Even within this shared experience, there are unique paths and these are sometimes difficult to bridge. Now we have come across a path divergence and I have to confess to feeling survivor’s guilt and on some level some failure to have “fixed” the situation. Life does work in mysterious ways and I just can’t figure it out.
    I have been so impressed with how this challenge brought you all closer and has brought out the best in both of you. It is under extreme pressure that one discovers their true selves and you all have displayed the most admirable human characteristics. As you know from being a mother, kids don’t really listen to what you tell them to do, they do what they see you do. The same dynamics are at play in relationships. Rest assured that what you and Lance have modeled has been witnessed by everyone around you and that this is a gift that Lance has given to many people that they will hopefully pass on to many others. In this way, Lance still very much exists.
    Know that we continue to convey warm thoughts and love to you, Lance, and your children,
    Tom and Betsey

    • Hey Tom,
      I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your beautiful message.

      I was so grateful for all your support from day 2, when I called you from the hospital. I will never forget in those dreaded days, me calling you balling my eyes out and me asking “Do you and your wife ever fight anymore?” Not too much after that you sent me an email saying “This is what it will look like in 5 years for you…Betsey and I just had a big argument over a $100 vase.” That made me laugh! Even if we didn’t have the same outcome as you, you gave us hope, you cheered us on, you were able to be Lance’s sympathy buddy through chemo and radiation. All of it was huge and we were always incredibly grateful to hear your voice and your laugh which I can hear so vividly in my head.

      Please NO GUILT! I understand what you mean, but for whatever reason, our path was meant to be different than yours and for every thriver in this yucky disease, I am grateful b/c it gives people hope.

      Your part about the kids made me tear up (well i confess most things do) but it’s of course my kids I worry most about especially my son and I just hope that I can be a strong enough force in their life for this situation to make them stronger, compassionate, loving, kind people. I just keep reminding myself that kids thrive in diverse situations.

      I do hope we meet one day. I doubt you want to go to a celebration of Lance’s life in the fall (since you never met Lance and it’s not the most joyful of events but actually i plan on it being joyful) but I wanted you and Betsey to know that invitation is extended to you (in the fall) but of course no pressure. I guess what I am trying to say, is I will always feel a connection to you both and especially having the Kate connection on top of it and will always pray and believe in you having a long and lasting life…you have made it past the 5 year mark and I believe that says A LOT!

      Love to you and your family,

  42. Nancy,

    Your completely honest eloquence is a gift to all of us. Such courage and generosity in the face of such loss is incredibly rare, but not surprising coming from you.

    Sending love and gratitude,


  43. Nance,
    Thank you for sharing this experience. I am grateful for all that I have learned and am learning from your and Lance’s story. It is life expanding- I think about you and Lance and the kids all the time and also think about Lance’s wonderful mom, Barbara and wish you all peace. It was relieving to know that Lance did not experience much pain in his passing and that he was with those he loved and that you were able to give him a ceremony that reflected who he was as a human being.

    What a beautiful love you and Lance shared!



  44. Your family is a beautiful light in our community and lance’s light will always be. with Prayers and loving kindness Shelly

  45. Nancy,
    So touched with your post…
    I am constantly amazed by your strength and loveliness. You have given us all a gift through your writings and updates. I am so sorry for your loss… for everyones loss in such an awesome person. An unwavering amount of strength, support and love is being sent to you all constantly from the beautiful Malibu coast. Love you. DeeDee

  46. Dear Nancy,

    What a guy. What a girl. Thank you, both, for being such effective teachers during this challenging journey.


  47. It has been a couple of days now since the service for Lance at the Shambala Center… when I hugged you dear Nancy as you cried and laughed at the same time… of course you picked this day to begin wearing mascara. You are so beautiful, my friend. Thank you for fighting so tirelessly so that we could enjoy Lance. It tires me to think about how many nights you stayed up researching brain cancer trial groups, homeopathic remedies or a green food that would help his body… and then on top of all of that you gave so much to us through your writing. Nancy, thank you. Thank you for your fierceness, your compassion for those around you and your laugh-n-cry beauty. Peace, Eliza

  48. Nancy, I’ve been following your blog since Lance’s diagnosis early last year. Your transparency and authenticity is deeply moving. You and Lance’s remarkable journey has reached so many of us and connected us as humans and spirits. I feel incredibly grateful to have been a part of it.

    The first time I met you (somewhere in the Haight Ashbury back in the mid 90’s?), I knew you were the woman for Lance …. your radiant beauty and grace from within and without, generosity of spirit, and sincerity as a human being were immediately evident. And I could see how much you two loved each other.

    Lance was a Promethean spirit…from the moment I first experienced him casually strolling into our freshman English class in Farrand Hall, barefoot, in pajamas and blonde, boyish hair sticking out all over the place, a part of me awakened (he often had snacks in class, too, which I so admired!). He had that kind of freedom as a being that I so longed for. He was a vital part of my college years – a roommate, friend and beyond, I was deeply in love with him at one time. In the spirit of transparency, I spent fall semester of my senior year in Florence, Italy and wrote more about Lance in my journal than anything else! For someone who was obsessed by all things Italian, that means something.

    You are very much in my thoughts and prayers, Nancy. I am so sorry for your loss. Lance’s spirit is bold, bright and strong, as are you…

  49. Nancy, I am sad that I do not know you or Lance, however, I have neighbors that do. I felt inspired to write because of your beautiful account of the death of your beloved husband. Know that you and your kids are in the prayers of a community that is larger than your immediate circle. If our paths cross in this small town, know that you have a friend.

  50. Nancy – you and Lance, and the kids have been in my thoughts so much these last couple of weeks. Still finding it hard to grasp that Lance has passed on from this world; in my heart of hearts, I didn’t expect this, and I am so sorry. Your journey with him through this, your devotion to each other, and your courage has inspired and lifted me more times than you could imagine. I was so touched by your description of your last communication with Lance, and also by the idea of you taking him on his last ride in his pick-up; doesn’t that just seem right. His body may be at rest now, but his spirit still soars — that is so clear.

    (Beautiful, graceful writing too…I’m glad it’s been cathartic. Really means a lot for those of us who are far away.)

    Sending you a big hug and so much love,

  51. Nancy, it was so good to see you, the kids, your mom, Barb and Chris last week. I had so hoped to see Lance again, but realized shortly after arriving, that he is still there shining with you and your family. I felt him in our hugs, laughter, tears and saw him peeking from the eyes of Zach and Amilie. Like the other Nancy Gentry you have set the bar very high for courage and grace in the face of heartbreak. You provided Lance with an ending that reflected all the things he held important and allowed his style to shine through the tears. I am so proud and grateful to have such an amazing strong woman in our family. With much love, Linda

  52. Dear Nancy,

    You and I have never met but I adored and appreciated Lance as a colleague and friend. He has been a great friend to me in my business and journey for several years and for that I am so grateful.

    I have been part of the community of friends and family who have followed Lance’s journey and learning of his passing brought a swift onslaught of tears and grief for one who championed living with gusto and fearlessness. A legacy that lives on as you both have demonstrated such tremendous courage, resilience and tenacity to seek healing. And while his body did not win the battle his spirit and yours did. The example you both have provided over this year and half has inspired me and many others to take life full on in the moment. Live mindfully, live healthfully and live in love with all that is around us.

    Thank you for the intimacy of this journey and your incredible candidness, honesty and heart. I would like to meet you and will look forward to that happening.

    I send love and my deepest condolences to you and your children and the extended community who join you in your grief and celebration of a one in a billion person, Lance Gentry.


  53. Nancy,

    I cannot say enough about how your journey and imminent grace have affected me. I have read and re-read your posts and am astounded at your courage in the face of Lance’s prognosis and journey…one that you intimately embraced. If there were a perfect transition for us from this world, it would be to experience it with your honesty and deep emotional conviction at our side. I didn’t know Lance well, but was always touched by his beautiful presence. You are so amazing. Your kids will forever carry the gifts of this passage and your endearing love. You and Lance have taught us more about cherishing and living authentically in our brief time on this earth. My love to you and your family. With humble gratitude, Juli

  54. Nancy- your family has been an inspiration to us from day one and through you and Lance we continue to learn some of the most powerful and important lessons in life. Thank you for sharing your deep love for such a great husband, father, son, and friend with all of us. I am sure I speak for everyone even remotely associated with the Gentry clan, that we are all better people for having known you and followed you through this tremendous experience. Your are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Love Kevin, Jenny, and Cricket

  55. Nancy,
    Your writing brings me to tears. My one and precious time with Lance alone was our private yoga session last Summer. I will never forget his dedication and strength to life and living. There is a palpable energy in my studio that I call, “Lance’s spot.” He touched me in the little time I knew him. Your strength and beauty are stunning.

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