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)

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.

Love,
Nancy
PS: A couple of articles about Lance:

http://www.dailycamera.com/news/boulder/ci_20832278/lance-gentry-president-justins-nut-butter-remembered-guy

http://newhope360.com/blog/honoring-natural-products-leader-lance-gentry

 

Lance M Gentry

Dear Friends & Family,

It is with great sorrow that we share with you that Lance has passed away. He died at home Friday night with his loved ones by his side.

What a journey Lance and his family have been on for the past 17 months. Together, they learned so much about life and love.  It has been a sojourn of hope, faith, charity and grace. Initially, Lance was overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of love that flowed his way – from all corners of the world.  At times it was hard for him to take in.  In these final days, Lance seemed to be taking it all in.  We couldn’t take his journey for him, but he knew he wasn’t alone.

The peace on Lance’s face when he passed was a tribute to the state of grace he was in, surrendering with dignity and beauty.

Lance was a huge life-force, larger than life.  We know all of you have special remembrances of him.  In the coming weeks, will you please take the time to write down your memories of Lance for Zach and Amélie?  Please make these age appropriate for 9 year old Zach and 7 year old Amélie. These could be short and sweet or as long as you like: a story which makes you laugh, advice he gave you, the way he danced, his favorite music, a trip you took together, a special joke you shared, his outlook on life, his favorite books, something quirky that you remember. We plan to collect these memories of him and make a book for Amélie and Zachary to help them continue to know the unique, love-filled, crazy, gifted, thoughtful, caring, dynamic, professional, funny, fabulous man who is their father.

Please address them to Zach and Amélie and mail them home to 1830 Mariposa Ave, Boulder, CO 80302.

Lance’s body will be at the Shambhala Center in Boulder (in the main shrine room) starting today around 4pm, with a special ceremony on Sunday at 5pm for those who would like to participate. Friends are welcome to view and visit Lance during normal Shambhala hours.

A memorial to celebrate Lance’s life will be scheduled for the Fall and all are welcome to attend. We will notify everyone once the date has been set.

The Gentry family thanks you for all you have done to uphold them throughout this passage. In deep gratitude for the love that binds us all together, and in the joy we all share in having known and loved Lance.

Lovingly,

~Friends & Family

Calling on your collective prayer

Lance looked at me the other day and said, “I think these past couple weeks have been the hardest of all.” That was no exaggeration. If we had a swimming pool it would have been filled with our tears. Without going into too much detail, since we returned from Puerto Rico, Lance hasn’t been feeling that great. As a couple, we have had to endure some of the most emotionally draining conversations imaginable…ones that some day I hope to encourage all couples to have now and not at a more difficult time in your life. I know one couple that has these conversations all the time and I used to think to myself, “That’s so strange.” But they were definitely onto something. But I will have to share those at another time because right now it’s too painful. This path is not for the faint of heart.

So my purpose of writing this, is to ask for your collective prayers. I met with a woman last week who was a retired pastor. I said, “How do you pray?” I asked for myself as well as for others because I know for some it’s not natural or just the word “prayer” does not resonate with them. She said praying can be deep breathing, lighting a candle, it can be drumming, dancing, singing, it can be being in nature, running along the beach…it’s just about being in your heart. So for all of you, who know and love Lance please pray for him in whatever way that has meaning for you. As I write this, I am looking at his sweet sleeping face and thinking where is my magic fairy dust to make all of this go away? Well I don’t have any magic dust but we do have an amazing community of friends that I am calling on to send love, prayers, thoughts & light to our man.

Every time I talk to my dad on the phone he says, “I’m looking at your picture right now.” I know the picture well. Probably his proudest moment as a photographer. The irony is not lost on me that I am probably the same age as my daughter is now…around 7 years old, running in front of a water fountain in San Francisco…everything is blurry except me running in mid air and I am perfectly in focus with a big smile on my face…not a care in the world. Can’t help but think, sure would be nice to be that little girl right now.

With love from both of us,
Nancy

 

Fear

I’ve had a lifelong fear of flying. It’s never prevented me from going anywhere but I am not saying I haven’t grabbed (or rather dug my nails) into the passengers arm next to me (okay usually Lance, sometimes Roxanna) during some scary turbulence. I sat next to a pilot on one of my flights back from Puerto Rico (poor him, yay for me) and quizzed him on everything from wind sheer to lightening to what the heck happened on that Air France flight from Brazil (I am like Rain Man with plane accidents). Then I asked him about his diet (as he pulled out  a baggie full of candy) and I told him he ate like crap. I think it was an enlightening experience for both of us….if I do say so myself.

But what it really got me to thinking about (something I have pondered a lot this year) is fear. I have spent a lot of energy of being afraid of flying and yet I’ve flown 100’s of flights and I’m still here. It’s the things that I never feared that have happened. I certainly wasn’t fearing a brain tumor. And since Lance was diagnosed I have had fewer fears than I have had in my life. I realized what a waste of energy those fears have been. Lots of expended energy and not a whole lot of return. I have really tried over this past year and a half to have trust in our process but be grateful for each day, knowing that fear is a head thing and that if I lead from my heart that the fear diminishes. I am not saying I am some master at this. I’M NOT. I just practice this daily because well, frankly I have to.

In fact these past couple months fear came up in a big way again. And I just wanted to yell “Go away! You are not helping the situation!” But then it was still there. And at times it’s been overwhelming, even paralyzing. Lately though, I’ve felt this feeling of moving beyond it again and I wanted to share what has been helping. One has been my continued meditation practice (ah yes, any chance I get I will encourage you to meditate…the cure for almost everything).

I would wake up with that dreaded feeling and drag myself out of bed and sit my tush on my cushion and slowly it would melt away. And meditating always helps me be present and then I realize when I’m in the moment, I am not afraid. So why waste my energy on fear? The pilot brought up a good point that fearful flyers are always anticipating for the big moment when the plane looses control. Ahh, that would be me!! But that’s not being in the moment now is it? I loved that pilot so much, that I gave him a list of books, movies, and food suggestions to help him change his and his family’s diet. 🙂

So recently I feel calm, knowing that we (Lance and I) have today and that’s all any of us know. It gives me a reprieve and makes me grateful for this day.

Doing my best to fear less,
Nancy

Just a cute little picture of my family being in the moment...

 

Island of angels

I’m back in Boulder. Lance stayed a little longer to be fawned over by all sorts of real live angels. Seriously I have never met a place with more concentrated heart centered, caring people in my life. Just good good people…angels with feet (pictures below)…

Coe, just one cool lady with a heart of gold

So I am just wondering how am I going to implement all this knowledge I learned? We learned a lot about food down there and a part of me is wanting to step up this nutrition thing a notch and another part of me just wants to take a big deep breath. I learned a lot about enzymes (among other things) which I am going to share in a post to come but I kind of need a big green house to grow all this stuff and not so sure Lance is up to building me one. I do know Lance is so sick of eating that energy soup that I’ve gotta wait a week before serving that ;). And btw, although I know it didn’t exactly look appealing, there are ways to make it quiet tasty!

Pamela who makes colonics a spiritual experience

6AM yoga with Caroline. Caroline taught us many things. She moved to PR with her 3 kids and husband b/c she is so passionate about this way of eating, living and breathing.

So when I get overwhelmed I just come back to…a little of this, a little of that…a little at a time and before I know it, I got all sorts of new things going on…both in life and in the food department. So while I throw a lot of stuff at you, trying to encourage you to do these things that we do, I also want to reiterate to just pick one or two at a time and when you’ve got that mastered than pick up another one or two.

 

I am not just talking about food either. I am talking about making these changes that will ultimately change your life for the better.

Leslie from NY...my Puerto Rico BFF.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am when someone says to me that they are being more present in their marriage, or or they are meditating for 10 minutes a day, or even some people who said they have been inspired to downsize and simplify their lives. It’s like the ultimate reward for me to hear these stories.

So thank you for sharing with us the changes you have made. Please keep them coming! It’s working towards a healthy, happier, more peaceful life that is our ultimate goal for you. One change at a time.

Day of departure...my "after the cleanse" photo

 

 

 

Okay now off to plant some sunflower sprouts.

Love, love, love,
Nancy

 

 

 

Wonderful wheatgrass

Wheatgrass. I know what you all are thinking! I did too. In fact, even though I have been growing it all year, I confess I was not drinking it. Well here in Puerto Rico I am living, eating, breathing wheatgrass and am actually starting to like it (I even rub the juice all over my face). There are incredible benefits to WG..which I will share in a sec.

But before I loose you because the thought of wheatgrass makes you sick, I want to tell you a little story. Lance got in a car accident a few days before coming here. It was kind of a freak accident, a major malfunction of the car, the air bags went off and our car got totaled (but that’s not the story I wanted to tell you). He had these open wounds on his hands from the airbags and they were not healing and here at our little educational institute, they tell you to put wheat grass on everything. So I put some on his open wounds, and in a few hours they were practically healed. I swear!! It was like voodoo. We were both in shock.

Cut too Lance and Nance drinking wheatgrass like there’s no tomorrow…

OK now that you are all running out and getting your wheatgrass…let me tell you a few tips:

I know my facial expression isn't exactly screaming "delicious" but really it's not that bad!

1) The best thing I learned about WG to make it easier to swallow is this: Do not shoot the WG straight back like a tequila shot. Keep it in your mouth and mix with your salvia for at least 30 seconds. Now I know this might sound unbearable to some of you but try it! This breaks down the enzymes (enzymes are my new best friend!) and makes the taste much milder and way easier to swallow. So much easier than shooting it back and burping WG all day.

2) Start with a 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce and you can work yourself up to 1 1/2 to 2 ounces…a little goes a long way.  We are doing a lot here but it really only takes a little to reap all the benefits.

3) Among the many benefits of WG, I am going to list a few that stand out:

  • The enzymes from WG (post is to come about how important enzymes are) and the amino acids can protect us from carcinogens like no other food or medicine!!
  • WG juice is 70% chlorophyll (see past post on cholophyll for all the amazing benefits) but here are a few more:
  • Chlorophyll (WG) rebuilds the bloodstream
  • Liquid chlorophyll gets into the tissues and helps them to become alkaline
  • Science has proven that chlorophyll stops the growth of unfriendly bacteria
  • Chlorophyll neutralizes toxins in the body, helps balance the liver, improves blood sugar problems, improves digestion, can reduce high blood pressure, removes heavy metals and can eliminate constipation and if that didn’t convince you, it also keeps hair from greying!!
  • It is oxygen-rich. The brain and all body tissues function at an optimal level in a highly oxygenated environment.

Every morning we wake up to these bags of WG with our names on it. This is how much we drink in a day here in PR (this is a lot more than 1-2oz!) If you had told me this is how much WG I was going to be doing, I might not have come.

So listen, If I can do it, you can do it! Remember this is your body, your health, your life! I am not saying do this every day but give it a try…do it for one week out of every month. What do you have to loose? I can promise you this is better than 95% of the things you are putting in your body.

Cheers,
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

HBT

I know at least one friend is going to smile when she sees this topic. Her dad coined the term “HBT” or Horizontal By Ten. I know you all know this but I think it’s something we all need to be reminded of…including me. As Lance watches me doing circles around the bedroom (so patient, my man), he often wonders, “will she ever get in bed?!”

I can’t tell you what exactly I am doing but I often find myself diddle dallying and suddenly it’s 10:45 and I am annoyed at myself. It’s a constant balance for me and when I do succeed at getting HBT I feel so much better the next day because it is actually a fact, that almost ALL humans get a second wind after 10:30 at night. I’ve heard people say, “I just get so much energy at night.” Actually you are not alone. If you are staying up past 10:30, that’s pretty normal and makes it a lot harder to wind down. Also, research shows the sleep you get before midnight is actually your most restful sleep of the night. A night owl’s sleep is much less rejuvenating.

Instead of listing all the benefits of sleep, I wanted to tell you a story that I found particularly fascinating. A friend of mine has been dealing with arthritis for years and years. She has kept her head high but all of us have seen the inflammation and knew the pain she was in. She tried it all from western to eastern but relief wasn’t coming easily. The other day, we were talking about the importance of getting in bed early. This friend is a self proclaimed night owl. She said for the first time in her life she was really working on getting to bed earlier. What really amazed me was she said for the first time in 3 1/2 years she was symptom free. So I hope that is enough to express the importance of sleep and being horizontal by ten.

Zzzzzzzz,
Nancy

My morning cocktail

I haven’t started drinking vodka in the morning…yet…but I have added this new cocktail to our repertoire and its my favorite new thing.

I make this drink before my meditation and before our green juice. It’s amazing and I’ll let you discover for yourself what comes out the other end…

Lemon/Chlorophyll/Aloe Vera juice

First of all Chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a powerful blood builder. Chlorophyll has the power to regenerate our bodies at the molecular and cellular level and is known to help cleanse the body, fight infection, help heal wounds, and promote the health of the circulatory, digestive, immune, and detoxification systems and it’s an anti-carcongenic. It’s also extremely alkalinizing.

We are WAY into Chlorophyll.

Now for Aloe Vera…It is a great boost for your overall immune system. It’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral. Aloe helps promote the production of new healthy cells. You will be more energized and lots of people have actually claimed that since they started drinking Aloe Vera juice, they hardly get sick. Some studies have actually confirmed that Aloe can destroy cancer tumors. The polysaccharides in the plant are found to have anti-tumor properties.

We LOVE Aloe Vera..

So we combine them all together like this…(double this is you are making this for 2 people)
6 OZ of water
1 organic lemon (cut off ends, scrub lemon and then cut into 6-8 pieces (with the rind)
1 OZ Chlorophyll
1 OZ Aloe Vera Juice

Throw lemon and water in a blender (or vitamix if you have one) and blend it until it’s liquified.
Strain through a strainer.
Pour remaining lemon juice back into blender and then add the Chlorophyll and Aloe Vera Juice and mix them all together.

DRINK UP! (give yourself about 30-45 minutes before eating anything else).

You will feel amazing and energized and doing lots of wonderful things for your body!