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.

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.

 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


25 thoughts on “The truth about my last 2 1/2 years

  1. I love every bitty piece of you Nance. Even at your weakest moments, you give the rest of us strength. You are a gift to those around you.

  2. Nancella Beautiful Gentry!
    This is the most lovely open hearted sharing of your time grieving and your synopsis of the time you’ve had… And I know your writing (as beautiful as it is) only scratches the surface of the depths of feeling you’ve gone to- I mean that words are probably hard to find to explain it… Though you’ve done it here- my heart swells for you, with you, in the joy of remembering Lance- oh that laugh! And my heart aches imagining not hearing it again- you- your previous Amelie- and wickedly awesome Zach! I love you all and I’m always with you- your hearts. Thank you for sharing and I’m glad you’re back on the blog and im one of your biggest fans!
    (Talk Friday. Xoxoxoxo )
    I love you,

    • Kelly, Yes his laugh…I can hear it still. It was an awesome laugh. I am actually using you as a guinea this comment coming back to your email? Thank you for your loving support Kelly…can’t wait to talk to you and hear about your big trip.

  3. Nancy,
    Thank you for writing this blog. It deeply moved me and brought me current with you through this process. I miss Lance. Still have his picture there in my office. I believe he is bringing me success in business. So there is that.

    Please say hello to Zach and Amelie for me. Though they do not know me well, they have an uncle here in Venice always willing to have visits.

    Love to you all. –Tommy

  4. thank you, Lance. for included in your many gifts was giving any lucky reader, your Nancy, as a writer.
    It’s so good.

  5. Nance! Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration in my life. Your strength and willingness to be open is truly a gift to have. THANK YOU! xx Becky

    • Becky, from what I can tell, you are well on your way to greatness. How lucky we were we that are only babysitter was such a superstar? I take credit for choosing you!

  6. Hearing your voice again is like hearing a special bird suddenly sing out, a bird that heralds spring. I wasn’t consciously waiting for that joyous song of a greening world, yet when I heard your voice I was delighted,”there she is-spring is coming!”
    Thank you Nancy for your wide open,dancing heart.

  7. Nancy- thank you for sharing such personal thoughts and feelings. I wish you all the happiness this world has to offer! Lance’s cousin Sharon xo

  8. It is really great to “read” you again and this post puts into words aspects of grief that are often hard to describe. Thanks for your honesty and thanks for writing again!!

  9. What a beautiful powerful post. Brought tears to my eyes. I think of you guys so often (and of Lance) . You should be so proud of yourself, raising two beautiful, wise, amazing children, showing them such strength and dignity. I await your next post!!

  10. Your emails are a reminder to be thankful for all the things that matter. That truly matter. And I am grateful to you for that.

  11. Hi Nancy, This is beautiful and very touching. I do not know you well but have heard did bits through Roxanna. I can not imagine the pain, daily. Bless your heart and bless the hearts of your children. He will always be part of you. The very webbing that you 3 are is part of the webbing you all were involved in. Matters of the heart NEVER make sense no matter how hard we try to wrap our heads around them. We’ll burst trying.
    You are right on track…your track. I know from deep grief that “what doesn’t kill you makes you strong”. At first i wanted to kick that person in the face when they said that …”they have no idea what I am going through”. Well, I am on the other side, and even though it still twists at my heart, it made me stronger, wiser, open in new ways and probably took away some of my innocence. Nothing is black and white.
    Thanks for sharing your process…THAT, even takes courage.
    Bless your Heart and Spirit. Happy to hear you are finding happiness as your pages start to turn. Love Barbara

  12. Love you Nancy – and your beautiful, fiercely-graceful bright light children. Lance shines through ALL of you. Thank you for sharing your dark times as well as the joy that is shining forth. Heart aching and inspiring. I am blessed to be walking this path with you. “I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” -Hafiz

  13. Thank you. Although my situation is different, your words touched me and I am grateful. Blessings to you and your loved ones as you continue to find new love and joy.

  14. It is just so wonderful to read your writing again. I have thought about you many times over the last 2 1/2 years. I forwarded your link to two of my darling girlfriends, who like you were widowed so young, also left behind with 2 young children. They have both expressed many of the feelings that you talk about. And interestingly both of them were dating someone within 3 to 6 months. I have a feeling it will help them to see that you had that same experience. Their husbands were the loves of their lives just like you, but they did not ask to lose them, just wanted to be happy again, and felt they needed to move on, but many people judged them for that. I think there is some level of expectation that a widow is supposed to mope around for a long time feeling sad…and just how long should that be? It’s only right that you should feel happiness with another person again. I’m so glad that you have that…of course your love for Lance is as deep as ever, but now you get to share the big love you have inside with another lucky man.
    How I adore your writing, I am so glad you’re back 🙂

  15. Sweet Nancy, Reading your latest post brought back many shored up memories of Lance and my dad, the grief, pain and frustration of their impossible loss.( How dare the universe steal from us these amazing men?) and the joys and pleasures of having known them. I am so glad to hear that Zach and Ami are doing well and that you are experiencing love and laughter again. As Mom (the other Nancy Gentry) taught us, life goes on and the endless wellspring of love that we are gifted with, continues to fill and spill over. I hope you’ll always be sharing and accepting this love. Blessings

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