November 28, 2012

My Husband’s Last Ride in His ’68 Ford Pickup. ~ Nancy Gentry

I made a list of men who were going to be the “pallbearers.”

(Translation: they were Lance’s close friends who were going to carry his body from our house to the back of his ’68 Ford pickup truck and then 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 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, and I wanted him to go Lance-style. Anyone that has known Lance long enough knows he has never been without a big ol’ beat-up truck.

Almost 24 hours after Lance’s passing in our home, 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 had been in a coma, and some were seeing him for the first time in a while. I was so impressed by 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, starting from the moment they arrived. This feeling would only develop further as the days passed.

Many of them would come spontaneously to the cremation with me a few days later. For now, they sat around our bed, honoring Lance’s life and telling stories about him, laughing and crying. I was so touched by this display of affection from seven hunky men.

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 some beautiful silks to lay him in.

They placed him gently in the box and carried him to the truck.

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 then they all jumped in the back and gathered around him. I drove the truck, sitting alongside my friend Roxanna, while Lance’s childhood friend, Derek, pulled out a beautiful flute and started playing it. It was a sweet and magical ride in light of such a sorrowful time.

We drove downtown and even got stopped on Pearl and Broadway (not by police, but by a red light). This is the busiest crosswalk in Boulder. The juxtaposition of 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.

Lance and I have meditated many times here, and my kids have been a part of the Buddhist school here for years. Almost immediately, four gorgeous bouquets of flowers arrived and were placed around him.

The men decided among themselves 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, I could 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 the way that the sincerest of friends do. I know Lance in spirit is smiling down and saying, “Thank you.”


When her husband was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, Nancy Gentry, already devoted to a healthy lifestyle, took it to a whole new level. Between juicing, sprouting and wheatgrassing, she shared their journey and all the lessons that a terminal illness brings. Life lessons. She has inspired thousands on her blog, www.lovelaughveggies.com, to change their eating and life habits. She has also recently returned to her life coaching practice, focusing on health, wellness and life choices, which she believes, without a single doubt, have a direct and major impact on one’s health. While her husband passed away this past June, Nancy is determined to make this her life’s work and mission to help others change their lives one step at a time.


Editor: Jayleigh Lewis

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