My Husband’s Last Words. ~ Nancy Gentry

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 4.8
Shares 3.5
Hearts 0.0
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
0 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.
Source: Randy on Pinterest

I didn’t know, when Lance said very softly “I love you Nan,” in the early hours of June 8, 2012, those would be his last words.

Later, as I was holding his hand and he was unable to communicate anymore, he squeezed my hand three times. I wondered to myself: “Is he doing ‘the thing’ we have done for 16 years? Three times meant ‘I love you.'”

So I squeezed back, four times, “I love you too.”

Then, he squeezed back two times, “How much?” and I squeezed back one more time, as hard as I could, meaning “So very much.”

That was the last communication I had with him.

What happened?

To some, my husband’s passing felt sudden and shocking—his decline was quick. In fact, he died exactly one month after we returned from a retreat at the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico.

He worked up until two weeks before his death and even held a sales meeting—for Justin’s Nut Butter of Boulder, CO of which he was the president—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.

Source: Nancy Gentry

Lance was given a very dismal cancer diagnosis back in January 2011 but I truly felt in my heart, as did he, that we would beat this. In fact, he commented just days before his death, “I never thought this would get me.”

When we received a bad MRI last March, 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 he was.

The thoughts and details I personally struggled with during those last 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 and partner-in-hope.

But, when you are faced with the possibility of someone dying, you can’t just stand passively by if the worst does happen.

My only wish was to make the very end as peaceful and natural as possible. My goal was for Lance to not end up in a hospital—cold, isolated, sterile, behind closed doors and so not Lance. If he was going to die, I wanted him to be in the comfort of our home and around people who loved him.

With a stroke 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 like: whisking the body away, funeral homes, embalming—all cold, weird and not Lance.

I wanted Lance to go Lance-style—and boy, did he ever.

Lance (forever my teacher) left me with some powerful lessons about both life and death in his final days. I decided to share these lessons, not only because it is cathartic for me, but because his death was something incredible, as close friends witnessed. It helped demystify death, which, by all accounts, felt like Lance’s last gift.

Source: Nancy Gentry

While there are no amount of words to express how much I wish Lance were 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 to the Shambhala Center—in his ’68 Ford pick-up truck, with seven guys gathered around him, as I drove—was just one of many extraordinary events that happened over those three days.

When Lance and I started our blog, our goal was to share the insights and lessons we learned throughout this experience, hoping people will make changes without facing an ending like ours. I will continue to share those teachings because I feel passionate about them, and because it is one of the ways I can honor the amazing and one-of-a-kind man who was my husband.



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 wheat grassing, she shared their journey and all the lessons that a terminal illness brings. Life lessons. She has inspired thousands on her blog,, to change their eating and life habits and has recently returned to her life coaching practice, focusing on health, wellness and life choices which she believes, without a single doubt, has 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: Jennifer Spesia

Like elephant love on Facebook

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 4.8
Shares 3.5
Hearts 0.0
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
0 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.

Read The Best Articles of November
You voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares.

elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to “bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society.” We’re about anything that helps us to live a good life that’s also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant’s been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter’s Shorty Awards for #green content…two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of Questions? Send to [email protected]

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

anonymous Dec 27, 2012 5:13am

[…] While I would have to wait a few days for the results, she basically told me that she believed it was cancer. She also sent me for an MRI – and wrote on the referral slip that the sonogram results were “highly suspicious of malignancy.” […]

anonymous Nov 18, 2012 4:22pm

[…] 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 […]

anonymous Nov 8, 2012 12:33pm

Beautiful! As always, thank you for sharing your story! It is so inspiring and keeps things in perspective. 🙂

anonymous Nov 7, 2012 3:50pm

Lance was my cousin he was and will always remain an awesome person
In my eyes! He was very lucky to have Nancy and so were so many of his family members!! Through the blog we were able to see photos, updates,
And witness through their website the very trying yet inspirational journey they took together! Both so strong and loving!
RIP Lance and stay strong Nancy!!!

anonymous Nov 7, 2012 2:59pm

The perfection of any transition is precious beyond measure. It delights in love and swoons with passage. A blessing now complete.

anonymous Nov 6, 2012 7:26pm

Beautiful. <3 ~Rebecca

anonymous Nov 6, 2012 12:16pm

As someone who has gone through the process of losing someone close, your words deeply resonated with me. I needed them especially now, as today marks the seven year anniversary of my mom's passing. Thank you for sharing, for being brave and for inspiring so many others. May you be blessed and held during these tender days.

anonymous Nov 6, 2012 7:02am

thank you! had to shed a tear though…we are indeed all connected

anonymous Nov 5, 2012 8:05pm

I am sorry for your loss. Our family is fighting cancer – several members of both sides. We are also dealing with a terminal diagnosis with my brother in law. The heart break is terrible and I just feel so sorry that this is happening to someone we love. Your husband inspires me as do you.

anonymous Nov 5, 2012 3:54pm

We have a saying when someone loses a loved one: Memory Eternal! We know all shall pass this Earthly life but may his memory last in your heart and in your house and in your favorite places with him and those who loved him and those he loved. Memory Eternal!

anonymous Nov 5, 2012 8:13am

So sorry for your loss, Nancy. Touching, heartbreaking story. Beautifully written. My husband and I have the same signal. Be well. ~Lynn

anonymous Nov 4, 2012 8:35pm

Thank you for sharing this. So very moving. Love to you.

anonymous Nov 4, 2012 3:07pm

40 year old man… crying my eyes out.

anonymous Nov 4, 2012 8:59am

So sorry for your loss Nancy. And grateful for your sharing.
With love

anonymous Nov 4, 2012 6:59am

This is just so heartbreakingly beautiful. Peace to you. Thank you for sharing.

anonymous Nov 3, 2012 8:44pm

Powerful and inspiring. Lori Ann ele love, editor