Finding Hope & Comfort – An Interview with Annette Lentz

Finding Hope & Comfort – An Interview with Annette Lentz

We had a chance to sit down on a zoom call and find out more about our board
members and where they have found comfort in grief and hope during this time.  Today, we’re sharing part of our conversation with Annette Lentz.

Tell us a little bit about you, your background, where you’re from, and then tell us
about your experience with grief.
My name is Annette Lentz, and I am on the board in a marketing position for Faith and
Grief. I’m in my third year on the board, and I am in my seventh or eighth year of
involvement with Faith in Grief Ministries. I work at CC Young, Senior Living
Community, and Sales for Independent Living. My background is really in marketing and
advertising in national media. But I have a real love for seniors, and as the world
changed and the media and the industry changed, I really needed to make a career
shift. So, working with seniors was a natural fit.

My involvement with Faith and Grief began when I was a facilitator at Saint Michael and
All Angels Church. I had lost both of my parents by the time I was 40. My dad died just a
month before my son was born, and my mother died right before my 40th birthday. And
we were a really close family. I have an older brother, I was the baby, and at the time I
was a single mom. It was just such a big void, and I really relied on my faith, and my faith
grew much deeper during this time of grief. Because it really gave…God really gave me
something to hold onto. And the grief brought me to a point of real suffering that made
me vulnerable and just opened up my heart to see how I could let God in.

My priest at St Michael’s knew my story, and she was putting together a group at St.
Michael’s to host the Faith and Grief luncheon gatherings. And she asked me to greet
the facilitators and round them up, and so I did that. I had training and pastoral care,
pretty extensive training because I really feel like that’s my spiritual gift. And when I
would sit with them, the attendees who were there to process their grief, I was
very touched and could empathize with them and the journey that they were going through. It was very fulfilling because I felt like through my experience, I could support them.

A few years went by, I was working out, and Sharon Balch and I were in the locker room
at our workout facility, and we were just catching up, and I knew she was one of the
founders. And she said, well, what would you think about being on the board? And I
said I would love that. And that’s how it happened. And it’s been a great experience,
and I’m seeing growth in this organization, and I know that it’s through God’s work and
the wonderful people that are a part of the organization, that things are really happening
to help those who feel loss. So that’s how it came together.

When you’re looking at your own experience in grief and what that experience
was like, where did you find comfort or where have you found comfort? 
Really comfort came for me through telling my story and through being with others that
understood, through being with people who knew what it felt like to lose someone and
the complication grief can really bring.

Relationships are not perfect, and losing my parents at 40 isn’t young, but 39’s on the
younger side to maybe lose your parents to death. Our relationship just didn’t go the
whole course, and that whole course being an arbitrary statement. We all think we
should live until we’re 90, but that doesn’t always happen. I experienced some things as
an adult, later I got married again, and my son progressed through his young adulthood,
and I did that without parents. And I still process it, 20 years later, I still process the fact
that they’re not with me anymore.

Maybe that’s part of what I enjoy about being in this organization. Somewhere back
there and maybe their grief process is still going on; I don’t know. But anyway, I just find
it through being attentive and intentional about processing feelings and just being with
others helps me to know that there’s hope and life goes on, and it does.

Annette Lentz is a Senior Living Counselor at CC Young Senior Living and a board
member of Faith & Grief.