Hi there. I'm Jill Allen and this is find your fierce, the show designed for women to discover your fierce, unlock and unstoppable mindset. Build unbreakable courage and completely transform how you show up every single day. Each week I will bring ideas, methods and strategies that will inspire you to step into your greatness and live life on purpose. Let's be fit, fierce and unstoppable.
(00:36): Hey gang. Welcome to find your fear so glad you are here with me today. We have a pretty amazing guest with us. Our story is powerful and inspiring. I know we have talked about how our challenges do not define us, that they actually refine us. And that is exactly what her journey is all about. So I'm pretty excited to have her here and I have a feeling you will take something away that is gonna hit home to you, and that will add value to your day. I just absolutely cannot. Outweigh is gonna be so good, but before we introduce our special guest and go any further, I have to say that I love that you are here listening in and spending time with us. So honored that I get to be a part of your day. You guys are just so absolutely amazing. And I have to thank you for all the love and support as always.
(01:17): I appreciate your feedback, your reviews, and I love that you share this podcast and the set free message with friends and family. So if you could keep on doing that, that would be amazing because there's so much power when we share inspiration, because you are helping this movement. It helps reach more women and it impacts more lives. And that is certainly what life is all about. So thank you so much. Okay. So, like I said, I'm pretty excited and honored to introduce to you my new friend, her story, her testimony is one that will inspire you to step into your greatness as well. Meet my friend Brighton. How are you girl? Good. How are you doing good. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to, of course, to, to share your story. So tell us a little bit about yourself.
(01:59): I mean, what's a day in the life of Brighton. So I, a mother of three young boys, five, three and seven months old. I'm currently working full time as a paramedic in the ER cause my husband is in medical school. He'll be starting residency this summer. So we're super excited about that new phase. Yeah. And we are, I guess, an adventure family. It's how I like to think of it. We love climbing, hiking, backpacking. We try and get outside into nature as much as we can. I used to also do search and rescue. So that has also kind of fuel fueled my love of the outdoors. So we're trying to kind of raise our boys with the love and appreciation of nature and, and just kind of a mindset that things don't matter, but people do. Oh my gosh.
(02:51): That's so good. Well, that's what caught my attention on your Instagram because of just your images and, and the, and your hiking adventures in your story. I mean, you're carrying around backpacks of kids on your back, whether it's, you know, the heat or the snow or you just, it's AB it's inspiring. And I, and I love that as you know, with small kids, you know, taking them outside and enjoying that I was hook line in sinker and, and I just wanted to follow you because it was definitely inspiring. So it's good now you're in Utah, right? I mean, just so the listeners know that you're, you know, if you're doing a search and rescue and out there in the, in the red rock you're in the midst of it. Yep. We're in Utah. Okay. That's awesome. Well, I mean, it seems like you have a full life between your just things are full, right?
(03:41): Yes. We're pretty busy. I feel like I'm kind of all over the place all the time, but in a good way. Yeah. Well, you take it with so much, you know, just with so much grace it's, it's great. Oh, thank you for that. Well, let's, I mean, you let's start with your story. I mean, I think that is one can, can inspire people to understand like, you know, whatever pain that we're going through or trauma, or, you know, if everything's going smoothly, something can just put a jolt on that and, and do a flip and, and how you respond to that. Yeah. Let's just start from day one. I mean, yeah. So I guess, yeah, well preface like working in the ER, I see very often kind of firsthand, like how kind of fragile and everything life can be. But about two years, yeah.
(04:30): Two years ago we had kind of a very firsthand experience with that. That totally changed my whole perspective and kind of outlook on life. So me and my boys, I had two boys at the time. My oldest was three and my youngest was about 18 months and we were just out on our daily walk and I had my boys in a double stroller. And just, yeah, going for our morning walk on the path that we usually took. And at one point we had, we were at a crosswalk one that had a button you press and the light flash. So we did that and started crossing and there was a distracted driver that wasn't paying attention that came kind of around the corner and didn't see us and hit us in the crosswalk. And unfortunately the stroller took kind of the brunt of the imp packed.
(05:23): So the stroller was kind of thrown down the street and my oldest was kind of thrown out of the stroller cuz he, yeah, let me buckle him in. He was three. And so he was kind of thrown out and then my youngest was kind of pinned inside the stroller kind of collapsed around him. So at first when the car yeah, struck us, it was just like the movies super slow motion. And I was just kinda like frozen, like what just happened? And then I heard my oldest son crying and that kind of snapped me out of it. And so I looked, you know, down the road and saw him kind of like laying on the side of the road. And so I ran over to him and he was crying and kind of screaming, which in the kinda like medical mindset was a good sign.
(06:09): Like I knew he was breathing. I knew he was conscious because my, at that point, my mind kind of immediately switched into like my medical training with my like EMT and first responder experience and training. And so he was kind, he was bleeding a lot and everything, but yeah, he was kinda looking at me and crying. And so I knew then that I had to check on my baby. And so probably one of the hardest moments of my life was having to lay him back down to run over to my baby. No mother ever, yeah. Should have to like leave their child in that state. But I knew I had to check on my other son. So I ran over to where the stroller was and kind of flipped it back over and saw that my baby was kind gray, like not breathing unresponsive in a stroller.
(06:59): So I quickly pulled him out. And at that moment I, I panicked, I didn't think that he was with us anymore. I thought that I had lost him. And so yeah, mom, Mo emotions definitely took over and I just kind of started screaming his name and kind of like shaking him, trying to get him to wake up. And he wasn't, and then another car had stopped and that driver ran over to me and he asked, what can I do to help? And that again, kicked my mind back into like my medical training mode of, okay, what do we need to do? Like what's the next step? And so it was obviously very hard to think clearly in that situation. So I just like thought back the very basics of my training, like first step check his airway. So I started to resuscitate my son.
(07:46): I had to open his airway and began doing CPR when the firefighters showed up. Thankfully, because I was kind of at the end of my line, like I did not wanna have to yeah. Try and do that on my boys. And so they were both then flown to, well, I guess we took an ambulance to the first hospital while we waited for the helicopters and both my boys had to get intubated and then they were flown to the local children's hospital as trauma ones. And that was kind of like the beginning of, of a long road of recovery. I can't imagine like you had your medical training, thank God for that. Yeah. But I can't imagine flipping it and, and, and, and it being your own child. Yeah. It was definitely like, I see hard stuff at work a lot, but it's a thousand times different.
(08:39): Yeah. When it's your own yeah. Child and just the weight of like their lives in your hand at that moment was just a lot. And, but at the same note, I'm so grateful that I had that training because my youngest, if I hadn't known what to do, wouldn't be here with us. And so, yeah, I'm pretty sure like that is why I was meant to go down the career path that I did was for that moment. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. What a, I mean, it just a miracle, a miracle, a, a blessing. Yeah. Yeah. It was definitely, this whole process has been the hardest obviously. Yeah. Like experience of my life and kind of an awful experience obviously. But at the same time, there was a lot of miracles along the way and just like really neat moments and just so much outpouring of love and support from everyone even complete strangers that we had never met before that was really to touching and pretty incredible to see yeah.
(09:37): The love and support from everyone. Yeah. Incredible. Incredible. So you're, you're at the hospital. Did you know immediately that that things were gonna be okay. I mean, what, what did the, the, the days in the hospital weeks, the impact on, on you, your, your, your marriage and you as a mother? Yeah. So it was kind of, especially the first, I'd say a couple days were just really a roller coaster because on scene, I, I thought at one point we thought we were gonna lose both of them, but then they got my youngest stabilized and he seemed to be doing okay. So then I was like a little less worried about him. And my oldest started downhill and we learned that he had like a skull fracture and a brain bleed and he went unresponsive at the hospital. So then I was super worried about him, but then he ended up doing better.
(10:28): And then we found out that my youngest had a lot of really severe injuries. And so yeah, it was kind of just back and forth and just, yeah, the, you know, how mom stressed, just yeah. The survival, yeah. The survival mode at that time of just, and then the prayers for sure. And my, so my oldest was in the ICU for a couple days and my youngest was in the neurotrauma unit and luckily this was pre COVID days. So we were able to have my parents come up and some of my husband's family. But because the boys were in different floors of the hospital, it was super hard to not be able to be with both of them. We had to kind of keep running back on fourth. And my husband would just take turns switching, who was with each child. So for that first, like week in the hospital, my husband and I like didn't really see each other at all, which was also really difficult because we weren't able to be there to support, support each other.
(11:25): Cause we wanted to make sure that if, either the boys up that one of us would be there and then my oldest was a discharge home from the hospital. And so that was also hard. My husband took him home and was at home with him. And so to just be kind of separated as a family and I felt super torn cuz I, my oldest was still recovering and had obviously been through a ton, but I couldn't be home with him. I was at the whole hospital with my youngest. And so yeah, just feeling like our family was divided during such a heart trialing time was really hard, but we learned that. And during that time we learned that my youngest had a bunch of injuries, a broken pelvis and a, a broken neck and some kind of major traumatic brain injury. And so there was just a lot of unknowns at that point.
(12:18): I remember just sitting in the hospital room by myself, cause my husband was at home with our oldest and just holding my baby and crying and not knowing if I would ever get to see, to kind of see my baby as he was, if that makes sense, because he'd had so much personality and life in her, him and then at this point was pretty much unresponsive. He'd kind of opened his eyes sometimes, but didn't really move or couldn't respond or talk or anything. And he was paralyzed on the left side of his body. So I also just had so many kind of flashes of what our future might be. Like I kind of said before, how we're a big outdoorsy family. So I was already trying to think of ways that we would be able to still get my son outside and doing the things that he enjoyed if he was unable to move that left side and was paralyzed.
(13:09): But we were then discharged from the hospital after a few weeks that kind of began a long road of recovery for both my boys, but especially my 18 month old. And he had to do physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, feeding therapy. He had to be in a sea collar like neck brace for a few months and had a feeding tube. And so luckily, yeah, I had that medical training also because I feel like I don't know, my heart goes out for parents that have to step into that caregiver role without kind of prior experience. Cuz it's a lot to take on even with some kind of medical knowledge, but we just received. Yes. Like I said before, so much love and support and help from everyone that it was a really humbling yeah. Experience and really showed me like how many good people there still are in the world.
(14:03): Yeah. Just how, how they pull together. I mean, what was the prognosis at that time when you were released, you know, into your home and out, you know, away from the hospital and you were taken on this role as that you medical caregiver as well. I mean, what was the prognosis at that, at that time? What did the future, what was being spoken over you guys at that time? They, the hardest part probably was that they weren't able to really give us a prognosis and they couldn't really tell us how they would recover. My, my oldest had a, we were pretty sure that he in a few months make a full recovery and maybe have some slight changes from the brain injury that he sustained, but we weren't as worried about him, but with my youngest, they, and because of the extent of his brain injuries, they couldn't really tell us that they were very vague.
(14:55): Because with young kids, their brains Areli and have more room to grow and just adapt so much that yeah. Sometimes kids make really great recoveries and are able to kind of catch up to their peers or to the cognitive level that they should be at. And other times they don't make any improvements. So we weren't sure yet if he would always be stuck kind of at an 18 month old level or if he would eventually catch up. And that was really hard for me because if we were gonna, you know, if he was gonna to be paralyzed and be kind of stuck mentally at this infant level and everything, I was fine with that, but I just kind of wanted to know so that I could mentally prepare and kind of know what to expect, start looking into special needs programs and special need equipment and just all those things I just wanted to know so that, yeah.
(15:52): And like emotionally I could prepare and step into that role, but yeah, they couldn't really tell us. And so it was just kind of a waiting game to see if he would approve, improve how he would improve, but I've been truly blown away by both my boys and just their resiliency. My oldest, he definitely had a lot of like personality changes and a hard time with outside stimulus and things like that cause of the brain injury. But every day watching him, I noticed like small improvements and with my youngest, especially he is such a fighter. He did not give up. He just up fighting and pushing and kind of blew us away with his recovery and the progress that he made, we would try and help him learn to crawl again and, or try and help him learn to walk again. And as soon as he started to pick up those skills again and he was kind of able to like, he didn't want any help, he didn't want help.
(16:51): Oh my God. With us holding his, like he wanted to do it all himself and just, yeah, he is so determined. That is absolutely amazing. This the stubbornness, the perseverance. Yeah. The, just that, that little fighter that's, doesn't matter what age that's just, what's so amazing to be so young. Yeah. He's definitely everyone always, you know, kind of, so as, oh, you're so strong for going through this, I'm like, no, I'm not, it was all my boys. I was just writing off of their strict strength and they were such examples to me that no matter how hard things are to just keep going, even if it's just making it through that day, just to focus on getting through that day or just make taking that next step, whether that's metaphorical or literal, just learning to take a step, to just push through one little bit at a time and just do as much as you can handle and get through that moment and then take on the next little bit that you, you can handle.
(17:49): And slowly like through that process, making it through whatever big challenge that you're facing, that had to be amazing to just watch him relearn those things over again. I mean, you're saying that he had to relearn to crawl, walk, eat, eat, yeah. Everything. And yeah, it definitely hard at moments, you know, seeing other kids, his age, doing things that he couldn't and also just wondering like what he'd be like if we hadn't experienced the accident, but to watch him yeah. Make that progress and to see his face light up and just to see how proud he'd be when he would learn to pick up the again or when he learned to take those first steps again, it was, it was definitely more exciting than when he was a baby and first learned to walk. It was cuz yeah, I didn't know if I would ever get a see again, there was one point where I wasn't sure if I'd ever even see him smile again, because he was, so his brain was just so damaged and he was so unresponsive.
(18:49): So every little milestone has been huge to, so what are the boys like now? I mean, it's, it's been a couple years, but just to, to watch them just heal. I mean, what, what are they like now? They, my oldest is so adventurous. He definitely has such AEST our life and is kind of the life of the party. He always makes sure that he's talking to everyone no matter who it is, he kind of like instantly becomes their friend and is just yeah. Full of energy in life loves to try new things is always kind of the leader of the pack in our family, but also is very like caring and cautious of his little brothers. If something seems scary or dangerous or he's not sure, he always makes sure that he's yeah. Protecting his little brothers. And actually when we were in the hospital, such a sweet moment of motherhood was when my oldest first kind of woke up and came to after they took out his breathing too.
(19:49): The very first thing he was where's Watson, which is his little brother and that pretty much yeah. Sums up his personality, just so caring and thoughtful. And then my youngest is definitely more cautious. And I think part of that might just be because he, he knows his limits a little bit. Like even though he's learned to walk in everything again, he still doesn't have feeling and strength on that left side. So he's definitely very unbalanced and everything and falls down a lot. He's just barely learning to run. So he's definitely a little bit more cautious, but he is our sweetheart. He has such a light about him that I feel like, yeah, anyone that meets him just falls in love with him cuz he's just so sweet, but also yeah, very independent now and determined. He wants to do things his way and by himself, even if he's not able to do it, he still doesn't want help.
(20:44): He wants to figure it out on his own and just doesn't give up. That is unreal. I mean you're back on the trails. I remember reading of how you said it was a type of therapy for, for everyone to be out there. I mean, do you wanna kind of explain that a little bit for those who are struggling or, or going through some sort of obstacle challenge, I mean, can you share how or why that was your go-to even though I know that you loved it before, but when you thought those dreams were gonna be put on hold or altered, what's it like now? Yeah, definitely. So at the beginning it was when we needed to get out of the house or needed a release, we would go hiking yeah. Or hit the trails or even just go to like nature parks because I didn't feel safe walking on sidewalks anymore.
(21:37): I didn't feel safe going for a walk in our neighborhood or walking to the park. And so that kind of first really stemmed us, trying to get the boys out. Even when my son wasn't able to walk in everything. So I would just put him in a kid carrier, but I quickly realized how yeah. Healing and like therapeutic nature was it was just so peaceful to be out there. And I noticed a change in my boy's demeanor because of their brain injuries. They get very easily over stimulated. So lights and loud noises are really hard for them. So like things like TVs obviously, or like music going places with lots of people was just too much for them. So getting out into nature where it was quiet and peaceful, there was things to look at, but not a whole bunch of like commotion was really helpful.
(22:28): That's their brains were healing and they were able to, I think they felt safe there too. They were able to kind of explore and know I was there with them and not have to worry about anything. And then kind of, as things progressed and my son slowly learned, started learning to walk again. We started taking him air quotes, hiking, and letting, and he, at that point he didn't wanna go in the pack anymore. Most of the time he wanted to walk, even though it would be one little shuffle step and then he'd fall down and then he'd, we'd help him back up. And then one little shuffle step and he'd fall down. So we obviously wouldn't make it very far down the trail at all, but it was actually the best physical therapy for him. We kind of realized because the was slightly uneven, there was rocks.
(23:11): So he was really having to learn to engage both sides of his body. And it strengthened him physically too quicker than the physical therapy that we were doing oh. At the doctor's office. And so every time we would go hiking, he'd make it just a tiny bit further. And there was definitely lots of scraped knees and a couple bloody noses, but he didn't wanna give up. He didn't want us to help him. He wanted to do it himself. And it was definitely our happy place and to watch how much they grew on those like outdoor adventures was yeah. Incredible to watch as a mom and it's yeah. They both definitely have a love of nature and just, they, they can feel the calming effects of it and yeah, it's been pretty neat to watch. I was gonna say probably not just for them, but it for you and your husband as well, just knowing that's what you need, you know, each day.
(24:11): Yeah. Wow. I, you know, it's, it's absolutely amazing. I mean, I know you had mentioned before and we talk a lot here on the podcast, just like how life is so precious and just that we, how we can show up with so much purpose and intention of every day and, and not to take things for granted. You know, cause I think about your story and it's like, you were just going out for a normal everyday walk or a jog and, and how things can change in, in an instant and, and the way that you show up and live life now. Even more so with that, I, I know you, you call yourself a minimalist. Yeah. I mean wanna, do you wanna share anything about that and, and what major your changes? Yeah, so we had actually started getting into kind of minimalism before the accident and my husband and I converted a van a few years ago when my oldest was just a baby.
(25:04): So we did the whole van life thing for a while and, and just yeah, really cleaned to that. We got rid of maybe I don't even know, probably about 80% of our belongings sold off a whole bunch of stuff and just loved yeah. The kinda simple living and that, I think that's why we like camping and backpacking so much is cause you just take the bare minimum essentials that you need. And, but then also with the accident that kind of really drove home. That that was how we wanted to live our lives. Because like you were saying, it was such an eye opening experience of how fragile and precious life is. And you don't know when it's gonna change. It can change in such a short, instant, and life is just so precious. We all think nothing's gonna happen to us. Even at working in the ER, I saw horrible things all the time, but never in my mind had I considered that something could happen to me or my family.
(25:58): And after going through that and having those like moments right after the accident where I thought I was gonna lose both of my boys, that it were, was such a kind of rude awakening of how I needed to yeah. Live my life and what things were truly important. Like I didn't, it didn't matter if my house was like spotless clean, and it didn't matter if I don't know all those, I had the cutest outfit on and my hair was always done. All the things we read about. Yeah. Yeah. Those things don't matter. And yeah, the like the moments that I would be on my phone checking things when I could have been playing with my boys, like all of that rushed through my mind of like how silly it was that I cared about those things or that I missed those moments with my children, because it, that could have been all I had that could have been the end of my chance to experience those moments with my kids.
(26:50): And I'm so thankful, so thankful that it wasn't. And so now that's kind of how I approach life and motherhood is just, if everything was like taken away, like I don't wanna have any regrets or miss in any moments. And so kind of minimalism just fell right into that, that like, and confirmed it. Yeah. The stuff doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. Yeah. If you have the most expensive things, the nicest things, or just tons of things, a closet full of clothes, what matters is the people around you and the experiences and moments that you have with them, man, I was gonna ask you like, what tip do you have to, to share with that's it right there? I think you like, that's that got me fired up. And just, you know, I think we can end on that just because of the fact it was just so powerful.
(27:34): I know we say it all the time. Life is precious and or time is short or life is short, but to actually you're living it, you're living as if each and every day, you know, know, and I, and I just pray that so many will have their wake up call and hopefully today is that encounter where they can really grab a hold of life and, and live it and share it with the people and, and create those memories and experiences. Yeah. I cannot thank you enough. Where can they find you and follow you? I definitely wanna give them your link. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah. I'm on Instagram. It's Brighton peachy. Peachy's with just the Y at the end. And I share just a lot of tips on there about yeah. Minimalism and adventuring with little kids, hiking, camping, all those sorts of things.
(28:19): And I also have recently started doing outdoor workshops for women and families. So I teach like wilderness first aid and just kind of wilderness preparedness classes so that families and especially moms can feel more comfortable getting out and exploring with their kids. That is absolutely awesome. It is got, you need to follow her. It's absolutely amazing. You'll definitely learn so much and become inspired. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you. Thank you. If you guys are wanting more fire in your day, follow me on Instagram or join us for the just brief small group. It's a 12 month faith filled mindset and accountability experience, or you can even join us on our next retreat. We're heading to glacier in June St. Thomas in October, we're even heading on a mission trip to Alaska as a well, so we've been all over the place on epic adventures that allow us to step outside our comfort zone.
(29:10): So be sure to go to Jill Allen coaching.com for all updates or join the just brief Facebook group, we would love to have you join us heads up on the next episode, we are kicking off a new series. So be sure to pop back in next week. Thanks so much for joining. I pray that we filled your heart with joy and inspirate. If you could let us know before hopping off here, that would be incredible. Subscribe, share this episode, link on your social media, if you felt encouraged or inspired, as we all know someone that can benefit. And I would love it. If you would give some feedback and a review as well, talk to you to next time, be fit, be fierce, be unstoppable. See ya.
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