Hi there. I'm Joe Allen. And this is find your fierce, the show designed for women to discover your fierce unlock, an 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.
(00:35): Hey there, gang. Welcome to find your fears so glad that you are here with me. As we dive into a brand new episode, I am super excited about this one because we have a special guest with us and one powerful testimony. And so I can't wait to introduce you to her, but before we 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, that you guys are just so amazing. And I have to thank you for all your love and support. And as always, I appreciate your feedback and your reviews and love that you share this podcast and a set free message with your friends and family. So if you could keep on doing that, that would be pretty incredible because you are helping this movement as it helps reach more women and it impacts more lives.
(01:14): And that is certainly what life is all about. So thank you so so much. Okay guys, we're gonna dive in. I want you to meet my friend, Amy Conrad. We actually met just a few weeks ago, but her smile, her heart, her love of life. Uh, just spoke to me and I just had to have her on here, uh, with all of you. And so she can share her story because I know so many of you are able to relate to it. Um, and we always say that our, you know, our mess is our message, or we have such a, uh, you know, God is building our testimony and that is exactly what he's doing in Amy's life. And I'm just so blessed that you're here. So Amy, how are you? I'm good. Jill, thank you for having me. Yeah, kinda nervous, but yeah, I'm glad to be here with you.
(02:01): Well, I it's, don't be nervous. We're all good. Uh, you know, I say, um, and like, and write all the time. Uh, and so that's just the way we roll here. So just, yeah, just show up as, you know, a hundred percent you, and I think people are gonna just absolutely love you, your heart, your story, um, and your message here today. Uh, so I'm proud of you. I'm proud of you for stepping at once again, outside your comfort zone. We just spent a couple days in glacier. Yes we did. Yeah. So, and you had some pivotal moments, uh, there. I did. So, yeah. So tell us a little bit, like, what was the main, like, what was the biggest pivotal moment with you? I mean, I could think of a couple, but what comes to mind with you? Probably the biggest pivotal moment. I mean, you know, there were quite a few for me, but the one that truly sticks out was our, um, last, last hike, I forget the name of the trail, but it had a couple switchbacks and it start, it started out.
(02:58): We not get to the parking lot. So it added on a couple miles, which was fine, but we totally went through every single season climbing that mountain. And it was got to the point where it was pretty grueling for me because I, that was totally out of my element. Totally. But once we got to the top and even in the downpour freezing cold downpour rain, I couldn't have been more proud and happy with myself for achieving that big moment for me. Mm-hmm yeah, it was Apgar, Apgar, lookout. I was trying, I was like, like, wait a minute. And when you set a couple miles, it added a couple, it actually added in like almost four, because it was 1.9 and then we had to go back. We had to go back. So it was, oh gosh. Yeah. I think we did hit every season.
(03:51): Oh, oh definitely. Yeah. Cuz we had our coats off for a while and then we had, there wasn't enough clothing for us to bundle up and I swear there was like sleet at the top. And so yeah, we did, but it was amazing. Amazing. Yeah. Well I think, uh, I don't know if you ladies have seen the video or not, if you haven't will, uh, definitely check it out. But I remember your face, like on our first go, as we were going out, we were all so timid, you know, and like, do we go through the water? I mean, there was this overflow and you know, need, I mean it was knee deep, uh, and maybe even deeper in some areas. Uh, but by the time we came back your face, I mean, it was just like this powerful, I've got this, I'm not second guessing.
(04:37): And you just went right through it. Yeah. I mean, you know, obviously I'm sure I'm not the only one, but you pray a lot going up because there were so many times I can't tell you that you just wanna quit, but then you're thinking, why would you come this far to quit? And I remember you saying the whole time, you know, we have to mindset ourself. We have to mindset ourself today is a day of mindset and you know, so you just, you just do that. And then you just think of the gift that you're giving yourself when you reach the top. And you know, it was definitely worth it, even though there were so many times I wanted to turn back, but did not. So yeah, it was all worth it. That is awesome. Well, yeah, I'm so super proud. I mean, proud of you.
(05:21): Thank you. Cause it was a tough day. It was a tough, it was, especially when you're starting off in the rain. It's one thing to get rained on when you're out there, but to actually start at 11 mile Trek right. In the rain. So yeah, we kept on going. I love it. So you overcome or you overcame that mountain and I know you've had several mountains. Yes. In, as we all have. I mean, we all have a story, uh, you know, that, that hits, that hits pretty hard. And I know that you had shared a little bit about that at, uh, our retreat. Uh, and I remember you saying it was that you usually don't talk about it. Mm-hmm correct. And we're gonna talk a little bit about it. So where do you wanna start? I can just kind of, um, sum it up.
(06:09): I can start from the beginning. Mm-hmm in 2007. My oldest son, Brendan was 15 turned 15 in February. He was in August. He was going into, he was leaving his freshman year going into his sophomore year up at fi Fisher Catholic. So he was on the football team. So he had just started his sophomore year of football. We were at a scrimmage and um, he had, um, gotten to a bad play and to his ACL. So right there in those, the first or second scrimmage, he was out football. So going through the whole process with getting his knee fixed and surgery and all that, he was laid up at home for a few days. And he happened to bring to my attention a spot on his lower abdomen that had been there for a while. And he was just kind of curious about it because it wasn't healing as quickly as what he had thought and it's, it wasn't given him any problems or issues, but it just, wasn't very pretty.
(07:11): So he brought it to my attention. And of course being, you know, a mom, my mind, something in my gut told me immediately that, that this was not gonna be a good ending. So during the whole time with his knee process and stuff, we were working with the dermatologist, trying to get him in there while not knowing that the severity of this. We went ahead and cont started therapy and started doing things with his knee and put the initial surgery off for the biopsy, put it, pushed it back a month or so finally we got in there and got the biopsy done. Well, of course it came back as melanoma. So that was a huge blow to our family. And then the doctor called us in and said that this is not a good situation. He immediately transferred us up to the James and immediately got us to the doctors that we needed to be into.
(08:02): They had told us then that we were probably dealing with a late stage three, depending on how some other testings went. It could move into a four, which it did. So Brendan from there just started spiraling down with sickness and stuff. He went through the first round of chemo and it was very, very harsh, very made him very ill. And the whole process was just, um, you're just kind of, because it was so quickly from the beginning to the end was 10 weeks. So we were just like in a, a fast forward, like a motion constantly for 10 weeks. Not, you know, maybe in a little denial at times. And but yeah. And then in December, um, December 2nd of oh seven, he passed away 10 weeks later, 10 weeks later, 10 short weeks later. Yeah. So, um, yeah, it was quick, but you know, as a mom, you look back on things I've come a long way.
(09:05): Um, it was tough at first of course, it's still tough, but I'm very thankful now that it was a short 10 weeks because it could have been long and grueling for him. And I, I still thank God to this day that he did not allow him to suffer as much as a lot of people do. Mm-hmm so how, I mean, you guys were in, you know, the battle of your life mm-hmm did you have any moments where you just held on and was in that moment? Yes. When Brenda was in the hospital from the beginning. Wow. This is kinda weird. I've never been asked this question after his first, um, chemo treatment. He did get to come home. That was the moment that that just is with me, that I still treasure because, um, we had, we were blessed to have Brendan pretty much in his, in his right mind, even though he was a little sick from the chemo treatments, but we have probably maybe three, four days of really good Brendan that we just got to enjoy him so, so much.
(10:09): And I knew that this was a gift. So I did not. I held on to that whole time there with him because as a mom, we know certain things and I knew where this was going. So I knew this was God's gift to me. And Brendan had a few close friends that were able to come out and visit him for the last time. But like after the fourth day he started getting pretty sick. So we had to take you back to the hospital. And that was basically the only time he, the last time he was home. So looking back on that, it was a true gift. Mm-hmm so, yeah. Oh, you're strong. I, I, yeah, I'm sitting here with no, I wasn't. You welcome. It's hard. It's still, it's so hard, but I, you know, I I've been counseling. I'm not ashamed to admit it.
(10:53): It took me a while. I've only been in counseling now for about a year and a half, but so I lived 12 years in like a darkness and that I didn't even realize I was living until I started my therapy. So, um, I would say in the last year and a half, um, has been a huge, huge light for me to be in a good place. What was the moment that you knew that you thought, okay, let, let's try counseling. Let's try something different for 12 years. I mean that well for 12 years, yeah. You go through every emotion. When this happens, you go through every single, some emotions you didn't even realize. I mean, what they're like until you experience them. So obviously in the beginning it was just, um, you're just, you just feel dead. You just feel like you're living each day to be there.
(11:47): But for me, I knew I still had a family. Mm-hmm I had two small children yet and my husband and I needed to calm myself up if, for nothing else for them. And from that moment on, even though I was still living in a darkness, I was able to function as a mother and as a wife, probably not happy about it, but I got through every day for quite a while, started turning to God a lot more than I had. Um, my children will tell you that we listened to the river so much that they just were . But I mean, you know, everything. Yeah. I just grabbed a hold of everything. Um, to get me through that day spiritually, I prayed, um, a lot. I read a lot of spiritual books, um, just a lot of things. And I knew, um, Brendan was with me the whole time I got to the point then where I was like, I started changing my life.
(12:42): I started running, doing more things for me, so I could try to be more at peace with myself. And I tried to do, like I said, I started running just things that Brendan and I like to do. We were able to do one 5k together and we just have a lot of memories of that final year, um, that he was with us, a lot of beautiful memories. So just certain things I said, I've gotta get back to, I wanna start living my life the way I lived it when Brennan was with us, I wanna be happy again. And, but it took me a while. So like a year and a half ago, I started experiencing some more different and COVID played a part bad part in everybody's lives too. But I started experiencing some different emotions that I had never experienced before really, really bad anxiety.
(13:30): And that kind of started into some panic attacks and I didn't know where they were coming from. And we were still living in the same home that we had lived in when Brennan was with us. So all in all, we'd been there close to 20 years. We had talked about selling, but it was rough for me to sell and leave that behind. So about a year and a half ago, I started doing some research and I don't know how I got into this therapist, but I did, because at that time, every single therapist around a hundred miles out was full because, because of all the COVID had had everybody, you know, that needed therapists people to, yeah. It forced people to slow down still and be with their thoughts and right. Real mindset. Oh yeah. This door opened up. Like I said, with this therapist, I'm still with her.
(14:19): She, I, I say she saved my life in so many ways because she was a perfect godsend at the time when I needed her. And she's fantastic. And she's helped me through so much trauma that I was holding in and come to find out, we sold the house we've lived. We just moved about it's just spending years. The 1st of June. And I had found out that the house had be down it when we sold the house. And I'm where I'm at now. That was a huge lift off my shoulders too, because there was a lot of negativity in that house that I had been living there for 13 years after Brennan had passed. So mm-hmm, , I'm just in a very good place now. And Brennan's with me. He still shows me this all the time. We have free happenings. I, I should have wrote a book is why everybody tells me I should have, because anybody that knew Brendan knew that if he could do some of the things he does from the other side, he would be able to do it.
(15:23): And he has, he has proven himself and God has so good to us through this bad experience that we went through that, um, I'm just very, very thankful and blessed to be in this, the position I'm at now. So it was so good for me. One of the new things for me in this last year and a half was doing the mantra trip with you. So that is a, um, that is a big moment in my life too. Mm-hmm back to truly living of as to who you have been created to be, this is why your story is so powerful. You know, as I listen to hear, you know, listen to you, speak and share, um, and I know it's tough, so I cannot thank you enough for opening opening your heart. Is that how strong your faith is? And that you actually went to him because there are so many people when, when there's a mountain and when there's a challenge and when there's dev devastation and trauma, it's very easy to go the opposite route and shut God out.
(16:27): But you invited him in and your relationship has grown even stronger. He was, he was your rock. And that to me is the most powerful part, um, in this is that he has you, he had Brendan, he has your family, even though we don't understand. Yeah. Understand the plan. Um, you know, maybe at this time, how is your family like with you as, as a mom? I mean, when things are tough as a mom and there's some turmoil and there's some stuff going on in our heart, how do you think that impacted you? I know you said you were kind of going through the motions you showed up, you know, you got through it. Well, you, for me, for my poor children, I mean, they turned out they're good kids. Um, . But for me, obviously, when something like that happens, it, it strips you of your security and you live in fear.
(17:18): And sometimes over the, as the years went on the fears there, even though you don't feel it every day, it's still there and it would rear its ugly head. Whenever something would happen. Like if my kids were to leave town or if they would spend the night at a friend's your, my mind, I had no control over, it would just go to the worst. Because when you have a devastating incident in your life, such as losing a child, the feeling is deep. It never had anything like that happen. It's hard to experience that depth of pain. So when you have something of, of that level, it could be a parent. Anybody, I'm not just saying a child, but when you experience that depth of pain, you know that you never wanna go there again because the level just it's unexplainable. So you want to shelter your children, even though you want them to continue to live life and Excel, but you have to protect you get in this mode where I can't let 'em do this because we've already had the worst happen to us.
(18:22): So we know it can happen. And I can't do that again. I cannot experience that again. So I would come up with any type of excuse to try and get my kids to stay home. It's so sad. It really is. Um, the level of control, we, you weren't able to control that. Absolutely. Therefore I'm gonna try to control yeah. Every other aspect. Absolutely. And you know, that plays a part in your children's lives too. Um, R Kelsey, she has this spirit that she's always had. And I remember her kindergarten teacher telling us you don't ever wanna break that spirit. Well, she still has that spirit, even though losing her big brother impacted her. She has remained to keep that spirit alive. And she still lives her life pretty much fully. She thinks of Brennan, but you know, at, at seven and eight years old, then she doesn't remember the full who her big brother was, but she remembers a lot of good memories.
(19:21): Now, Brock on the other hand, yes, that, that did play an impact on him. Me sheltering, him also, um, has led to where, um, he has had some counseling and is trying to, since he lives out of state now is trying to find a good counselor for him out of state, just because he was a little closer. And that was his brother and they shared a lot and it just has really impacted his life too. So yeah. Are you guys able to talk about all of this as a family? We have finally got to the point where we are and it's took us a long time because you kind of turn those feelings off. And as a family, you kind of wanna be normal. So you don't wanna talk about anything that made us not normal. So we try and live a normal life. Then we got to the point where the kids got older, that they started having things in their life happen that could only be Brendan.
(20:15): So it opened up some doors for them. And now we talk freely, we talk about Brendan. If they have happenings, they, they bring it to me. And we're able to talk about my therapy, how it's impacted our lives for the positive now. And so we're very, very, we've always been a close private family, but we're very close, healthy, positive now. Wow. That would be so much freedom in that. Yes, it's good. It's good. Yeah. They can leave the house now and I'm, I can breathe because I know God's got them and that's securing for me. Plus I know that they've got good head on their shoulders and not that any medical, thing's not gonna strike any of us, but I have a lot of faith in that God's gonna take care of us. And um, I think we're just all headed in a good, good direction.
(21:06): Now it's hard to imagine that God actually loves our children more than us. Yeah. But that's okay with me. I know it is. It's like, no, I, I love them. They're mine. They're MI, but they, I know. And that, Ugh. Yeah. So, so good. But at the same time, just like, well, what about ? What about that? Yeah. Other thing for me that has finally come to light that I think a lot about is I never thought about this before, but Brendan had a very, he had a good faith also. I mean, he had been brought up and said to Catholic school and practiced Catholic ways and went through it all. And he had a very close relationship with the priest at the time. Um, so he was very, very, um, close to Christ. So wow. That comforty for me. Oh yes. Yeah. So I know he's in good hands.
(22:02): I know he is happy and I know he is with us all the time. So mm-hmm I mean, you know, like my son, I always used to tell people, you know, people say, sorry for your loss. I have a lost Brenda he's with me all the time. Mm-hmm and you know, like my Brock lives in DC. I miss him so much cuz I don't get a see him, but I know this is probably kind of strange for people to understand, but I Ms. Brock because he is not with me all the time. Brendan, I miss him. Brendan is with me all the time. So, and maybe a, a strange sense that it's not the missing it's I know he is with me all the time. So is that you found that comfort? Yes. Wow. I, I know that he's probably, um, just looking down amazed at how strong his mom is.
(22:56): I don't, I mean, I don't know if you give yourself enough credit, but I think that I don't feel that I'm that strong. I mean, I've come a long way. Yeah, no, you, you are, you are. And uh, the things that you're doing, um, you know, and putting your, your health first to get you back the way that God has in intended you to, to live and to be, um, and the impact that I know that you have on so many, you know, starting with your family is absolutely a blessing. So I cannot thank you enough for sharing. Um, is there anything El, I mean, anything that you wanna share for anyone that might be going through a really tough time right now that you can just share some love and advice? Well, just, you know, don't lose sight of, you know, what you're here for, you know, no matter who it is, um, we're dealing with a family member right now who is terminally ill also it's, it's an aunt, but um, we just spend, we take it day by day we're in the day that we are with her, just I would, and it's so hard to be, be that way when you're with somebody that you love, that, you know, you're losing, but just try to be in that moment, take every single moment and breathe it in just so you'll have it with you.
(24:14): And I know as we all, you know, we all want everybody, I hold your faith close and rely on God and he'll get you through it. You know, they say he doesn't take you through anything that you can't withstand. And, um, I truly believe that he's, you know, he's there, if you just allow him to help you, he will. Yeah. You just said a key piece is allow. We need to allow and, and, and let him be there. God, I cannot thank you enough. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Uh, just thanks so much for being here. Uh, ladies, if you're wanting more fire in your day, there's so much for you to do so you can follow me on Instagram snag, a copy of my book, set free on Amazon, join us in the fit and fear. So the flip, the script one on one nutrition and the next retreat, we just spent a few amazing weeks, glacier and Alaska and the Dolly side's wilderness for the 30 mile backpacking mission is coming up and St.
(25:08): Thomas this fall. So we've been all over the place on epic adventures that allow us to step outside our comfort zone. So be sure to go to Jill Allen, coaching.com for our updates and join the just brief Facebook group, we would love to connect with you heads up on the next episode, we are going to have some wake up call moments to share. So be sure to pop back in next week. Thanks so much for joining us today. And I pray that we filled your heart with joy. And 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 in a review as well, talk with you next time, be fit, be fierce, be unstoppable. See ya.
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