At the age of 31, Jennifer Trask lost her father after an 11-day battle with cancer. This is her story, and she is resilient.

Trigger Warning: The Global  Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult. The listener’s discretion is advised.

About the Guest:

Award-winning coach, Jennifer Trask has spent over a decade helping driven coaches build powerhouse mindsets that enable them to take action built on incredible courage, confidence and clarity. Combined with strategic business direction, Jennifer’s clients experience massive shifts and growth in their businesses. 

Jennifer is the proud creator of The Joyous Journey. An online community dedicated to helping coaches build profitable and sustainable businesses they love!

As an international speaker, Jennifer has spoken in Canada, The U.S. and Australia. She has been featured in the Huffington Post, Saltwire Network, VOCM, Inspired Coach Magazine, Rogers TV and Upwork Digital Nomad series.

Jennifer has a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing, an MBA in International Business and is an NLP Practitioner. She has been voted Diamond & Platinum Life Coach of The Year by Toronto Star Readers in 2019 & 2020, respectively.

When she is not travelling the globe (she’s been to 27 countries and counting), Jennifer calls Toronto, Canada home.

Links:

http://jenniferltrask.com/

https://www.instagram.com/jenniferltrask/

https://www.facebook.com/jennifertraskfan

https://www.tiktok.com/@jenniferltrask

 https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenniferltrask/

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Transcript
Blair Kaplan Venables:

trigger warning, the Resilience Project provides an open space for people to share their personal experiences. Some content in this podcast may include topics that you may find difficult, the listeners discretion is advised.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Hello friends, welcome to radical resilience, a weekly show where I learned Kaplan Venables have inspirational conversations with people who have survived life's most challenging times. We all have the ability to be resilient and bounce forward from a difficult experience. And these conversations prove just that, get ready to dive into these life changing moments while strengthening your resilience muscle and getting raw and real.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Welcome back to another episode of radical resilience. It's me, Blair Kaplan Venables, and I'm here today to talk to a new friend of mine. We met this fall in Ontario. And we just took a couple of minutes to figure out that's how we knew each other. But I love playing that game of like, how do we know each other, but I want to introduce you to Jennifer Trask. She's an award winning coach, and she's spent over the last decade helping driven coaches build powerful mindsets that enable them to take action. Built on incredible courage, confidence and clarity. Combined with strategic business direction, Jennifer's clients experience massive shifts and growth in their business. So she's also spoken around the world. She has been featured in tons of media like Huffington Post assault wire coach magazine, Upwork digital nomad, she's also an NLP practitioner. She's done a lot of stuff. She's located in Ontario, Canada. But today, we're not here to talk about business. We're here to talk about family. We're here to talk about the unfortunate thing we have in common. And that is she she lost her dad, and she learned her dad was sick, and her dad died 11 days after the diagnosis. And so I want to introduce to you, Jennifer. Hi. Hello. Hi. Oh my gosh, we're so we're part of the dead dad club.

Jennifer Trask:

I know. Yeah. It I don't recommend it. But it happens to most of us. So yeah, there you go. My gosh,

Blair Kaplan Venables:

like so why don't you tell us your story? Walk us walk us through your journey.

Jennifer Trask:

Well, yeah, in terms of my dad, so I won the parent lottery. I have two amazing parents. And dad was actually his trade was an accountant. But he became an entrepreneur, sort of, I don't know, when, when I was growing up aside, and, and so, you know, like, when I was growing up, I remember there were like, Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins, like CD, not CDs, not CDs, tape cassette programs, like in the household. Okay. And so, so I didn't realize it then. But of course, that sort of, we Dad always had a if you if you work hard and believe in something, you can make it happen kind of attitude. And he instilled that into us for kids. And so I was very lucky in that regard. And dad, as he got older, became a very successful entrepreneur, a very successful philanthropist. He's raised 10s of millions of dollars for the province, and was very well known. And he was also my biggest cheerleader. And as any entrepreneur knows, starting a business is not easy. And for me, I was young, I was 27. I just come out of MBA school, and I was all you know, full of everything and excited and and then I just kept losing. In business, like it was just like, nothing worked. And so I remember I'd started my first business in debt, I got into more debt. And I was living in my parents basement. So I was a classic went back to live with them at 27. And and then and I remember one day, this one particular day, I was sitting in dad's office in his chair, and I think it was about a year and a half into my first business or like close to that two year mark, where and I just started to ball because I was like, nothing is working. This is so hard. And I looked it up. And I remember he said to me, Jennifer, he said like and I was kind of like I need to move out. I can't afford to move out and you know, this kind of stuff. Because all my friends at that point in time were you know, moving in their careers they were getting Ain't engaged, they were buying houses. Meanwhile, I was like getting in more debt and single and in my parents basement

Jennifer Trask:gital nomad. And, and then in:Blair Kaplan Venables:

Well, thank you so much for sharing that. 11 days is not how long? I mean, no, like knowing you're gonna lose a parent. Like, hey, like I've said this before, like, I Everyone, your parents are gonna die, it's gonna suck. But like learning your parent is sick, and then them dying, so close to just learning it. It's like whiplash, getting hit by a car like trying to catch your breath. You're drowning and you're floating and like you don't know what to do. And it's like, you don't have time to process. Did you know At when he was diagnosed that it was terminal, like at what point in those 11 days? Did you guys realize that it was terminal?

Jennifer Trask:

I think after the first couple of days, because what happened was he just the decline was so fast in his physical abilities. That, yeah, it was only a few days. And then when he was in hospital, I think I didn't want to believe it. But then I remember I was riding in the elevator with my aunt. And she had said to me, but he is going to die. And that was the first time I was like, like, I Yeah, yeah. Like it was like, this is this is not. This is not, I don't want to sign up for this ride. It's except, because it was not my ride. It was his. Yeah. And it was, and it was happening, whether I liked it or not. So you know,

Blair Kaplan Venables:

like, it's interesting, because I have with my parents two different experiences. Yes, they're both gone. But my dad, we learned he was terminally ill. And he was given a year and a half to two years left. And he like lasted I think for like, he lived with addiction, COPD, lung cancer, like he had nine lives, or our mom was our primary caregiver. It was just me, my mom and sister like my dad was in and out of our life. And I was close with him. But he wasn't really more. He wasn't a parent, he was more like a friend. And my mom was the parent. And my mom learned she had cancer, she wasn't feeling good and was pushing for tests. And she learned she had cancer. And three weeks later passed away. But in between that she was supposed to go for a biopsy and like woke up and like couldn't breathe. And they basically she had tumors pressing on things. And she lost her voice and she was in the hospital for a week. And they should have never, never let her out. They did let her out. Thank God because I got to spend time with her. But she ended up back in the hospital and a different doctor called me and was just like this, we didn't think she was terminal. Like she was waiting for a biopsy. They're like your mom's young and healthy, she's gonna be fine. And they, the doctor called he's like, so your mother's liver is one big tumor. There's tumors everywhere. We're gonna do what we can to make her comfortable. She has two weeks left to live and she died like a few days later. And it was just so bananas because it went from like, oh, like minor discomfort to like, like she died. And I remember like, like, I was only in the hospital for a few days with her because we were told two weeks. And it was not my mom looked at me and she was like, I can't fight this. I'm in a lot of pain. And I said then like go like, do what you need to do. You know, but like, there's nothing to prepare you because I had one parent who like every time I saw him who lived in a different city than me, I would say goodbye as if it was my last time. And I made sure I made these memories with my dad like going to a Jets game and all these things I never got to do I packed it in where my mom has been around forever. In my life who didn't live in the same city all of a sudden got sick and died. And like, I just didn't have enough time with her. Yeah. And yes, there's no way that's easy, but they're very different experiences and like the sudden loss of a parent that you're very close with, like my mom was like your dad, my biggest cheerleader number one fan. And it's like this loss of a part of your heart. It's like a part of your heart falls away.

Jennifer Trask:

Yep. Yep. And you have to, you have to learn. Like you do. Come back to yourself and feel joy and happiness again and but it when you lose like you've lost them. So there's there you don't replace them. There's no replacing that person. You just learn how to live without them or live with them in a different form or whatever your belief system is. And just be grateful for the time that you had. Right? Yeah,

Blair Kaplan Venables:

that's beautiful. You know, I'm somewhat like I call myself like a woowoo Jew like I'm Jewish and Jewish. I'm very well like I'm spiritual like I believe in God or a higher power of sorts and like I meditate and journal and pull cards, but ever since my mom died, she comes to me a lot in my dream Seems a lot and the more I noticed it, and I wake up and I journal about it, it happens more and more. My dad's come a few times. And it's been really cool. Like my dad came to me. And the dream was like, I was trying to make a call to my husband and the lot the lines got crossed, and it was my dad. I'm like, Dad, I'm trying to call Shay. And I was like, Wait, dad, how's it going? Where you are, he's like, it's good. I love it up here. I'm good. And I'm like, okay. So like stuff like that keeps happening to me. And so for me, it's obviously I would rather my parents be alive, but I feel like they're around me and when they show up in my dreams, like I believe like it is them. You know, when I get a sent a random sent bullseye of lilacs and like, it's the middle of winter, my windows are closed or, you know, something happens like I'll be in rooms and like my, the, the flickering light of the scale will start and it's I think it's my mom, or like candles that won't turn on the battery's dead. I broke them all of a sudden turn on and off. That happens all the time. And so they I believe my parents are still with me, but just in a different, different, I guess. dimension. And well,

Jennifer Trask:

I love I love that. 100% Yes. Like it's totally that you know that it is? It's interesting, because six months after dad had passed, I went on my first digital nomad trip, and I had already had it planned before he ever got sick. So I just mom wanted me to keep it and go because I was like, I wanted to stay with her. But it was an I needed to go I need it to. I need it to mourn because you like it. Even after six months, it still hadn't. I hadn't really fully processed it yet. Anyway. So I was down in Ecuador. And I remember I went for this really long walk and I was in this town on the outskirts of the Amazon. And or is it the Amazon down there? No. Yes. Yes, it is the US. Okay, I think so. Yes. Anyways, the rainforest and I was in this town. I remember walking on this dirt road. And it all of a sudden hit me like. And I just started to like, break down crying like it felt it was one of those, you know, those cries where it's just it's so releasing, and you need to do them, especially if like something like losing someone like

Blair Kaplan Venables:

it's primal. It's almost like a primal cry.

Jennifer Trask:

Yes. And I remember I can still picture it in my mind. There was this little quaint house next to me. And it had a little picket fence, and there was a tree and this tree all the sudden, so in the midst of this primal cry, this swarm of yellow butterflies oops, came around me. And I had this instant feeling of calmness, and I knew it was Dad. And what's interesting is that the last picture Dad and I ever took together was from Father's Day. And that day, I happened to cook brunch for everybody. And I remember because I had made this like egg dish that you put in the oven. And I had put the words dad in cherry tomatoes on it. Yeah, anyway, so on that day, he he had worn this yellow tennis type shirt, I guess like a golf shirt, a golf shirt. And dad was very tan. And so this shirt looks really lovely on him. And I said to him, this is this is my favorite shirt of your shirts because it's bright and sunshiny like you are. And it looks good on you too. Like the color looks good, but it's very representative of your of your personality. And so we have a picture. I'm in a pink tarp and he's in the yellow one. And, and, and then and I have kind of this thing with butterflies that's too long of a story for another day. But I they come to me. And anyways. And so when these yellow butterflies came out of this tree that I randomly stopped by August like wow, yeah.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

That's so special. You know what? It's interesting that you said that about yellow butterflies. This summer, I had two yellow butterflies that would follow me around like we have just under a quarter acre where we are. And I'd be in my living room and they'd be in the window outside the living room or I'd be in my backyard. They'd be circling me. And I'd be like, Hey Mom and Dad. Love it. It left, right. Yeah. So I mean, like, the loss of a parent is absolutely terrible and earth shattering. How did you? How did you heal?

Jennifer Trask:

So one of the benefits of having a platform is you can use it for good. And so I actually did a lot of content around the the death of dad. And like, for example, I did this blog post. And unfortunately, this blog is currently down, it's coming back, but it's currently now. Like, I did this big blog post about 10 lessons that I had learned from him. And I and I actually, that blog post was in a letter I had wrote to him while he was in the hospital, because another friend of mine who lost her parent had suggested it to me. So it was a letter I only half wrote, My sister had to finish the other half. We read to him in the hospital. And I remember he was at a point where he couldn't really talk very well. So he couldn't even I knew he wanted to say things, but he, he physically couldn't. But I had wrote that, and then I decided to make it a blog post. And it was very popular and got shared a lot. And people really commented on it like that. It really, it touched them, because it was about some really important like life lessons, and some business lessons that I learned from dad. And then I had done some content around, like how I was coping and, and it felt like it in sharing the loss. You know, it made other people, it helped other people. And that was helpful. And the other thing too, is I did find working helped like having a purpose and having something to go to like I wasn't sitting around just being sad all day, I actually had to focus and help my clients. And that was very, very helpful. Um, and then the other thing was, you know, it's not like, I ignored my notion. I mean, I've I still cry over dad, sometimes it's been 10 years. It'll be 10 years and August, and I still have a random day about once or twice a year, where I'll just be like, Oh, sucks. Yeah. Yeah. So those things helped. And, you know, journaling, and also, my, my belief system in like, I can feel dad around me a lot. That's very helpful. Because I don't even like obviously, I physically rather have him here. But sometimes it's kind of fun. In, in the conversations I can have in my mind, or just the feelings that I get. And in the signs, like, Dad shows up in different ways for me as well, like your parents do. And and I like no, it's him. And I'm just like, well, that's kind of fun. Yeah, because this didn't happen when you were alive.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

Right? Yeah, I think that's beautiful. And like what you just said about having a, you know, a couple times a year you have those days, like, I think that's completely normal, because with grief, that in the beginning grief consumes you. But then eventually as time goes on, you learn to layer your new version of life around the grief, and you're able to coexist with the grief and eventually you don't think about it 100 hours a day. And you know, you're so you're like, able to function and like I because I had my dad died last February. So it's almost a year and my mom died the February before. So like, now according to research that I've done on myself with dead parents, like it takes me like I feel finally feel normal. Like it took till December to feel normal. So 10 months for me on both years. You know, that's what it took for me to start feel like myself again. And everyone has their own timeline, like some people might need longer, some people need shorter whatever, but I eventually I promise you eventually you will start to be able to function again. And oh, yeah, yeah, like it'll come back. You just like honestly, the people when my mom died, which was so out of nowhere. And like right before my mom died, my father in law died like we lost three parents in a year and like right before that we had a miscarriage. So we lost a baby and then my father in law, they my mom and my dad, and just over a year and when my mom died, which was like pulling the rug out from beneath my feet, I talked to a couple friends of mine who lost a parent. And the common advice which I'm you know, was which I want to share and which you probably know is like the only thing that really helps us time.

Jennifer Trask:

Yes, that's correct.

Blair Kaplan Venables:

You need time, and sometimes you know, for me Unless you might just lie on the couch and stare at Netflix or you order you know of cookie dough Blizzard every day and gained 20 pounds like me like I ordered a cookie dough Blizzard every day for like a year. Like it was just like my coping mechanism because I don't drink. So if they ate ice cream, and yeah, it will eat something. Yeah, we're Jewish, right? So when when my mom died, he was the height of COVID. And so we normally would have Shiva, so people coming and people would send meals. So people were sending meals to me, my mom, sorry, not my mom. Well, my mom was there technically in spirit, but me and my sister. And my uncle, and my aunt and my cousin, six of us people are sending us food for 50 people, but six of us. And I'm I can, I was convinced a Jewish hug is a bagel. And I turned into a bagel. But like, it was my comfort. And you know what I did where I needed to do to survive. And now that I'm feeling okay, I'm getting out of that, like, I'm getting my health back on track. And wow, like, it's so interesting, because we're just new friends. You know, we met at a summer camp. And you know, I didn't even recognize each other because it was so cold that we were bundled up in tubes and sweaters and jackets. Yeah, pretty much. You know, this is such a treat. I really like I really enjoy talking to you. And like thank you for being so open about your journey with losing your dad and losing your dad so fast and what it's been like for you, I think to wrap this up, like why don't you share a piece of advice for someone who may be you can either, you know, along the lines of what happened to you, like learn their dad was learn to parent was sick and they die right away, or they just found out their parents are sick and terminal. What advice do you have?

Jennifer Trask:today, hindsight, of course,:Blair Kaplan Venables:

No, that's, that's totally helpful and really great advice. But also, if you don't want to do something, cancel your plans. You don't have to do anything. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. You don't have to see people you don't you know, like, I don't know, I think like the biggest, the biggest thing you just said is like, you know, really think about the time you had with them. Yeah. And like 30 ones Young. Like, I was 35 when I lost my mom and like, I think any age, it's going to be hard. Like, you know, I have I have like, my, my grandma's still alive. Like my aunt's. My dad's mom is still alive. Like my, my grandma, my Baba, Leah buried her son, right? Every banana, but like, we still have her. But I mean, like, you, these are the paths that people are on. And these are the cards we're dealt. And it's nothing that we did. We did not deserve this. There's nothing we did to make this happen. We are here living this experience. And we need we experienced what comes into our life, and then we move forward. And it's okay, if you move forward very slowly. And you know, we're all on our own timeline in our own path. And I really want to say, Jennifer, I appreciate you sharing such a vulnerable story. And also having a bit of humor with it. Because like, that's kind of how I am like, I mean, there's a lot of humor with like, yeah, I don't even need to go into stories. My sister and I sometimes podcasts on this together, we do agree fee gal segment and like, we have some dark humor, but like, there's, that's the only way we really got through it. Like, some of the stuff that happened was so ridiculous. Like, even like, you know, we were at my dad's unveiling, and we took a photo of with our mom's headstone. We're like, a family photo. Like, what else can you do? Like? That's just our life. Like, we're gonna still visit mom and take a photo. Like,

Jennifer Trask:

I mean, and it's interesting because like, but but your parents like they want you to be happy. And, you know, I do personally believe like, I know Dad's body body died, but I don't believe that He died. And that's why I can feel him and hear him and, and so like, it makes it less sad. Because he's not

Blair Kaplan Venables:

really. He's just like, morphed into, like he's just present in a different way. I think that's so beautiful. Well, thank you so much for joining me on this conversation. Yeah, if you guys want to get to know Jennifer more her bio, and some social links and our website link are in the show notes. Jennifer, you're such a treat. I can't wait to get to know you more without our parkas and touques. And, yeah, that's a whole story for another time. But thank you to everyone who just tuned in for another episode of radical resilience. We are reaching our one year mark. We've been doing this for a full year, January 17 is our anniversary and it's coming up. It's coming up next week. So thank you for everyone for your support. It is okay to not be okay. Life is hard. Let us be the lighthouse in the storm. Let us be you know the light at the end of the tunnel. We are here for you. You are resilient.

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