Grief, Life, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 8 – The Lingering Ambiguity

Disclaimer: This post was written the day after the Good Friday and Easter weekend that I as a Christian celebrate. This year was also the 29th anniversary of her death on Good Friday in the year 1993. I was 28 years old when she died, thus I have been alive longer without her than I was alive when she died. ~Mark W. Schutter

One if the many reviews and feedback I have received for my memoir. I am blessed and also left with this lingering ambiguity regarding my story and it’s impact on others.

Even after writing my memoir, having it edited and published I am still left with many unanswered questions. Many that I believe will never be answered this side of heaven. When someone is dying and the dreaded end is evitable what then?

All the promises and the vows that no longer matter, ’till death do us part.’ The heartfelt pleas and prayers that went unanswered while time simply marches on. The ambiguity that can surround grief often leads to feelings that emerge that are not common. The expression or stifling of those feelings can lead to disappointments, disagreements, conflict, and confusion for all involved.

Death can bring out the best in people and the worst. And in those moments grace for ourselves and others is sometimes hard to find.

I realize now of many things I did without much thought for the impacts on myself and others. I trudged through the days expecting more of myself, more of those around me, more from the world and from God. I have since realized that for many years I never gave myself permission to feel, to grieve my loss. (And that is a story for another chapter later in the book. ๐Ÿ˜‰)

I was just beginning to learn how to embrace my life as it was now, not as I wished it to be, for that was the only way to see a future. #Grief #Healing #LifeAfter #Trauma

Get your copy of Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry here >

And a review on Amazon or Goodreads would be very much appreciated.  Thanks again! 

Read my thoughts on the first seven chapters of my memoir, links below, and watch for Part 2: Embracing the Present and chapters 9-14.

And yet, I still believe that there is always hope and hope is never a small thing!

Grief, Life, memoir

A Small Favor? I need your help, please!

What grief are you still carrying?

Iโ€™m super excited to announce that Iโ€™m going all in on a new business coaching, mentoring, and helping men who are struggling with grief and healing from a traumatic experience and loss. Whether that be from the death of a loved one, relationships ending, financial hardship or job loss, the loss of a pet, and even the loss of a dream. Grief impacts us all.

My memoir Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry was published last year which chronicles my own journey through loss, grief, and healing. I have my first hand experience walking through my own valley of the shadow to a life after and to make sure I have the greatest impact, and help the most men with the right solutions – Iโ€™m asking for your help in doing some market research.

It is time to engage in more conversations around ‘life after…’ and what that might look like to help others move forward who have experienced trauma, loss, and grief. 

Isn’t that all of us? 

My goal is to interview 50 people, – yes, you read that correctly- so that I can get the best and most comprehensive insight as to what is needed in the area of navigating grief and healing for men from trauma.

My ideal interviewee describes themselves as male who has experienced a significant loss regardless of when it happened and struggles with moving forward, healing, and finding purpose in their life after. They ultimately want joy, contentment and purpose for their lives but havenโ€™t been able to get there on their own yet.

The interview would only take between 15-30 minutes, and I promise, this is NOT a trick into asking people to be my clients, this is literally just market research so I make sure my programs and offerings are exactly what is needed.

Men needed, is this you? 

If this is you, would you mind doing an interview with me? To make it super easy, just hit send me an email to, let me know you are in and we’ll schedule a call.

Like I said, my goal is to interview 50 people so any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

And a few women!

I am also hoping to interview a few women who have experienced loss, grief, and trauma regarding their own journey. This would enable me to, showcase the difference in support systems that may be available and to highlight similarities and differences regarding the different expectations and coping between men and women who are grieving. 

Would you be interested?

If this isn’t you, maybe you can still help.

Iโ€™m hoping you might know 1-3 men who fit the description above. And if so, would you be willing to introduce them to me?

If yes for this, then please email me at, CCโ€™ing whoever you have in mind and Iโ€™ll follow up with them with some additional information and how to book a call.

Like I said, my goal is to interview 50 men and a few women, so any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Get your copy of Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry here >

And a review on Amazon or Goodreads would be very much appreciated.  Thanks again! ๐Ÿ‘Š

Grief, Life, memoir, Poetry

Do you believe the BULL$^!+ LIES?

A Throwback Thursday post from 2017.

Re-sharing a poem I wrote back in 2017 that provided some momentum and clarity as I was beginning to seriously contemplate and pursue writing my memoir ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™—๐™ค๐™ฎ๐™จ ๐˜ผ๐™ง๐™š ๐™‰๐™ค๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™ช๐™ฅ๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™จ๐™š๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐˜พ๐™ง๐™ฎ.

I struggled for over twenty years hiding my pain, my sorrow, and my grief over her death. I moved forward as we are told to do thinking it could never be what it once was.

I was wrong!

Through the unconditional love of God, a good woman (my wife), my daughter and others I came to believe that my life after was really up to me. I have learned that happiness is a choice and my grief I carry but it does not hold me back. Learning that real men have emotions, tears, and yes, they sometimes cry. That doesn’t make us weak.

It’s a bull$^!+ lie that men don’t cry. Sometimes there are no tears falling from our eyes yet, our hearts are weeping and no one sees.

If you’d like to read more of my story of loss, grief, and healing you can order your print or e-book copies at the following:

Here’s to healing and a life after trauma. I will be releasing online courses soon as well as opportunities to work with me as coach in both group and one-on-one settings. Sign up for my email list to get the latest updates and God bless! ๐Ÿ‘Š

Are you believing the lies?

It’s a bull$^!+ lie that men don’t cry. Sometimes there are no tears falling from our eyes yet, our hearts are weeping and no one sees. #Grief #Healing #LifeAfter

God, Life, Writing

What Would You Say?


If you had a chance to go back in time and talk to your younger self what would you say?

What sage advice have you gained over the years that you could share?

Would you attempt to smooth the way and make life easier for yourself?

Would you give encouragement despite the hard times that are to come?

What would you tell your younger self is most important in life?

If you could go back in time and talk with your younger self would you? And what would you say? #WickedQuestions

Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all theseย thingsย God will bring thee into judgment. ~Ecclesiastes 11:9

Again, I ask you what would you say?

Grief, Life, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 5 – Death Is Only the Beginning

It was another lifetime in another place when she stood next to me in a world that does not exist anymore.

Chapter 5, Death Is Only the Beginning, Page 51 – Mark W. Schutter

So begins the first sentence of this chapter of my memoir, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry. This chapter is unique in that the first few pages I quote four lines from a poem I wrote entitled The Young Girl That I Long Ago Wed and Who Drove Me Mad, originally published in September 2018, long before my memoir came out in 2020. In the chapter I follow-up each four line stanza of the poem by expanding on my thoughts and meaning of those four lines.

Grief, pain, loss, and trauma often leave you feeling as if you are going mad. Sometimes there is nothing you can do except to endure it for the moment as the succeeding minutes become hours, days, weeks, months, and years. The pain sometimes fades yet the madness continues to dance around the edges of our sanity. The world that was, that we believed and hoped would be, is no longer and never will be. It often doesn’t make sense and I surmise that is where faith comes in.

Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen. ~Hebrews 11:1

Thank God for my faith in a life after the trauma and in an afterlife, that is what often keep me moving forward. I was in a fog for many months after her death as the world just seemed so wrong and yet, I soldiered on as best I could.

How can we be so surprised when someone dies when everybody already knows we are all going to die?

Chapter 5, Death Is Only the Beginning, Page 58 – Mark W. Schutter

And then the world tells you that…

๐‚๐จ๐ฐ๐›๐จ๐ฒ๐ฌ ๐€๐ซ๐ž ๐๐จ๐ญ ๐’๐ฎ๐ฉ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐‚๐ซ๐ฒ

I struggled to weave this event into my life in a way that made sense because I had as her death was only the beginning.

Read my thoughts on the first four chapters of my memoir, links below, and watch for the next one in the series โ€“ Chapter 6, To Love What’s Leaving

You can order your print copies and the e-book today, and one or two or threeโ€ฆ as a gift for some else who is struggling. PAY IT FORWARD!

You can also contact me here on my website using the contact form to purchase signed copies. God bless!

God, Life, Writing

Death has always been a big deal!

Photo taken at Old West Village – Cody, Wyoming

Death has always been a big deal! #Grief #Trauma #LifeAfter

There are hundreds of bible verses about death, promising a blessed hope after this life. We joke, we ignore, and we trivialize death at every turn. If our physical death is inevitable for each of us why do we so often refuse to acknowledge it?

For centuries throughout history, death has always been a big deal… after a person has died. Ornate ceremonies and trappings to celebrate the life of the one who has died. Fancy carriages like the one above, now hearses, that carry the dead body towards a final resting place. Coffins that are spectacular in their craftmanship that only serve to rot in the ground or burn up in the fire.

  • And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. ~Ecclesiastes 12:7
  • For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. ~Romans 14:8
  • And everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? ~John 11:26
  • The last enemy to be destroyed is death. ~1 Corinthians 15:26
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. ~Matthew 5:4

These are only but a few of the many bible verses about death. It is coming for all of us. Do you believe in the one who conquered death?

The only one who died and rose again was and is Jesus Christ.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16

Have you placed your trust and faith in him? Death is coming for us all, what then?

Jesus said to him, โ€œI am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~John 14:6

Life, Writing

What Do You Do with That?

Replace the word ‘anger’ with any of the following:

  • Shame
  • Regret
  • Guilt
  • Sadness
  • Grief
  • etc.

Isn’t the question still the same, what do you do with that? These are all negative emotions or experiences, what about the so-called positive experiences or emotions?

  • Joyful
  • Excitement
  • Contentment
  • Humbled
  • Love
  • etc.

Again, when the moment of realization comes what do you do with that? Do you use these emotions or experiences for others good?

There is that pivotal moment when you realize the amount of anger you are carrying. And then the question becomes what do you do with that? #WickedQuestions

Can you answer the question for yourself?