Writing, Life, memoir

Do You Listen to Podcasts?

Last week I was interviewed by Meghan Judge for her podcast Judging Meghan and the episode aired today, January 25, 2022. We talked about:

  • My story of grief and loss, the backstory
  • My impetus to share my story and my book – Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry
  • How and why men have a hard time talking about mental health
  • The after life and healing in this life to find a life after

You can listen on any of these platforms, as well as many others:

Take a listen and leave me a comment. I would love to hear what you think. Thanks!

memoir, Writing

What Keeps You Up At Night?

My latest email newsletter had dropped and below is a preview!

Happy 2022 and I need your help!

The free pdf I am offering below is a precursor to other resources I am
currently creating including different online courses related to grief and
healing. So my questions to you are:

  1. What thoughts related to grief, pain, loss and healing keep you up at
    night?
  2. What is the hardest thing you have had to navigate as it relates to your
    experience with grief, pain, loss, and healing?
  3. What do you really want as it relates to your own grief, pain, loss, and
    healing?
    Just hit reply to this email and let me know. Your responses will remain
    anonymous but will also inform the creation of resources that will help others.

Thanks!

Read the rest of the newsletter here and sign up to get the newsletter delivered directly to your email box and instant access to a free pdf.

Thanks and have a great day!

Grief, Life, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 3 – Walking Away

Sometimes you have to walk away…

Chapter 3 began taking shape in my mind following a conversation with my therapist. As usual we were discussing Luka’s death and the impacts on me, when I mentioned that in the moments after she died. I spoke about remembering standing by her bedside where she lay. Thinking to myself, there was nothing else I could do. I had to and needed to walk away. Yet, I stayed for several moments by her bedside.

I knew I needed to walk away. To turn from this lifeless body that lay in front of me that had held my whole world. There was nothing left for me to do for her.

I recall my therapist staring at me in silence for several seconds before he spoke softly. “It’s interesting in all my experience you are the first person to talk about that. I mean we talk about the death and then we jump to the funeral proceedings and all the logistical things around death. No one has ever mentioned before, those moments immediately following someone dying and what those left behind have to do.”

I swallowed hard and responded, “Yeah, her death was peaceful and calm but then what? I stood there, knowing she was dead and then realizing that was it. I had to turn away from everything I knew and walk away, leaving her there alone. That was hard.”

I don’t recall if I thought about all those things that would never be again or just the among of willpower it took to move my feet and leave her behind. Our time together in the physical world was done.

“Time together was the only thing, just being with her, sitting talking, watching movies, and holding her hand, so many things that I now believe may have helped her breathe a little easier in those moments.”

CHAPTER 3, WALKING AWAY, PAGE 40 – MARK W. SCHUTTER

There would be no more talks, no more movies, no more time together. Only the memories of what once was. I still carry those memories, nothing can take them away, although the edges of my memory may have frayed and faded a bit. That is just time eroding what once was. I was heading towards my 29th birthday…

“I was lost at sea with on wind in my sails. I had the freedom to do, to be, to go anywhere I wanted, and I did not want that freedom. I was free to walk away. How do you reconcile that?”

CHAPTER 3. WALKING AWAY, PAGE 42 – MARK W. SCHUTTER

Here are links to my thoughts and revisits of Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

Order your copy today, and one or two or threeโ€ฆ as a gift for some else who is struggling, 

You can also contact me here on my website to purchase signed copies.

PAY IT FORWARD!

Grief, Life, memoir

When You Ask A Man How He Is.

“I’m alright.”

A man says “I’m alright” when asked how he is because nobody cares?

I tend to disagree with the last line in the audio of the video that a man simply responds “I’m alright” because no one f&%king cares. I think others, men and women, do care.

The problem is we don’t always know how to care or show that we care. We don’t know what to do or say, especially men. We get uncomfortable with the feelings and vulnerability that this question invokes. Life is a struggle at times and no one is immune. Why can’t we acknowledge the struggle and the pain that we may be feeling?

Are you uncomfortable sharing your true feelings and if so why?

I think we have been programmed, again especially as men, to ignore our feelings of sadness, pain, regret and grief. And women are programmed to expect men to respond this way. Remember boys, and men, are supposed to be tough and strong. But why do we stereotype a man who is hurting and feeling as not being strong and tough?

What strength does it take to confront our pain and heal from it?

I talk a lot about expectations, real and perceived, that I accepted from society, family, friends when I was grieving. The impacts it has had on me and the struggles in my book – 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.

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.

When you ask a man how he is and he says “I’m alright.” #CowboysAreNotSupposedtoCry #MentalHealth #Men #Healing #LifeAfter #Trauma #Pain #Loss #Grief

What emotions and feelings are you hiding from others?

Grief, memoir, Stories

Revisiting Chapter 2 – A Far Better Place

Alone into the Alone

A far better placeโ€”the phrase echoes through my mind, and my faith tells me to believe in this. As a Christian don’t the words of our God tell us there is a far better place?


Yet I ask, what does that mean, and how do we know? We don’t know I often want to scream back. Instead, I and nod in a feinted attempt at agreement, holding onto hope, that there is a far better place.

An interesting chapter and maybe the most philosophical of the entire book, as I ask the questions that many have asked before me. The theological questions of life after death, what happens to us, is there a heaven and if so isn’t there a hell? Even atheists and agnostics with no faith in a god or a higher power have asked the question, wondering what is there after we die?

The last paragraph of chapter 1 of my memoir Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry speaks of Luka’s belief in a far better place. (You can read my thoughts and revisit of chapter 1 here.)

Luka was the one facing her own mortality, not me. She was the one who must venture alone into the alone, not me. I wonder even now what thoughts ran through her mind that she did not share with me. Or worse still those thoughts she did share and I have long forgotten. Her words tossed aside as if they were of no more importance than a scrap of garbage. What are you supposed to do with that?

Believe… in life after otherwise what’s the point?

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes
Life, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 1 – Out of the Sun

Please note: This is the beginning of a series of posts where I will work my way through each chapter of my memoir, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry, reflecting on what I wrote and other thoughts now that the book is published.

As I reread chapter 1 of my memoir the first thing that hits me is how naรฏve I was, but I guess we all were at one time or another. My youthfulness shows through my words and actions during that time of my life. The first meeting with Luka and our growing relationship. It took me almost thirty years to realize the doors she opened and lead me through into worlds I had never explored. There were many simple things you don’t realize how much they meant until much, much later.

“We lived in those moments that held special meaning to us but seemed so ordinary in their significance.”

Chapter 1, Out of the Sun, page 24 – Mark W. Schutter

It’s those moments that seem insignificant that have the propensity to change our lives in hindsight. Those chance encounters with a stranger that lead to a deep and lasting relationship. Some that accompany us throughout the rest of our lives and others only stay for a while. Yet, the memories and the truths of each conversation stay with us and become touchstones that are the bedrock on which we stand.

I recall the music of the time when we first met and the music she introduced me to. Music I had never considered nor paid attention to before. It was a kaleidoscope of sounds and emotions that permeated and became the backdrop of our lives for those few short years. The music was so often prophetic as the lyrics seemed to hint at things to come. Some happy and some sad but either way they were harbingers of what may be.

“There was so much to live for, so much to look forward to, while a haunting voice whispered there will come a time when I will never see her again.”

Chapter 1, Out of the Sun, page 25 – Mark W. Schutter

There were decisions made that were set on my securing my future as I slowly slipped into adulthood. Yet those decisions of college and pursing a vocational calling pale in comparison to the seemingly random everyday occurrences that I now believe were anything but random. Those moments and incidents that became part of the tapestry when our lives came together in a grand design until the edges began to fray, the material becoming thinner and eventually the fabric was torn in two.

The first glance when our eyes met, casual conversations, dinners under the fading evening light, hawks soaring high overhead, and sharing hopes and dreams of a future. I titled the first chapter of my memoir “Out of the Sun” as an ode to the following lyrics in the Al Stewart song ‘Year of the Cat.’

She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolor in the rain
Don’t bother asking for explanations

She came into my life in late summer wearing sun dresses and sandals. And like a watercolor painting opened my eyes to a multitude of hues and colors in life that often dance just outside our vision. Watercolor paint has a special ability to morph from one to another overlapping in soft and hard edges. Then the colors run as the water carries them intermingling with each other until the distinctness is lost. It continues to fade until the image is completely gone. This is an analogy of our lives together, the brilliant distinctiveness, intermingling, and then the fading until she was gone.

There are many more lines from this song that also resonate with me but that is for another post at another time when I may break down the entire song. For now just remember that no matter what you do, time passes, and you have the choice to live forward despite those trials and pains that inflict us all.

“She believed… there was a far better place, a place that existed out past the sun, where it rained colors and memoires never faded, where the last became first and the pain became joy and you traveled via the slipstream, a place where we can let go of the pain, the loss, and the death of this world.”

Chapter 1, Out of the Sun, page 27 – Mark W. Schutter

So don’t bother asking for explanations cause she just might tell you that she came in the year of the cat. ๐Ÿ˜‰ God bless! This is your ‘life after…’ don’t miss it!

———————————————————————————————-

My memoir is available in print and e-book. Order your copy today, and one or two or threeโ€ฆ as a gift for some else in time for the holidays. PAY IT FORWARD!  

You can also reach out to me here on my website to purchase signed copies.

Grief, Life, memoir, Stories, Writing

Pay it Forward – Will You Purpose to Commit Intentional Acts of Kindness?

Signed copies of my memoir being packaged for delivery!

There is still time to order your own copy and one or two or three… as a gift for some else in time for the holidays. PAY IT FORWARD! ๐Ÿ‘Š Available in print and e-book.

You can also reach out to me here on my website to purchase signed copies. Here’s some comments I have received from readers –

  • Your story touched my heart in more ways than I can even explain. Even though it triggered a lot of sadness and emotions it also gave me hope.
  • Just finished the first chapter of your book and I must tell you how beautiful your words are. You have such an amazing gift. Thank you for sharingโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ
  • I will have to say I have never read a book like yours before. I read a lot! I do want to tell you that this book is absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing your feelings.

There is always hope of ‘life after…” and hope is never a small thing. #CowboysAreNotsupposedtoCry #Memoir #Grief #Healing #Trauma #LifeAfter https://www.amzn.com/1639031022 

Grief, Life, memoir, Writing

Are You Shopping On – Cyber Monday 2021?

Get a jump on Cyber Monday and here’s an idea, my memoir! >

AmazonBarnes and Noble iTunes

A great little gift for yourself or someone you love. A story of love, loss, and carrying grief midst the expectations of men who are struggling to heal from trauma. A story for men who have suffered pain and the women who love them.

Reviews:

“Like John Maxwell, OG Mandino, Simon Sinek, Brene Brown etc. and your book is absolutely right up there with those authors. The questions, they style, the literary techniques and your heart and soul you poured into it – I truly didn’t want to put it down and looked forward to reading more.” ~Caleb K.

“This will help so many people out there who are struggling with grief and it’s inevitable storm cloud of trauma. This book reveals that some things stay with you forever, eternally scarred, and that’s okay. Sometimes you need to cry, and be able to express the rawness of grief, and that’s okay.” ~Charis S.

“Such a beautiful, inspiring narrative of love, grief, strength and vulnerability . I highly recommend this book. A must read for those who have lost a loved one or who just need to be reminded that there is great love and hope in this world.” ~Nicole M.

“This is a great book for anyone who is experiencing grief. Markโ€™s story is one of love, sadness and pain but also of hope and is inspiring to someone currently experiencing similar pain and stuck in grief of the death of someone we loved so dearly.” ~Kristi W.

“It isn’t a self help book, telling you how to feel, what to think and how to act. It isn’t going to tell you how to fix yourself or how to move on with life.ย This is a beautiful memoir of just that, gut wrenching reality and the beauty behind true grief. Mark shares his story, without hiding the truth, the ugly side of grief.” ~Carri S.

“This book goes where few are willing. The author shares deeply painful and personal experiences and memories. It celebrates the power of unconditional love and brings to light the brutality of death. It is a must read for all who have loved and lost as well as a beautiful reminder that there is always hope.” ~Teresa S.

“This book is so wonderfully written. When you read this book you can almost feel the emotions of the author. I hope anyone who has lost a love one will consider reading this book .” ~Bobbie L.

Order your copy now and one as a gift for someone who is hurting!

Life, memoir

I’ve Got 2 Days to Find This, Help!

Yes, it’s the week of Thanksgiving in the US. As we scramble for things needed for Thursday’s meal I have been unable to locate this at any of the stores. It is highly needed to make our turkey dinner the best it can be. ๐Ÿฆƒ It’s ‘flavor fresh!’

Anyone know where I can purchase this item? ๐Ÿค”Thanks in advance!

And don’t forget 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 is available on Amazon as well as other online retailers!

If you are hurting or know some one who is this would make a great present I reckon. Just saying!๐Ÿ‘Š

There is ‘life after…’

Life, memoir, Writing

Are you receiving my NEWSLETTER?

I have sent out my most recent newsletter just today and it can be viewed here.

It is a great way to keep up to date and be one of the first to hear about exciting events and happenings. My memoir is now available in both print and e-book formats.

Purchase your copy here:

Amazon > https://www.amzn.com/1639031022

Barnes and Noble > https://www.bn.com/s/9781639031023

I have some exciting changes coming up and new opportunities that I will be sharing. So, let’s start the conversation about

“Life after…”