Thank you all for the support and encouragement. The manuscript has been moved forward to the formatting stage, first for the hard copy and then the digital copy. The above and image is another one line, no explanation, and no context from my upcoming memoir > Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry.
Exciting news! A couple months ago I was interviewed by Ronit Plank about my book “Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry” and grief as a young man! I share my walk through cancer with my first wife, her death, the aftermath of grief and my healing.
The interview aired recently on January 12 and is still available. Click the link below to listen to my story and know that you are not alone in whatever kind of grief you may be experiencing.
Exciting news! A couple months ago I was interviewed by Ronit Plank about my book “Cowboys Aren’t Supposed to Cry” and living through grief as a young man, and today is the air date!
I share my walk through cancer with my first wife, her death and aftermath of grief and the writing of my memoir > Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry. Listen to my story at And Then Everything Changed or any streaming platform. Know that you are not alone in whatever kind of grief you may have or be experiencing.
I pray God’s blessings over each of you. Be a warrior poet and
As we face tightening restrictions due to COVID-19 all over the world, the US and the state in which I live, the lyric above got me to thinking about how much we really have no control over. We spend so much time and energy trying to control things in our lives. We schedule and plan out our tightly controlled days and when it does not go according to plan, what then?
So much is happening outside of our control:
There are waves crashing on beaches that no sees.
There are flowers blooming on high mountain tops of snow.
There are packs of wolves running across ridge lines in forests unseen.
There are trees bending from the force of the winds and weather.
There is birth, life and death happening all around us.
What is happening around you for which you have no control? #WickedQuestions
For the sake of our own sanity and mental health, we must learn to detach from that over which we have no control. To trust in a good outcome, to hope in a better tomorrow, and a better future for those who come behind us.
It has been a rough last few weeks. Truth be told it’s been a rough past few months and even the whole year of 2020. I am not even talking about COVID-19, stay at home orders, social distancing, fears of infection from the virus, racial and civil unrest or even the current chaos of our political system.
Simply said my family has watched a beloved member’s health slowly decline. So much so that in the end it is hard to see who they once were. Illness and disease can do that to you.
Yet we can still hold hope, for ourselves and others, of better days ahead. As Job’s faith stayed fast even during his trials, I pray that we can all do the same.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6
The blue sky is beginning to darken as night approaches and I watch you lying there. Your head on its side resting on the ground. You stare straight ahead past your nose, eyes wide open.
We both stay in the silence of the moment, only a faint rustle of leaves in the trees. Slowly I watch you lift your head and look around before you stop and stare off into the distance. Your dark nose crinkles as you sniff the evening air.
“What do you see?” I want to ask, I open my mouth to speak and the words catch in my throat. I swallow hard, my heart beating loudly within my chest.
I close my mouth and sit silently conjuring images of the unknown that may be floating through your mind. I sit helpless to ease your pain, wanting to comfort you as each second ticks by.
If you could only speak. To tell me what you see, what you are thinking of. For I would do whatever it is you ask or need. The world around me swirls, a strong breeze rustles the leaves, and a voice in my head from long ago breaks my reverie transporting me back.
“Please shove the pillow down lower, closer to my hip here…”
Your shrill voice rings loud in the silence of the late evening. I quickly jerk my hands away coming off the pillow as I back pedal a few steps watching your pained expression.
“I am sorry.” I speak slowly in a trembling voice as I slowly move back closer to the chair. Your head is tilted back resting hard against the back of the chair, your breath deep and labored.
“I know, … it’s okay. It just hurts so bad, ya know. I just can’t ever seem to get comfortable where it doesn’t hurt.”
My mind whirls as I stand swaying on unsteady legs unsure what to do next, not wanting to cause you more pain. I stand staring not knowing what to say waiting until you speak.
“Okay, let’s try this. Put that little pillow down behind my lower back. I will hold this one here at my side and we’ll see if that works.”
Okay I say, tentatively moving forward treating you as a fragile porcelain doll instead of the courageous strong woman that you are despite the circumstances. Inside my helplessness screams at the absurdity of it all.
Several minutes later after many machinations and adjustments you are finally somewhat comfortable for now. Breathing a heavy sigh you sink deeper into the chair closing your eyes.
“Okay that will work, thank you love.”
I fall onto the couch next to your chair my own exhaustion overtaking me. Our eyes meet for a brief second as you open your eyes and you faintly smile. Then you turn away from my gaze to look out the window at the darkening sky. I watch as you sit motionless, your pale arms resting on the arms of the recliner.
Your short dark brown hair barely touches your shoulders now as it hangs framing your face. I can still picture your long locks that used to cascade down your back and over your shoulders. I see your eyes gloss over, focused on something that only you can see. I wonder are you seeing beyond the veil that separates the worlds.
“What do you see my love?” my mind asks as I swallow my words.
My head clears, I come back to the present. You are now on your side, head once again laying on the grass, eyes open staring. The dark brown fur of your coat in sharp contrast to the green grass of late summertime.
You seem at peace with whatever may come and I envy you. My mind again asks “What do you see girl? Do you see the end?” I wonder.
A chorus of memories run through my mind of the years together. The joy, the laughter, the adventures we all shared. You completed our family and made it whole. We watched you and her grow alongside one another becoming best friends. You have always been a loyal companion that shepherded her well into her teenage years.
I know your body is now weak and frail. Age or disease catches up with us all and I hope you know I will continue to try whatever that may mean. I truly will, my mind screams into the silence of the ever darkening sky overhead. To spare you and others from what inevitability will come. My helplessness looms large, again a mountain in front of me that I am once again forced to climb.
Your eyes now closed, I watch you breathing slowly, your chest rising and falling as you sleep. There is life left and I will do whatever I can to ease your days. Although I know that option is sometimes not offered. And so we live with the unanswered question of ‘What do you see?’
Sharing a little free write essay that compares the feelings I have watching our older dog as she battles lymphoma and the triggers of memories it evokes from long ago. You will be able to read more about those memories in my upcoming memoir to be published in early 2021. You can read about it here and be sure to sign up for email notifications to get the latest updates.
“Hello” it was that simple little word that started it all in the fall of 1984. I remember the girl with long brown hair, tanned skin wearing a summer dress and espadrille sandals approaching the art table where I sat as the lyrics to the Al Stewart song The Year of the Cat rang through my mind.
She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running Like a watercolor in the rain Don’t bother asking for explanations She’ll just tell you that she came In the year of the cat
She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running – Like a watercolor in the rainhttps://youtu.be/tqW4xIr7nj0 Al Stewart “The Year of the Cat”
My voice trembled and I heard myself say with great effort, “I only want her to not be in pain.”
“That is all I am focused on.” He stated his voice low and measured. He gazed at me with a look of both sadness and resignation before turning and walking away.
Memory flooded back as I stood in the hospital corridor, the lyrics to “Peaceful Easy Feeling” by the Eagles chorusing through my mind.
I like the way your sparkling earrings lay Against your skin so brown And I want to sleep with you in the desert night With a billion stars all around…
I get this feelin’ I may know you As a lover and a friend This voice keeps whisperin’ in my other ear Tells me I may never see you again
I like the way your sparkling earrings lay – Against your skin so brown – And I want to sleep with you in the desert night – With a billion stars all around… https://youtu.be/NjofshOBV5s Eagles “Peaceful Easy Feeling”
This post is excerpted from my upcoming memoir, tentatively titled – There is Always Hope.
My first wife died of breast cancer at the age of 26 after battling over the last three years of our short five year marriage and yes, cancer sucks.
Over twenty-five years have come and gone and still there is not a day that something does not remind me of her. The twinges of memory flit across my mind as a butterfly haunts a flower.
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