Life, memoir, Stories

Revisiting Chapter 9 – Wearing Masks- “Who Are We Really?”

What hides behind the smiles and the vacant eyes? Aren’t we tired of wearing masks? — Mark Wayne, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry #Memoir #Grief #Healing #LifeAfter #Tramua https://amzn.to/3kdR49E

Chapter 9, Wearing Masks – “Who Are We Really?” is the beginning chapter of Part 2: Embracing the Present of my memoir Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry.

This chapter bounces from the recent present, to the fall of 2004 when my only child was born, and back to the summer of 1993 in the months following Luka’s death. The questions I pose throughout this chapter still remain to this day, although many have lost much of their roar and ferocity simply by the act of naming them and casting them out into the world through my memoir. And there is this…

Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. ~C.S. Lewis #Quote #WickedQuestions #UnanswerableQuestions

Life is filled with unanswered and unanswerable questions and life seems so random at times. But what if there was a purpose of something larger than ourselves. how would we then live? The questions that haunt our waking hours would slowly melt away and others might rise to take there place.

  • God, what are you up to in all of this?
  • What is my true role in all of this?
  • What is my impact on others?
  • How can I … (fill in the blank)

Just a few questions that I have pondered as I walk this path set before me. As opposed to the why me questions, that still pop up from time to time. Pulling on my boots and moving forward because sometimes when you can you should.

I plodded through my days, often feigning a reluctant acceptance because, you know, cowboys don’t cry; they just ride away.

CHAPTER 9, WEARING MASKS – “WHO ARE WE REALLY?” – PAGE 85, MARK W. SCHUTTER

Read my thoughts on Part 1 – Reconciling the Past and the first eight chapters of my memoir, links below.

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. 😉)

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, 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 𝘾𝙤𝙬𝙗𝙤𝙮𝙨 𝘼𝙧𝙚 𝙉𝙤𝙩 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝘾𝙧𝙮.

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! 👊

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

Grief, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 7 – I Am the One Dying

To begin this chapter I share a dream I had some years previous that had I never shared with anyone before it found its way into my memoir, 𝐂𝐨𝐰𝐛𝐨𝐲𝐬 𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐫𝐲. I am still quite honestly surprised that I shared the dream unedited. 😉

“I do not understand?” he questioned her, fighting to quell his surprise and rage that was growing.

“No, you do not,” she stated simply, still not looking at him as they continued to walk.

The words hung in the air as she paused before taking a breath. He watched her as she continued to look straight ahead, staring off into the distance as she calmly added in a tone of finality,

“I am the one dying.”

CHAPTER 7, I AM THE ONE DYING, PAGE 71 – MARK W. SCHUTTER

Thus ended the dream from which I awoke my heart pounding. There is much more detail to the dream that is revealed in my memoir. If you haven’t purchased my book, go buy a print or e-book copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iTunes (shameless self-promotion! 😉).

Have you ever had a dream from which you wonder at it’s meaning, even as you know there is truth spoken in the dream? Luka’s comment in the dream that she was the one dying definitely spoke a truth that I was unwilling to acknowledge while she was alive. I often found myself denying the truth and unwilling to face the reality of her illness.

Yet, I hope I am wiser now and realizing that we are all traveling different roads. Our roads will parallel and cross over others at times but ultimately we each must journey alone into the alone.

The words hung in the air as she paused before taking a breath. He watched her as she continued to look straight ahead, staring off into the distance as she calmly added in a tone of finality, “𝙄 𝙖𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙙𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜.”

CHAPTER 7, I AM THE ONE DYING, PAGE 71 – MARK W. SCHUTTER, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

Why is it such surprising news when we know that each one of us will face dying, both our own and that of ones we love.

God, Life, Writing

What Would You Say?

“A YOUNG AND OLD VERSION”

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 these things God will bring thee into judgment. ~Ecclesiastes 11:9

Again, I ask you what would you say?

God, Grief, memoir

Revisiting Chapter 6 – To Love What’s Leaving

We are all dying day by day, but following the diagnosis, I instinctively knew death would find her, statistically, probably before me, and it happened much sooner than I had ever imagined.

CHAPTER 6, TO LOVE WHAT’S LEAVING, PAGE 61 – MARK W. SCHUTTER

Rereading this chapter now I struggle to come up with any coherent meaning to it. We were both denying the reality of her illness I guess, or at the very least the seriousness. However, we were also continuing to live in the face of it. An odd juxtaposition to me even now. It is hard loving someone who is dying, but as Stephen Jenkinson says in his book Die Wise, loving someone is not inevitable, loving someone who will die is.

We go through our days sometimes blissfully unaware that we are all dying a little our days on this earth numbered. And that is okay, even when the reality that time is limited smacks you in the face. You go on and in the daily rhythms of a ‘normal’ life you find some peace and satisfaction regardless of what others might tell you. You must find your own path, ask Jesus to reveal it to you and ask him to walk with you. He will and that is what matters.

To Love What’s Leaving – What is Your Experience?

I did not understand the grief. My heart was broken and yet, I never wanted it to mend. – Chapter 6, To Love What’s Leaving, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry #Memoir #WritersLife #Grief

Read my thoughts on the first five chapters of my memoir, links below, and watch for the next one in the series – Chapter 7, I Am the One Dying

You can order your print copies and the e-book today, and one or two or three… 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! 👊
Grief, memoir, Writing

What Grief Are You Still Carrying?

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. ~Matthew 5:4

Hello friends!

Been absent for awhile just allowing the mud to settle if you will so I can see a little bit more clearly. Spending time with God in prayer and just being silent.

Lots of grief coming up lately that has been heavy on my heart. Both from the past and the current situation.

I am realizing more and more that after almost 29 years I am still carrying my grief. And really that’s ok. My grief and longing over what was lost and might have been can, and does, exist right alongside my joy and peace.

I mourn and I am comforted. I grieve and I am blessed.

What are your thoughts? 🤔

What grief are you still carrying? Tell my I am listening. #WickedQuestions

And if you stayed with me and read this far thank you. If you would leave me a comment or even just a 👊, 👍, ❤ or whatever so I know I am not alone.

Thanks again and I pray each of you is blessed. 🙏

PS – You can still get a copy of my memoir, 𝘾𝙤𝙬𝙗𝙤𝙮𝙨 𝘼𝙧𝙚 𝙉𝙤𝙩 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝘾𝙧𝙮, either print or e-book at the following:

Thanks for the support and a review on Amazon or Goodreads is always appreciated! 👊