God, Grief, Life, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 21 – You Never Told Me about This

We are just about to the end of my memoir, my exercise in revisiting each chapter and sharing my thoughts a year after publication. I begin this chapter reciting a dream I had. Luka is not in this one but upon awakening I felt that there was a connection to her in this dream although the details did not match our life together. It seemed more of a fear of the future sort of dream and what could happen as time marches on.

I will let you figure that out.

I have my memories…

The few pictures I have are of a young woman, and those are the images in my mind. I know she would like very different today if she had stayed. I am glad the images and the memories remain. However, therein lays the fallacy of our memories.

Chapter 21, page 180, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

The memories have morphed over time, some are fainter now others still glow in brilliant intense colors. All stored safely, at least I think so, in my still able mind.

What about things said and unsaid, words spoken and those that were not?

I often, and still to this day, keep my mouth shut when I should speak up. Especially when it is to offer a word of encouragement or support. How easily in my defense I default to this.

So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.

~Job 2:13, NASB

Which only serves to commute my sin momentarily. But as someone who has been through the valley of the shadow of death, holding the hand, and watching as your young spouse dies, I can truly say there are no words that suffice.

Grief and grieving well, while often improbable is possible, is tremendously hard. I pushed my own grief aside, buried it, ran from it, and tried to ignore it for many, many years.

With love comes loss. With joy comes sorrow. With life comes death.

It is as it must be. it is being broken while they are still here. Sad that they are leaving and telling them that you do not want them to leave. It is sitting in silence of unhappiness with them about what life has thrown at you. We proceed forward with heart and hope despite our troubles and lack of understanding. I am still learning this.

I was innocent when death and grief came knocking. There is so much to learn, and no one had ever told me about this.

Chapter 21, page 185, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

> If you are struggling with moving forward following the death of a loved on and searching for your best “Life After,” please leave a comment or email me at info@markschutter.com.

I’ll follow up with some additional information and how to book a free call to chat and see if I can help. Thanks!

I am Mark W. Schutter, “Life After” Coach and Author of the memoir, 𝐂𝐨𝐰𝐛𝐨𝐲𝐬 𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐫𝐲, and we all need someone to ride alongside of us at times.

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 previous chapters of my memoir, links below.

Part 1 – Reconciling the Past

Part 2 – Embracing the Present

Part 3 – Redeeming the Future

Now, saddle up! The adventure that is your “Life After” awaits!

Grief, Life, memoir, Writing

Never Apologize for Being Human

𝐋𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝…

They may tell you that…

𝘾𝙤𝙬𝙗𝙤𝙮𝙨 𝘼𝙧𝙚 𝙉𝙤𝙩 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝘾𝙧𝙮,

but that’s another bullshit lie.

Grief can hit you seemingly out of nowhere. Even almost 30 years later. And then grief over current events comes to the surface too. It can be overwhelming.

> I get it.

I have walked through my own valley of the shadow of death and the journey never truly ends. You carry the memories, the joys and the sorrows. They both occupy space in your heart.

And there are brighter days ahead and a beautiful 𝙇𝙞𝙛𝙚 𝘼𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙧. Do you believe that?

𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐢𝐳𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐛𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐧.

I’d be honored to come alongside and sit in silence with you. (Job 2:13)

I am being a little bit shameless and giving myself some grace here to be human also.

It’s not easy and we were never promised it would be. Yeshua did not come to make us happy, he came to give us a more abundant life. (John 10:10)

I offer support to those struggling with the death of a spouse. My first wife died from cancer almost 30 years ago when she was 26 and I was 28 years old.

> I have walked through my own valley of the shadow of death to a beautiful 𝙇𝙞𝙛𝙚 𝘼𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙧 and there are still hard days.

I’d be honored to walk alongside you also and simply sit in silence holding space and acknowledging your pain. (Job 2:13)

No bullshit here, it’s not easy but you can,

➡️ Reconcile your past
➡️ Embrace your present
➡️ Redeem your future

Ask me how I know. 👊

🙁 Helping others find their best 𝙇𝙞𝙛𝙚 𝘼𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙧
📔 Author of – 𝘾𝙤𝙬𝙗𝙤𝙮𝙨 𝘼𝙧𝙚 𝙉𝙤𝙩 𝙎𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝘾𝙧𝙮
➡️ DM to book a call to chat
➡️ ZOOM groups starting soon

I host zoom groups to hold space, connect, support, and sit in silence with those who are grieving. You are invited to join us!

Comment on the post or send me a message via my contact page for more information and how to join the upcoming sessions.

You 𝙇𝙞𝙛𝙚 𝘼𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙧 is waiting for you.

God, Grief, Life, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 20 – Trust and Granting Permission

The struggle is…

Knowing that the human heart was built to break, and when it does, as it will, the feeling is a way of remembering the deep things of life that need remembering.

Chapter 20, page 171, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

That is my grief. And if I may hazard a guess it could very well summarize yours also.

Within it is the trust and permission that we so long for both from God, from others and mostly from ourselves. To be able to move into our life after.

For me this is where my faith comes in. My faith in my savior Yeshua (Jesus) and an after life where there will be no more crying, tears, and pain. Yet, often the resulting grief from the death of my young wife has thrown a silence over my faith.

The struggle is real…

Do I blame God? Am I angry with God? Her death irrevocably altered my life. I say I still believe and I go through the motions on the outside, showing an image to the world, but inside… do I believe?

Chapter 20, page 172, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

My journey is one of faith, sometimes real and heavy and other times faint and seemingly non-existent. All the while God, even after the publication of my memoir continues to whisper,

“Trust me.”

That is mostly all I hear when I voice the questions that still haunt me both in the days and the nights. He is asking me to trust him, yes, but also to trust myself. More so to give myself permission to grieve, to feel it all. The sadness, the anger, the pain, and now the joy that can be found in my life after. Letting ourselves feel it all and not riding off from it.

The struggle is…

When God seems silent and distant, we should desire to remain there, captured by him.

Chapter 20, page 176, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

Now, the choice is yours. What will you choose?

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! 

> If you are struggling with moving forward following the death of a loved on and searching for your best “Life After”, reach out.

Leave a comment or email me at info@markschutter.com. I’ll follow up with some additional information and how to book a free call to chat and see if I can help. Thanks!

I am Mark W. Schutter, “Life After” Coach and Author of the memoir, 𝐂𝐨𝐰𝐛𝐨𝐲𝐬 𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐫𝐲, and we all need a little support sometimes.

Read my thoughts on previous chapters of my memoir, links below.

Part 1 – Reconciling the Past

Part 2 – Embracing the Present

Part 3 – Redeeming the Future

Now, saddle up! The adventure that is your “Life After” awaits!

God, Grief, Life, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 19 – Wrecked on Schedule

Death matters, and you never ever get over it.

The sentence that starts this chapter dealing with the reality of death that we all must face. Our own and especially the death of those we love. We don’t know when it may occur but the clock keeps ticking off the seconds until that inevitable moment.

There is death. And whatever is matters. And whatever has consequences, and it and they are irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say birth does not matter.

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Impending death and the aftermath of death changes us. It is an ending to a chapter.

Not the end of our story.

For our story continues albeit with a dramatic ‘plot twist!’ that changes everything and an open road now lies before us

There are many rituals, both cultural and personal, that we carry into the future with us. In many cases, in my opinion, we sterilize death especially in America. I talk at some length about this in this chapter and my disdain for it.

We often fail to grieve… in any true sense of the word. Instead, we often believe the best thing you can do with death is to ride off from it.

Hell, I still struggle with it to this day almost 30 years after her death. So, another question – where and what does that say about me?

And then there is the subject of the after life. Of angels, demons and supposed communications with the dead. I have had only dreams, very few, of Luka and never a visitation from a ghost or spirit. Hers or any other.

I have spoke at length about this topic in two live video interviews I did which are still available –

Death, a simple word really, only one syllable but containing worlds filled with promises, rewards, fear, mystery, beginnings, and endings. It is a reality and one that we all must face.

Death, a simple word really, only one syllable but containing worlds filled with promises, rewards, fear, mystery, beginnings, and endings. It is a reality and one that we all must face.

-Chapter 19, page 169, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

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! 

> If you are struggling with moving forward following the death of a loved on and searching for your best “Life After”, reach out.

Leave a comment or email me at info@markschutter.com. I’ll follow up with some additional information and how to book a free call to chat and see if I can help. Thanks!

I am Mark W. Schutter, “Life After” Coach and Author of the memoir, 𝐂𝐨𝐰𝐛𝐨𝐲𝐬 𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐫𝐲, and we all need a little support sometimes.

Read my thoughts on previous chapters of my memoir, links below.

Part 1 – Reconciling the Past

Part 2 – Embracing the Present

Part 3 – Redeeming the Future

Now, saddle up! The adventure that is your “Life After” awaits! 

God, Grief, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 18 – Death Feeds Life, Children

She never got the opportunity to have her own children. Life or fate, whatever you call it, prevented that from ever happening. Her battles with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the ensuing treatments as a younger child most likely rendered her sterile.

In that moment, my mind followed my heart, and my decision was made. I wanted her to be my wife someday, knowing that children for us would probably never come.

Chapter 18, page 157, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

As long as I knew here though she poured her heart and soul into other peoples children. Working at a daycare and a children’s museum she showed those children love and acceptance and pointed them to a faith in Yeshua.

God often redeems and restores what was lost. I remarried and ten years later my wonderful wife and I had our first and only child, a daughter who is becoming a very strong young lady. The guilt ran through me then, it does not now.

I believe now this is how it was supposed to be. I am her and her mother’s provider, protector and knight.

At the age of forty, I became a father to a beautiful little girl. She grew, and the circle keeps coming full circle and maybe, just maybe, God has an impeccable send of comedic timing.

Chapter 18, page 160, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

She has her momma’s heart, is gracious and kind and loves horses like her daddy. She is a cowgirl through and through. God has blessed me beyond measure and more than I deserve. But then again, what we actually deserve often has nothing to do with it.

I am Mark W. Schutter, “Life After” Coach and Author of the memoir, 𝐂𝐨𝐰𝐛𝐨𝐲𝐬 𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐫𝐲, and we all need a little support sometimes.

If you are struggling with moving forward following the death of a loved one and searching for your best “Life After,” please leave a comment or email me at info@markschutter.com.

I’ll follow up with some additional information and how to book a free call to chat and see if I can help.

P.S. – Those are my daughters favorite boots!

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 previous chapters of my memoir, links below.

Part 1 – Reconciling the Past

Part 2 – Embracing the Present

Part 3 – Redeeming the Future

Now, saddle up! The adventure that is your “Life After” awaits! 

Life, memoir

Men, Mental Health, Grief, and Finding Life After

New interview on the podcast The Death Dialogues Project

Men, Mental Health, Grief, and Finding Life After

Take a listen and be sure to leave a comment there and below letting me know what you think.

Be sure to follow The Death Dialogues Project on:

For a companion piece in which I was mentioned read the following article on Substack by Becky Aud-Jennison founder of The Death Dialogues Project.

The Aftermath – Grief: Processing, Honoring or Denying

“The aftermath of death will have its way with us one way or the other.”

Quote from the article.

PS – My memoir Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry is still available.

Grab your print or e-book copy today!

Grief, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 17 – Physical Beauty and Emotional Scars

Sometimes the words fade…

~Mark Wayne, chapter 17, Page 149

This chapter was not only one of, but may have been the hardest chapter to write, and even more so to include in my memoir.

I have feelings of anxiety, knowing others have read the words I wrote, and proud of myself at the same time. The honesty and transparency regarding the emotional and physical intimacy that can occur within a marriage, is evident. The words reveal so much of my own insecurities and failures, and I assume many of hers as well.

I pray the words, speak to others that the battles we face are sometimes behind closed doors where no one sees. At a point where I was struggling when writing my story, my daughter gave me a handwritten note that simply said,

“Somebody out there needs your story.” ❤

So, I kept writing spurred on by her encouragement and love. Until finally, after many months I held the finished book in my hands. I pray it helps others feel not so alone.

Back to the chapter at hand. I won’t go into detail here about the content of the chapter suffice to say it is about physical and emotional beauty, attraction and desire between a man and a woman. God given desires of our hearts I believe.

We live in a paradox of what society says is the “ideal” when behind closed doors it often falls short of that imagined perfection. The reality is often so different, at least it was in my case, and maybe hers’ as well, who’s to say? And so we move forward battling together and alone at the same time.

Sometimes all you can do is live with it.

Page 153, Chapter 17, 𝐂𝐨𝐰𝐛𝐨𝐲𝐬 𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐫𝐲

The scars… both physical and emotional that we all carry from the wounds we have been dealt in this life. I did not understand it then and I certainly don’t pretend to understand it now, these thirty years later. I realize there are more questions here than answers, just like in the chapter of my memoir. So I will leave you with the following quote.

The best is perhaps what is understood least.

~C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

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! 

> If you are struggling with moving forward following the death of a loved on and searching for your best “Life After”, reach out.

Leave a comment or email me at info@markschutter.com. I’ll follow up with some additional information and how to book a free call to chat and see if I can help. Thanks!

I am Mark W. Schutter, “Life After” Coach and Author of the memoir, 𝐂𝐨𝐰𝐛𝐨𝐲𝐬 𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐫𝐲, and we all need a little support sometimes.

Read my thoughts on previous chapters of my memoir, links below.

Part 1 – Reconciling the Past

Part 2 – Embracing the Present

Part 3 – Redeeming the Future

Now, saddle up! The adventure that is your “Life After” awaits! 

Grief, Life, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 16 – Holding Space to Dream Big

“From the mind of a nine-and-one-half year-old the world is infinitely large and everything is possible… She sees the world as full of opportunity and promise. Oh, how I envy her at times.”

~Chapter 16, Page 141, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

The death of someone we love often results in the death of so many dreams we had with that person also. Pursing dreams that were made together in hopes of them one day coming true. That possibility, with them, is now gone. So…

What do you now do with those dreams?

  • Continue on pursuing those same dreams without them, as a tribute to their memory?
  • Reevaluate those dreams in light of them not being there with you and pursue them in a different way?
  • Shuck those dreams all together and … hopefully… come to realize new dreams?

You had dreams with them, now what dreams do you have for yourself?

Are you still holding out with hope?

I think about dreams now long gone, new dreams that have emerged and taken their place and the questions that still linger. The words we use so easily, such as widowed, widow, widower, bereaved, lost, deprived, absence… does it matter?

When the reality is they died. That is the reality that we now live in, a world without their physical presence and all those dreams that were tied up in our lives with them.

Whether we believe it or not, the truth is still the truth.

Chapter 16, page 146, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

Never stop “holding space to dream big” and if you can hold space for the dreams of a better future for others.

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

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

> If you are struggling with moving forward following the death of a loved on and searching for your best “Life After”, reach out.

Leave a comment or email me at info@markschutter.com. I’ll follow up with some additional information and how to book a free call to chat and see if I can help. Thanks!

I am Mark W. Schutter, “Life After” Coach and Author of the memoir 𝐂𝐨𝐰𝐛𝐨𝐲𝐬 𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐫𝐲, and we all need a little support sometimes.

Read my thoughts on previous chapters of my memoir, links below.

Part 1 – Reconciling the Past

Part 2 – Embracing the Present

Part 3 – Redeeming the Future

Now, saddle up! The adventure that is your “Life After” awaits!

Grief, Life

Sometimes Nothing Changes

Some things change

and some things remain the same.

Life happens, hard times come, and there is a life after the pain and trauma. Ask me how I know.

If you are struggling send me a message.

You can

➡️ Reconcile your past
➡️ Embrace your present
➡️ Redeem your future

🙁 Finding your best life after trauma!

God bless! And saddle up the adventure of your life after trauma awaits. 👊

Grief, Life, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 14 – As the World Moves On

This is the last chapter in Part 2, Embracing the Present of my memoir, 𝐂𝐨𝐰𝐛𝐨𝐲𝐬 𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐫𝐲 and seems fitting as truly the world moves on after your loss and you have to somehow figure out and accept the reality. This means embracing the present in order to move on with it.

“Just as sure as the turnin’ of the earth.” – Ethan Edwards (John Wayne), The Searchers #quote #western #movie

The Searchers

One of my favorite movies, and allegory for my own life as I have spend so much time searching for answers to questions that haunt me. Questions of which most have no answers this side of the undiscovered (heaven).

I have learned that for my healing it has meant reconciling my past, embracing the present, and redeeming my future. Often in no particular order as grief is not linear and there are so many ‘secondary’ losses that pop up. Even years later sometimes, that I must wrestle with and heal from.

⏩ Grief is carried as we search for what it means to us.

There seemed to be a turning point for me in September of 2017 after returning from a family vacation to Yellowstone National park when I wrote a blog post entitled “Searching… it’s all shit!”

I was finally realizing that I needed to get help and healing for my past, my present, and my future, and to be the best version of myself for those I loved and loved me in return. It was around this time that I seriously began the collating and putting together my memoir. Two years later in August of 2019, I signed a publishing contract with Christian Faith Publishing and my book was published the following August of 2020.

It was during this time that I realized that to truly rebuild my life after the pain and sorrow, I would have to let go of death, but would always carry the experience.

The joys and sorrows would forever occupy the same space in my heart.

I must reconcile my past, embrace my present, and redeem my future. To move forward, not on, to discover where it is that I came from, knowing that death will always follow me. We unwillingly say a courageous faithful amen to the way it was, it is, and can be; which is what acknowledging death asks of us.

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! 

> If you are struggling with moving forward following a loss and searching for your best “life after”, reach out. Leave a comment or email me at info@markschutter.com,

I’ll follow up with some additional information and how to book a free call to chat and see if I can help. Thanks!

I am Mark W. Schutter, Grief Coach for Men and Author of the memoir 𝐂𝐨𝐰𝐛𝐨𝐲𝐬 𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐫𝐲, and we all need a little support sometimes.

Read my thoughts on previous chapters of my memoir, links below.

Part 1 – Reconciling the Past

Part 2 – Embracing the Present