God, Grief, Life, memoir

Are You Holding a Grudge Against God?

POV: Grief is hard and can often incline us to hold a grudge against God when someone dies regardless of the circumstances.

The image is from the movie Open Range with Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall. You can see the entire clip on my Instagram page – @mwschutter.

I know because for many years I held a grudge against God after my late wife died of cancer at 27 years old. ๐Ÿ’”

No reason other than a disease that wrecked her before taking her life and God did nothing to stop it.

I struggled with anger and bitterness for many years, stuffing it down. You don’t have to and unhealed pain and trauma will always come back.

โžก๏ธ There is a better way and now I help those who are struggling with grief through coaching and support. Helping you find your best life after trauma. Yes, you.

I am the author of the 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. The story of my own journey through the valley of the shadow of death.

Are tired of trying to ride off from death, loss, and grief? If so send me a message – via my contact page and I will send you information on how to schedule a free 15 minute intro call to see if we are a good fit and I can help.

There are many burdens you were not meant to carry. I am happy to come alongside you. ๐Ÿ‘Š See ~Job 2:13 ๐Ÿ“œ

Grief, memoir

If You Know…

If you know,

then you know,

that you know.

It was the 29th time that the day of her birth had come around following her death. Nothing much seems to have changed over the past few years. At least on the inside.

I kept busy that day, working moving dirt and readying the planter boxes in the greenhouse for planting. It was a beautiful sunny spring day.

And then out of the blue it hit me.

The memories I hold so dear were of a young girl in her mid-twenties. In the fullness of life, with dreams of the future, until the last few months when the sickness began to overtake her. But this day it is the year 2022.

She would have turned 57 years old.

Just typing the words seems surreal. I will turn 58 later this year so it tracks mathematically. But the heart knows nothing of numbers, only images stored in the mind and carried forever.

And I have no idea what she would look like were she alive today.

I have aged, gray hairs shining through my blonde curls. My whiskers when I let them grow are tinged with silver and the lines at the corners of my eyes and on my forehead are tell tale signs of the years that have passed.

But in my mind she is still that young girl.

In the prime of her young life, long brown hair, and sparkling blue eyes. The ravages of time had not yet made their mark as they do to us all that are blessed to live for many years. My mind is swirling.

I cannot picture her as 57 year old woman.

So, I wonder at this. Another wave of grief and loss assaults’ me. I feel as I if I have lost her again. For a second time, no a third time… hell I have lost count of how many times over the ensuing years.

I live on with memories from long ago.

I am happy. I have moved forward with a wonderful wife and daughter. And yet, I have watched my daughter grow into a teenager, and my wife has aged as have I. And my memories of her are frozen in time.

She has never aged.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? She never got the pleasure of enjoying more of life. Of family and friends. Even the aches and pains of a body that is worn and tired from a life lived fully.

But maybe, just maybe she did.

I smile, my heart is happy because in her almost 28 years of life, she lived every moment fully. She was alive, even at the end when the cancer racked her body, when everything hurt and I stood holding her hand to the end of our journey together.

I carry the grief and loss, right alongside my joy and happiness.

PS – You can read more of my story of grief, loss, healing and life after in my memoir Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry, available on many online platforms. I use my experience to coach others struggling with grief and moving forward from loss, let me know and we’ll schedule a 15 minute intro call to see if I can help. God bless, ~M

Grief, Life, Stories

Things happen…

๐“๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ฌ ๐ก๐š๐ฉ๐ฉ๐ž๐ง…

๐‘„๐‘ข๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘› ๐‘–๐‘  ๐‘คโ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ก ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘”๐‘œ๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘‘๐‘œ ๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘ก ๐‘–๐‘ก? ๐Ÿค”

From flat tires, to roof leaks, the horse favoring one leg, clients saying no, friends turning away, health issues, and even death.

๐“๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ฌ ๐ก๐š๐ฉ๐ฉ๐ž๐ง…

๐ป๐‘œ๐‘ค ๐‘‘๐‘œ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘๐‘™๐‘’ ๐‘–๐‘ก ๐‘คโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘› ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘”๐‘  โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘๐‘’๐‘›? ๐Ÿค”

I am conducting market research gathering information from people like you about grief, loss, and healing. This data will help me to create the best resources for those who are hurting and struggling.

If you’re willing to answer a few questions send me a DM and we’ll setup a time to chat.

This is not a trick to get you on a sales call. Promise!

*๐˜ฝ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™ช๐™จ ๐™‹๐™ค๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐™›๐™ค๐™ง ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™จ๐™ฌ๐™š๐™ง๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™จ ๐™ฆ๐™ช๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ: ๐Ÿค”

๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘š๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘ฃ๐‘–๐‘’, ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ฆ๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ ๐‘–๐‘ก ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘š๐‘’ ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘ก, ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘ก๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘  ๐‘–๐‘› ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ฃ๐‘–๐‘‘๐‘’๐‘œ.

Share your answers in the comments. ๐Ÿ‘Š

Grief, Life, memoir, Stories

Can You Do Me A Favor?

I need help in answering a few questions for market research related to grief and healing.

What grief are you still carrying?

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 in it’s many forms 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 โ€“ Iโ€™m asking for your help in doing some market research.

Men needed, is this you? 

My goal is to interview 50 people, โ€“ 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.

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.

Would you mind doing an interview with me? To make it super easy, just send me an email to mark@markschutter.com, let me know you are in and weโ€™ll schedule a call.

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

My ideal client

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.

And I have an ask of the women too!

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 mark@markschutter.com, 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!

And you can purchase Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry at any of the following >

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

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, 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

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, 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 am still quite honestly surprised that I shared the dream unedited. ๐Ÿ˜‰

“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! ๐Ÿ˜‰).

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, “๐™„ ๐™–๐™ข ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™š ๐™™๐™ฎ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ.”

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.

Grief, Life, memoir

Do You Allow Your Trauma to Define You?

New podcast interview – RELEASING TRAUMA, a survivor’s podcast

I was blessed recently to have a conversation with Tracey from Releasing Trauma, a survivor’s podcast. We talked about grief, loss, healing and life after, especially from a man’s perspective and the expectations placed on men after trauma.

Two questions:

  • What advice would you give to someone going through trauma and grief?
  • What would you do differently in your own grief journey knowing what you know now?

Let me know in the comments and go give the episode a listen.

If you haven’t go give a listen to my conversation last week with Meghan on Judging Meghan.

Available on Apple and all major podcast platforms.

Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry
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