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, 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? ๐Ÿค”

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 ๐Ÿ‘Š, ๐Ÿ‘, โค or whatever so I know I am not alone.

Thanks again and I pray each of you is blessed. ๐Ÿ™

PS – You can still get a copy of 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, either print or e-book at the following:

Thanks for the support and a review on Amazon or Goodreads is always appreciated! ๐Ÿ‘Š

Grief, Life, memoir, Writing

Revisiting Chapter 5 – Death Is Only the Beginning

It was another lifetime in another place when she stood next to me in a world that does not exist anymore.

Chapter 5, Death Is Only the Beginning, Page 51 – Mark W. Schutter

So begins the first sentence of this chapter of my memoir, Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry. This chapter is unique in that the first few pages I quote four lines from a poem I wrote entitled The Young Girl That I Long Ago Wed and Who Drove Me Mad, originally published in September 2018, long before my memoir came out in 2020. In the chapter I follow-up each four line stanza of the poem by expanding on my thoughts and meaning of those four lines.

Grief, pain, loss, and trauma often leave you feeling as if you are going mad. Sometimes there is nothing you can do except to endure it for the moment as the succeeding minutes become hours, days, weeks, months, and years. The pain sometimes fades yet the madness continues to dance around the edges of our sanity. The world that was, that we believed and hoped would be, is no longer and never will be. It often doesn’t make sense and I surmise that is where faith comes in.

Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen. ~Hebrews 11:1

Thank God for my faith in a life after the trauma and in an afterlife, that is what often keep me moving forward. I was in a fog for many months after her death as the world just seemed so wrong and yet, I soldiered on as best I could.

How can we be so surprised when someone dies when everybody already knows we are all going to die?

Chapter 5, Death Is Only the Beginning, Page 58 – Mark W. Schutter

And then the world tells you that…

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 struggled to weave this event into my life in a way that made sense because I had as her death was only the beginning.

Read my thoughts on the first four chapters of my memoir, links below, and watch for the next one in the series โ€“ Chapter 6, To Love What’s Leaving

You can order your print copies and the e-book today, and one or two or threeโ€ฆ 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

Revisiting Chapter 4 – Still Miles to Walk

In Chapter 3 – Walking Away in my memoir Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry, I talked about the moments when we have to walk away from all we’ve ever known. And that brings us to the next chapter, wholly unprepared I found myself on this journey walking a road less traveled and it had only just begun.

Chapter 4, Still Miles to Walk

And the Best Thing You Can Do with Death Is to Ride off from It?

This chapter focuses on the many things that take place immediately following a death. All the logistical and practical things that you, as the surviving spouse are expected to take care of starting with funeral arrangements. So many decisions must be made all the while dealing with the shock and grief of your loss.

At the beginning of the chapter I list the following quote from Stephen Jenkinson in his book Die Wise, A Manifesto of Serenity and Soul,

Dying is not what happens to you. Dying is what you do.

I agree with this and would also rephrase it from a different perspective,

Moving forward after someone you love dies is not what happens to you. Moving forward is what you do.

You immediately realize there are still miles to walk and you have no map of the path nor the ultimate destination. Maybe because there is no end to this walk?

Ever since Luka had been diagnosed the first time, through all the treatments, her dying, and right up to this point as the funeral ended, I had been making this up as I went along. And I still didn’t know what to do.

CHAPTER 4, STILL MILES TO WALK, PAGE 49 – MARK W. SCHUTTER

I learned the hard way that there were still so many unknowns on this path as I walked through my own valley of the shadows. My legs moved on their own much of the time, my mind numb but reeling from the enormity of the moments before me. Knowing that nothing would ever be the same again and I could never turn around and walk the path back to where it began.

Chapter 4, Still Miles to Walk – Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry

What are you thoughts? What is your experience following the death of a loved one? Have you read my memoir? Did it spark anything in you?

Read my thoughts on the first three chapters of my memoir, links below, and watch for the next one in the series – Chapter 5, Death is Only the Beginning

PS – Have a nice day and saddle up! ๐Ÿค 

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