Grief, Stories, Writing

I Did A Thing – Recording A Podcast Interview This Week!

And Then Everything Changed – October 28, 2020

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I will be interviewed by Ronit Plank for her podcast ‘And Then Everything Changed’ this Wednesday, October 28th. The episode will be aired at a still to be determined date.

In preparation for my interview with Ronit I have binged listened to many past episodes. I encourage you to take a listen to great stories of resilience, courage and hope. Ronit is a skilled host and interviewer. All past and future episodes, including mine when it becomes available, are available on her website and many podcast platforms including:

The conversations Ronit has with her guests are real and vulnerable. Talking about personal history; those pivotal moments of their childhood and adulthood that defined them and the crucial and sometimes painful decisions they made that forever changed the course of their lives.

After listening to many episodes, my biggest takeaway is the all too often similar feelings and emotions that we all experience in life. Despite our often very different circumstances, beliefs, values and life stories the emotional toil often runs deep. Although, my life may often have little in common with many of the guests I feel a connection.

It is not a competition, and yet we all have or will experience pain in this life. #quote

“The Princess Bride”

The question and the test is what will we do with the pain we experience in this life? Listen to some Ronit’s guests tell their stories and you will be inspired by the strength, courage and the resiliency of the human spirit. Thank you Ronit for creating this platform that allows others to share their stories, reminding us each that we are not alone.

Stay tuned to this site and sign up for email updates for the latest and when my conversation with Ronit will air on her podcast!

#LiveYourDreams

Grief, Stories, Writing

“What Do You See?”

“What do you see?

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…”

“Oh God!”

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.”

“Your welcome.”

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?’

“Best Friends”

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.

Adventure, Life, Stories

A Manifesto of Fatherhood – Revisited

Happy Day after Fathers Day to Everyone!

A little different post for Motivation Monday this week. I want to encourage parents, both fathers and mothers. This post is written from my perspective as a father, but it can apply to those moms who are parenting alone and filling both roles.

I hope every father had a great Fathers day. Now that the day set aside to be all about you is over, it’s time to get back to being the father your children need. Your influence and impact will either set them up for success or failure in life. You are their protector, comfort, soft place to land, compass, rock and shelter from the storm.

February 2020

For fathers of daughters, as I am, who you are as a man will influence how they view other men. How you love and treat them, how you love and treat their mother will impact their belief and trust in other men.

Fathers, show your daughters what a real man is, and how a real man treats a lady. #MotivationMonday #FathersDay #EverydayYouAreADad #HappyDayAfterFathersDay

Think of the impact we would have if came alive as fathers. Your children will grow up and affect the lives of countless others and their children will go on and do the same. This ripple effect – this opportunity of compounding influence – has got to overwhelmingly dwarf whatever the majority of us may hope to accomplish at our jobs. Love your kids, men. Teach them to be strong, dedicated, focused, gentle, fierce, loyal.” ​​​​​​​- John Lovell, Warrior Poet Society

Love your kids, men. Teach them to be strong, dedicated, focused, gentle, fierce, loyal.” ​​​​​​​- John Lovell, Warrior Poet Society @johnlovell275

February 2017

The original post below was written back in 2013 when my daughter was 7 1/2 years old. She is now 15 1/2 and the words are as true today as they were then.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Father / Daughter Dance - February 2013"
February 2013

Knowing that, God willing, no matter the circumstances, I will always be a daddy to my little girl;

Knowing that, God willing, my daughter will one day be an adult and leave to follow her own path;

  • I will love my daughter for the gift that she is, not what she does
  • I will cherish every moment we spend together
  • I will strive to give her whatever wisdom I might possess
  • I will teach her the value of relationships & honoring promises
  • I will allow my daughter to soar upon her own wings
  • I will let her go to travel the path God has laid before her

“May the Lord give me the wisdom to parent with love, humility and strength, to give my daughter only and always the best that I can offer.”   ~M

Summer 2010

“Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation.” ~C. Everett Koop

I encourage you to now write your own manifesto!

Poetry

Crimson Pools

crimson-pools

We all bleed the same color

We all bleed from hidden wounds

We all will bleed in the end

This is a tumultuous time in our nation and only time will tell how it will be viewed by history. We have so much and it can easily be ruined by only a few. We must –

  • Stand up
  • Stand strong
  • Stand together

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ~Edmund Burke

Grief, Life, Writing

She Comes Out of the Sun – “Hello”

“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 rain https://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 aroundhttps://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.

Be sure to click the follow button and subscribe and be one of the first to receive email updates about the forthcoming book and other happenings. I would also love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment. You can connect with me on Twitter @mwschutter, Instagram @mwschutter or Facebook @mwschutter

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople #YouMatter #BeAWarrior

Life, Poetry, Writing

Echoing the Backdrop

#JustBelieve #HopeLives #LoveChangesPeople

The rain has definitely arrived here in the Pacific Northwest and just in time some might say. Looks like another wet and green Christmas but that’s okay.

I love laying in bed listening to the raindrops hitting our metal porch roof right outside the bedroom window. Which we keep open all year long.

The sound of the rain mixes with the soft melody of the wind chimes that gently lull me to sleep. Dreams and memories travel through my mind as I rest in the moments of tranquility.

These restful moments spur ideas for my writings. What moments, sounds or experiences bring you peace and inspire your creativity?

Life, Stories, Writing

“She died. She is dead.” Thoughts and coming to terms with the words.

Widowed and/or bereaved? And does it even really matter when the words don’t change the outcome?

Widowed – verb: past participle: widowed

  1. become a widow or widower; lose one’s spouse through death.
    • Widownounwidow; plural noun: widows
      a woman who has lost her spouse by death and has not remarried.
    1. Widower – nounwidower; plural noun: widowers
      a man who has lost his spouse by death and has not remarried.

Bereaved – verb: past participle: bereaved

  1. be deprived of a loved one through a profound absence, especially due to the loved one’s death.

“She died. She is dead. Is the word so difficult to learn?” ~C.S. Lewis {A Grief Observed}

We use the terms ‘lost’, ‘deprived’ and ‘absence’ when the truth is they died. Their physical mortal body ceased to work and they died. You are widowed until you remarry, then no longer a widow or widower? And are you still bereaved every single moment, day, month, and year after losing a loved one?

The pain and the grief, never goes away even when you commit actions that take you in another direction, such as remarrying. Grief is not something you get over, it is something you carry with you for the rest of your life. It irrevocably changes you, how could it not?

Does the soul live on after death? I believe it does and that’s a topic for another blog post.

“Well, we have nothing if not belief.” ~Reepicheep {The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis}