It’s Been 4 Years Since I Lost My Son Zayne

 

It’s Been 4 Years Since I Lost My Son Zayne Steven Shomler

It’s Been 4 Years Since I Lost My Son Zayne

Today is February 8th, 2020 and it is the 4-year anniversary of the worse day of my adult life.

4 years ago today on Feb 8th 2016 my 17-year-old son Zayne passed away.

In addition to lots of crying, I did some writing today and put down some of the thoughts I have been having the past few days as I have been reflecting on Zayne’s passing.

Here is what has been in my heart the past few days:

I am A Different Person Now and I am Still Me

Losing my son Zayne has impacted who I am today more than any other event in my adult life has.

On one hand I am still me, and on the other hand I am a different person entirely.

If you have suffered a brutal loss I am pretty sure you know what I am talking about.

For me all of this “becoming more of who I am”  is still unfolding.

I am so grateful to my wife Karyn. She is very wise & very insightful, and she is so good at encouraging me to fully be me and to peacefully own who I am.

I feel I owe to Zayne to be who I really am, and to fully own what it means to be me. I have made good progress toward that end, and I am going to press on with becoming more of who I am.

Just Yesterday & Forever Ago

The harrowing evening 4 years ago when Zayne passed feels like just yesterday, and at the same time it also feels like a forever ago.

I can’t explain this paradox, but it is very real for me.

You Can Heal From Your Brutal Losses

Just as paradoxically – I have healed an incredible amount from that gut wrenching loss & I still have a cavernous excruciating ache in my heart.

To this day – on the tender days – that cavernous excruciating ache in my heart brings me to tears at the drop of hat.

Late on the evening of Feb 13, 2016 following Zayne’s memorial service I committed to *intentionally and diligently grieve for a year and that at the 1-year anniversary of Zayne’s passing I would spread his ashes on the beach.

Please Note – We did spread Zayne’s ashes on Feb 8, 2017 at the Oregon Coast at Tunnel Beach in Oceanside, Oregon.

*I said intentionally and diligently because some people who experience brutal losses stuff their grief and avoid it.

That night – Feb 13, 2016 I knew that grieving is like going to the bathroom when you don’t do it – bad things happen.

I also knew that those who grieve well live well and that grieving is how we heal.

I owed it to Zayne to do the work of grieving & healing – he would have wanted that.

The more I leaned into my grieving, the more I healed.

Back In 2016, the year Zayne passed, almost every day was one of those tearful tender days.

Because I did that grieving work the tender days are thankfully, no longer every day, and they are spaced out much further apart.

Cherish The Time You Get With Those You Love

The people you love are going to die. I promise you that. Cherish the time you get with them.

You never know when will lose someone you love. It can happen at any time.

I truly wish I could put some candy & nuts & fruitcake around this gut wrenching reality and soften this terrible truth…

However this is a truth we desperately love to ignore, and maybe it’s best to be punched in the gut with the brutal reality of it.

If You Have Lost a Child I am Here For You

Some of you reading these words have just lost a child.

You are welcome to reach out to me. I know the hell you are going through.

These days parents who have just lost a child reach out to me on a regular basis.

One of the positives (a terrible word to us here – I know) that has come out of the devastation of losing my son Zayne & doing my grieving work, is that I am better able to care for those who have endured an experience that is so horrifying we don’t name it …

If you lose your parents you are an orphan…

If you lose your spouse you are a widow or widower…

If you have lost a child… there is no name for it.

Something only a few of you reading this know – for about ten years I worked full-time as a pastor caring for people’s hearts. For me, providing pastoral care to those who were hurting was one of the very best parts of being a full-time pastor.

That being said – there are, still to this day, people I provide pastoral care to, and my having a different occupation never removed my pastoral vocation, and I am still very much in possession of my pastoral heart that cares deeply for those who are wounded, and live with ongoing heartache.

These days caring for those who have lost a child is one of the small handful of ways I live out my pastoral vocation.

Wait? What?

I know, I know, some of you are very confused right now – I unashamedly cuss when I deem it appropriate, and I love cocktails – gin especially, and yet here I am I talking about my pastoral calling.

If you don’t like it, talk to God not me.

Just so we are clear – I have a very private, none of your business, not going to talk with you about it, Jesus centric faith.

For those who are wondering – I am speaking of the Jesus found in Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, and whether you like it or not Jesus is quite fond of me.

Also – these days I myself am generally not too fond of most Christians, and much of the culture in American Christianity brings me consternation.  As you can likely tell there is a lot of heartache in my past related to experiences I have had with Christians.

I generally prefer to quietly, behind the scenes, pastorally care for those who unashamedly cuss when they deem it appropriate, and who love craft beer, or good wine, or cocktails made with craft spirits.

Oh and hurting pastors, I seem to do very well caring for hurting pastors. My heart is moved by those who are, or who have been pastors who are struggling. They often seem to find their way to me.

Grieving Helped Me Get My Creative Energy Back

One of the consequences that Zayne’s passing had on me was that I lost much of the creative energy I had.

It was not until the fall of 2019 that I got back to having amount of creative energy I had before Zayne passed.

Don’t get me wrong, following Zayne’s passing I was still creative, it’s just that I would exert a small amount of creative energy and then be exhausted.

It feels embarrassing to admit that it took me about 3 years and six months to get my creative energy restored to the level it was at before Zayne passed.

It scares me to think what would have had happened if I had not fully leaned into intentionally and diligently doing my grieve work.

Know this – loss effects everyone differently, for a while I lost most of my creative energy. Conversely, in some respects, losing his brother Zayne fueled Zac Shomler’s creative energy.

I Miss My Son 

Lastly – it’s been 4 years since the worse day of my adult life.

It’s been 4 years since I lost my son  – Zayne Steven Shomler and I desperately miss him. I miss his wit, his bright smile, his tender heart, and the charming way he had about him.

I miss you Zayne. I look forward to the day when I see you again.

 

That’s all I have for now,

Steven

Steven Shomler

Zayne Steven Shomler

Zayne Steven Shomler

Zayne Steven Shomler

Zayne Steven Shomler Zayne Steven Shomler Zayne Steven Shomler Zayne Steven Shomler

 

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When I Realized and Finally Owned That I Really am a Writer

When I Realized and Finally Owned That I Really am a Writer Steven Shomler

When I Realized and Finally Owned That I Really am a Writer

Today is February 8th, 2020 and it is the 4-year anniversary of the worse day of my adult life.

4 years ago today on Feb 8th 2016 my 17-year-old son Zayne passed away.

Today I sat down to some writing and put down some of the thoughts I have been having the past few day as I have been reflecting on Zayne’s passing.

That article is titled – It’s Been 4 Years Since I Lost My Son Zayne and you can find a link to it here –  www.stevenshomler.com/its-been-4-years-since-i-lost-my-son-zayne

As I began writing that article it occurred to me how ironic it is that I was doing some writing today about Zayne’s’ passing. That realization led me to write this article here.

When I Realized and Finally Owned That I Really am a Writer

I have never shared this detail publicly before.

Back in 2011 I finally decided to seriously head out after a led-held dream of mine to become an Author.

To be clear in the summer of 2011 I set 4 goals – to become a Writer, an Author, a Speaker and “ditch my day job” & become self-employed.

I had yearned for and dreamed about becoming an Author since I was 16 years old.

In 2011 I was 42 years old and that dream of becoming an Author had been painfully smoldering in my heart for 26 years.

One obstacle I faced was that to become an Author you need to start writing and at that point in my life I could not see myself as a writer.

My defective story – the unhelpful story I lived by at that time told me I wasn’t good enough to be a writer.

It’s funny and kind of sad, but by the summer of 2015 my publisher had published two of my books and I was an Author twice over, and yet I still did NOT see myself as a writer.

Remember – my defective story told me I was not good enough to be a writer.

My 17 year old son Zayne passed away on Monday Feb 8th, 2016 and on Saturday night Feb 13th I officiated Zayne’s memorial service.

I know that may sound odd to you – let me explain.

During the 10 years I worked full-time as a pastor I officiated many funerals & many memorial services, and there was no fucking way I was going let some other pastor handle this sacred duty for my son.

It was a beautiful service. Thank you so much to everyone who attended, and goodness, I am so grateful to those courageous souls who spoke and shared music that evening.

When I got home from that memorial service I decided that I would *intentionally and diligently grieve for a year and that at the 1-year anniversary of Zayne’s passing I would spread his ashes on the beach.

Please Note – One year later we did spread Zayne’s ashes on Feb 8, 2017 at the Oregon Coast in a driving rainstorm on Tunnel Beach in Oceanside, Oregon.

*I said intentionally and diligently because some people who experience brutal losses stuff their grief and avoid it.

That night – Feb 13, 2016 I knew full well that grieving was like going to the bathroom – when you don’t do it – bad things happen.

I also knew that those who grieve well live well.

I owed it to Zayne to do the work of grieving & healing – he would have wanted that.

An Overwhelming Sense That I Needed to Write

Let’s go back to the evening of Feb 13th, 2016.

In addition to deciding that night that I would intentionally and diligently grieve Zayne’s passing for a year, I also had an almost overwhelming sense that I needed to write about my grieving journey.

I remembered CS Lewis’ somewhat cerebral, yet excellent book A Grief Observed.

I thought to myself “there is no fucking way I am observing this grief.” I am going to express it.

So that night – right then – I bought the domain A Grief Expressed dot com, and began writing about my grieving journey.

Then it me Like a Ton of Bricks.

Here I was feeling an almost overwhelm need to write about my grieving journey and that night I began writing about it…

The shocking words that came into my mind were:

“I must be a Writer”

Realizing that I really was a writer was quite unsettling, and it was a challenge to the inaccurate image I had of myself.

Up until that very evening I had held the “writer” title at bay because I never felt “good enough” to be a writer.

However, that evening I was forced to confront the awkward truth that I really was a writer.

That evening following this identify challenging experience I still did not feel good enough to be a writer – however I could no longer deny the truth that I was.

By the way, I can let you aspiring writers in on the secret only writers know:

Writers are people who write. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. If you write – you are a writer.

 Here is the Ironic Part

Back in the summer of 2011 when I set out up to build a brand new career out of thin air, and become a Writer, an Author, a Speaker and “ditch my day job” & become self-employed — it was my son Zayne, who from the very beginning, encouraged me and believed in me.

Zayne told me more times than I can count –

“You are Doing Great Dad, Just Keep Going.”

As I mentioned I set 4 goals the summer of 2011 –

#1 Writer #2 Author #3 Speaker #4 Self-employed

When the day began on Feb 13th, 2016 I would have told you that I had achieved only two of those goals. That was the false truth or defective story in my heart.

April 17, 2014 was the day I became an Author, and January 6, 2015 was the day I “ditched my day job” and become self-employed.

Zayne was the one who cheered me on from the very beginning and it is incredibly iconic to me that writing about his passing the night I officiated his memorial service was what helped realize that I had actually achieved my goal of becoming a writer.

Feb 13, 2016 was the day I realized that I am a writer…

It took me a long time following that date to fully own the reality that I am a writer and to become somewhat comfortable with it.

Part of the reason for the hesitation to fully embrace the fact that I am a writer is that I am at best an average writer, and it is hard for me not to compare myself to really good writers I happen to know, whose writing I greatly respect like Jeff Alworth or Karyn Shomler.

Personal comparisons are rarely never helpful, and it is truly ok to be an average writer.

Furthermore even average writers are still writers.

Thats’s all I have for now…

I miss you Zayne. May you rest in peace.

Steven Shomler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s a New Day Part 1 The Struggle to Make Videos & It’s a New Day Part 2 On An Epic Journey

It’s a New Day Part 1 - The Struggle to Make Videos It’s a New Day Part 2 - On An Epic Journey

It’s a New Day Part 1 The Struggle to Make Videos, and It’s a New Day Part 2 On An Epic Journey Steven Shomler Videos

In Part 1 The Struggle to Make Videos Steven tells the story of his recent struggle making videos, he shares his game plan moving forward for making video content, and he introduces the Spark to Bonfire channel / video platform.

In Part 2 On An Epic Journey Steven continues the story he began in It’s a New Day Part 1, and he talks about the kind of videos you will begin to see on the Steven Shomler Channel.

 

 

 

 

Get Started Get Better Get Stuck Part 1 - Spark to Bonfire Video Teaching Get Started Get Better Get Stuck Part 2 - Spark to Bonfire Video Teaching

Get Started Get Better Get Stuck Part 1 & Part 2 –  Teaching

During the It’s a New Day videos embedded above Steven references the Spark to Bonfire videos – Get Started Get Better Get Stuck Part 1 & Part 2.

In Part 1 Steven talks about getting started making videos, and then in the process of trying to get better – getting very stuck!

This story unfolds as Steven tells a parallel story involving the two times back in the 70’s that El Toro Rd washed out and he missed weeks of school.

In Part 2 Steven shares how he finally got unstuck thanks to the 2019 Edition of Portland BLT Week, his son Zac Shomler, and his sweetheart KC is me.

 

 

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Koloa Rum Dinner at Hapa PDX

Koloa Rum Dinner at Hapa PDX by Steven ShomlerKoloa Rum Dinner at Hapa PDX

Wednesday evening Jan 29th at 6 PM a fantastic multi-course dinner is happening at Hapa PDX featuring Koloa Rum, and hosted by Culinary Storyteller Steven Shomler.

During this dinner Hapa PDX will introduce for the first time ever the Hapa PDX Mai Tai.

The Hapa PDX Mai Tai will be added to the permanent menu at Hapa PDX on Saturday Feb 8th and will be crafted with Koloa Rum. Those attending the Jan 29th dinner will get a preview of this spectacular cocktail.

Representatives From Koloa Rum will on hand Jan 29th attending this dinner, and you will be able to meet them, hear their story, sample rum from the Koloa lineup, and be entered into a drawing to win Koloa Merchandise.

Tickets for this dinner will go on sale Monday Jan 6th at 10 AM.

Stay tuned for details about the menu that will be served during this dinner.

Hapa PDX is located at 3848 SE Gladstone St, Portland, OR 97202.

If you would like to get some Koloa Rum to enjoy over the holidays there are a number of Portland area liquor stores that carry Koloa Rum including 11th Avenue Liquor – 1040 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214.

To hear the Koloa Rum story check out Portland Culinary Podcast Episode 30 – https://www.portlandculinarypodcast.com/koloa-rum-co-portland-culinary-podcast-episode-30/

Cheers!

 

Koloa Rum Dinner at Hapa PDX by Steven Shomler

 

 

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