Thursday, May 24, 2007


A long time ago, I was in a craft boutique with my wife, and I saw something that made me laugh. It caught me with that sort of cynical laughter that comes up when something is stated in a clever way and hits really too close to home.

It was a cutsie little cross-stitch, in two panels. The first had a sweet teddy bear, dressed in an apron in a kitchen. Underneath it, it said, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”

The second panel showed another teddy bear, dressed in pants, shirt and a tie, sitting in a chair reading the paper. Its caption read, “If papa ain’t happy, ain’t nobody cares!”

Then a few days ago, a close friend of mine had an article published in Meridian Magazine about what happens to men when they go through sadness, depression, and trauma. So often, we are either ignored or told to just “Suck it up and get on with life”. It can be very isolating.

I remember when, after 8 years of hope and infertility treatments, we finally conceived only to lose the baby at 19 weeks to a miscarriage. At the time, I was working in an elementary school teaching music to other people’s kids. And my boss expected me back in the classroom the following Monday as if nothing had happened.

As we’ve been discussing this article on a forum I’m in, one of the ladies observed, “I am embarrassed to admit that in all the times when tragedy or difficulty has befallen a family, it has never once occurred to me to give solace or sympathy to the father or husband. I haven't avoided it or thought that the Elder's Quorum should or will do it, it has just NOT occurred to me. I manage to offer my sympathies and extend my understanding to the wife and kids, but well, clearly I have not finished the effort.”

Everyone reacts to stress differently. Everyone handles it (or mishandles it) in their own way. Still, I’m reminded of the admonition of Alma to be “willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort…”

Mark Hansen

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