Why is it Acceptable to Focus more on the Negative?

Debbie Hatch  |  Family & F.I.T.

If you’re a friend on my personal page, you probably saw this post last Thursday.

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What you might not know is that I hesitated, for about 30 seconds, before sharing that post.


…and, here’s why.


I thought, “I share this every year when I see it come up in my Timehop.  People are probably tired of seeing it every year.  In fact, it’s been almost six years now since my entire family came home (my son was deployed to Iraq at the same time that my daughter and my husband were deployed to Afghanistan.”  For those who don’t think such a thing can happen, I assure you, it is a fact and it was one of the hardest years of my life).  I thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t mention it this year…..”


Just as quickly, I hit post.


…and, here’s why.

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I thought, “If any of my family members had been killed in action, I would post every year and think nothing of it.

No one else would think anything of it.  People  would understand that that kind of pain never goes away.


Why, then, wouldn’t I celebrate their return?”


We have a tendency to do this though, don’t we?  As a society, I mean.  We focus on the bad.  We focus on the negative.  We hold onto the things that hurt us.  Those things are part of our fabric.  We should not forget them.  We won’t just “get over” them – at any point.


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I don’t think we should.   I don’t think we can.


All I’m asking is, “Why don’t we celebrate the amazing things just as fervently?”





Why don’t we join one another in the celebration of the positive?  Why don’t we cheer as quickly and fully, as we do to reach a hand of support?   Gratitude and appreciation can be as strong as pain and suffering, if we allow it. If we embrace those things.


1st tour homecoming. I cried (no exaggeration) at some point every day for a full year.

1st Iraq tour, homecoming. I cried (no exaggeration) at some point every day for a full year.



This day is as important to me as any birthday or anniversary.

It is the day my son came home!  It took years before I was able to walk through an airport and see military members in uniform, without breaking down into tears.  Sometimes I still do.

But I will celebrate this day every year for the rest of my life – as will I celebrate the days that commemorate my daughter’s and my husband’s safe return.




Not only did my daughter come home, but also my grandson.

When my daughter came home from Afghanistan, it took time for her son to fully accept her.  It was heartbreaking,  Families don’t just pick up right where they left off.  Things change.

We have been together 25 years now, and he's been in the military for almost 21 of those.

We have been together 25 years now, and he’s been in the military for almost 21 of those.
















Marine Corps Marathon, Washington DC 25 Oct 15

Marine Corps Marathon, Washington DC 25 Oct 2015



I am penning these thoughts now because the importance of my decision to celebrate my families return, regardless of how many times I’ve done it before, was reaffirmed in a very strong way today.  My husband and I held flags along the Blue Mile today.  This is a mile long stretch coordinated by an organization called Wear Blue Run to Remember, created to honor all military members killed in combat.


We were positioned half-way through the Marine Corps marathon in Washington DC.  Seeing people of all shapes, sizes, and ages, facing their own challenges and refusing to give up at that point was incredibly inspirational!!









On the blue mile, volunteers (most of whom are either Veterans or military family members) each hold a flag, at the top of which is an embroidered streamer containing the name of one military member who died while serving his/her country.


Some of the runners broke down in tears.  Some saluted.  Some thanked us for being there.  Some took the time to read every streamer and/or touch the flag as they ran by.


I had tears on my cheeks most of the morning.




There were not just names on a flag that we held.


These were men.

They were two sons whose parents did not get to welcome them home.FullSizeRender




They belonged to two families who do not get the privilege of posting, “this was the day my son came home” messages.  I am grateful that I learned their story today……




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  1. I’m very happy that your family is all back together at home. It is good to celebrate their homecoming and sad to think of those who did not come home.
    We do tend to focus on the negative. If you turn on the TV news, you’ll see fires and crime and all sorts of unpleasant stuff, instead of the happy and joyful and life affirming stuff. Fortunately, sometimes, the TV news does cover these good life affirming things.
    I am keeping a gratitude journal for ten days. I’ve been at it for eight days.
    When I have to write five things for which I am grateful every day, I start to see the world in a different way… as kinder and as something to be appreciated and loved.
    Best wishes to you.

    1. Excellent, Alice!!!! A group of my friends is in the middle of doing 100 days (!!!) of gratitude. It has really made us realize the little things we often take for granted, aren’t really little things at all. Best wishes to you, as well.

  2. I never remember when the MCM is held. But, the “people’s marathon” is a major event honoring our vets and our marines- so the one day of havoc it creates for DC traffic (which is generally abysmal anyway) is well worth the event.
    Glad your family is home- and that you honored others who were denied that privilege.

    1. Thanks so much Roy. Definitely worth the traffic!!!! The secret is to coming early and staying late 🙂

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