Much has happened in the last month. We received some news recently which lifted a heavy burden off of our hearts. My son will not deploy to Afghanistan. He will go to his original assignment instead.

We are elated but know this could still change. He was ready to go and we are proud of him for that. We are proud of his willingness to put himself in harm’s way for our great nation. Don’t get me wrong, our hearts are still burdened knowing his unit is going. Military families, active and retired, always carry that burden when we know our service men and women are putting their lives on the line.

I feel as though I can breathe again. Even as I do, I think back to when my husband was in Afghanistan. I think of when our son was there his first time. I acknowledge and feel deeply for the families who have lost loved ones over the years while serving in faraway lands. Their loss weighs on them every single day. I wish it weren’t so but it is.

I remember when my husband deployed that year. Whew, did that weigh on me. I couldn’t sleep at first. I had to keep it together for the kids, my friends and the other spouses in the unit. I knew we had to settle into a new normal during that time. We did.

Then my son deployed. I was a hot mess. It’s different when you send the one you carry than the one you marry. As a military spouse, we prepare ourselves for the possibility of them not returning home. When it’s your child, it ups the ante. Not just for the mom but for the dad too. In our case, he was the service member. He had already been. He knew what it was like.

I will just breathe but my heart will be heavy knowing his unit is heading into harm’s way.

April Pedersen is mother of three children and grandmother of two. She lives in Lansing.