Behind the frontline: The sacrifice of military families

Military families may not wear the uniform, but they carry a heavy load so soldiers can serve our country
Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 5:33 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Mackenzie Severs is a military wife to Joshua. Her husband, Staff Sergeant Joshua Severs, is currently deployed with the Army National Guard. “Everyone thanks the soldier and they should. They’re putting their lives on the line every day, but if the soldier didn’t have the backbone of the family, then they’re nothing.”

The Severs are a family of five, but when Joshua is deployed, it feels like a family of four. “Some days are so hard. By five or six o’clock, I just feel like I can’t do it. There’s been so many times I just literally want to run away.”

Mackenzie’s husband Joshua has been with the Army National Guard for sixteen years. Staff Sergeant Severs has been deployed several times and is currently deployed in an undisclosed location.

Audon Severs is the oldest son of three. He says he still can’t get used to his dad leaving. “When he first left I kind of just wouldn’t come upstairs for like months.”

School was a struggle for Audon once his dad left, but he’s adjusting as best he can. “It’s actually something that’s stressful and can push people away and make them depressed, give them anxiety, it’s a struggle.”

Eager for an answer on the other end, the family communicates through Facetime. It’s not ideal but it’s how they get through the day-to-day.

Mackenzie says holidays and birthdays are always the hardest. “Christmas Eve was a very bad day. He wasn’t here; it was the reality sinking in. It had been three months, the reality sunk in that he isn’t here and it’s all on me.”

And explaining their situation to a toddler complicates things. Ridley is four years old and while he knows his dad is gone, he doesn’t fully understand why. “We would pull up and daddy’s car’s here but daddy’s not here. Ridley gets excited because he thinks his dad is home, but he isn’t here.”

Mackenzie tries to keep it together for the kids. She is a member of a few military groups, but the pain of her husband’s deployment is still present. “I cry in the shower when I just can’t take anymore. I try not to let my kids see me cry because then Ridley’s like, ‘What’s wrong, mommy?’”

Our military is often recognized and thanked for its service, but the family who’s left behind also makes a sacrifice. “He’s gone and I know he’ll be back, but goodbyes are the hardest thing to say for some people and they’ve never been so easy for me.”

If you need support please visit these websites for resources provided by

Caregiver Resources and Peer Support –

DoD Military Caregiver Resource Directory –

The TBI Family Podcast for Caregivers –

Courses for Military Veteran Caregivers and Families –

Military Spouse Job Placement and Career Progression –

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