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Stories that you confided to us

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Oksana Yefymovskykh
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«This war destroyed ma family completely”

She survived shelling in Donetsk and Kramatorsk. She lost her husband. She cannot often see her daughter as she has to earn money - to feed the family.

After all that I had experienced, I picked a lot of chronic diseases due to the constant stress. This war completely destroyed my family. I could not watch my husband and I cannot now be with my child

Until July 2014, my family and I lived in Budonivskyi District, Donetsk. I don't remember what happened in April-July 2014, as I was on maternity leave and I turned a deaf ear to this. In addition, a great grief happened in my family.

My husband was diagnosed with bone cancer, and on 4 March 2014, he had the second tumor removal operation in Kharkov. The operation was not successful. He fell into a coma and remained in that condition for about a week. I was at home, in Donetsk, with the child.  So I was the last to find out about what had happened. I went out of my mind with worry. So I went to Izium to pray to the holy icon.

A few days later, the husband came to his senses. On 14 April, we brought him home, but he couldn’t walk. AL that time until July 2014, I stayed with him, and looked after him. I supported him when he stood on crutches for several seconds.

The possibility of a war did not concern our family. We thought everything would be fine. But on 7 July 2014, a friend of mine called and warned us to leave the city. She told us Donetsk would be liberated the following day.

This news was like a thunderbolt from a clear sky for us. My husband could not move. Given its height of 212 cm, it was impossible to transport him with a stiff leg. We decided that my daughter and I would go to my parents in Dobropillia, and my husband would stay at home to wait for us. Nobody believed that Donetsk would be under fire, and the war would drag on for so long. I just took the child to a safe place. I didn’t want her to feel scared. She was very vulnerable.

We left for just a couple of days. We didn't even take our favorite toys. A week or two passed, but the situation in Donetsk still didn’t change.

Then autumn came, and I had to find a job. In the meantime, my work was relocated to Mariupol. There was no way to return to occupied Donetsk and lumber my elderly mother-in-law who was caring for my husband, with the care for my child. Therefore, Daughter stayed with my mother. And I was forced to provide for my family and went to Mariupol from Dobropillia through Donetsk.

This war destroyed ma family completely”

I left for a week. The other three weeks, I was able to stay at home with my daughter, working on a remote system. On the way back from Mariupol, I stopped by in Donetsk to see my husband. 9 November 2014 was one of those regular when I drove to Donetsk.

We slept peacefully when at three in the morning we heard an unbearable rumbling sound. The whole sky turned red. The windows shook drastically. The whole house seemed to shake. I went out onto the landing. I could hear neighbors screaming in the basement. I also ran after them. The fear I felt was simply indescribable. There were beds with armor nets in the basement, but there were no medicines or water.

People just didn't expect this. Although the city was at war, our area was considered quite safe. I was very worried about my husband, who could not go down. There was no one to ask for help.

I was reassured that it was a Grad launcher initiated somewhere far away. That horror lasted two and a half hours. We heard the launcher do its job and drove away. At 05:30 a.m. I went up to the apartment. The only thing I wanted was to snuggle up to my daughter.

This war destroyed ma family completely”

Husband was also very worried and told me to leave. He was afraid that our daughter might become an orphan. I left the same day. He had to stay in Donetsk.

It seems to me that he was not afraid of death, he was waiting for it. He said that there were so many times he could hear the Grad firing behind our house. Thank God no ‘reply’.

Arriving home, I could not come to my senses for a very long time. Neighbors closed the windows, I was paralyzed with fear. Any noise made me feel shocked.

On 10 February 2015, I was at work in Kramatorsk when the city was under a shell attack. Shells fell 100 meters from the place I work at. Everyone ran out into the corridors and did not know what to do. The most terrible thing for me was to realize that I did not know how things were in Dobropillia and whether my daughter was safe.

It was Tuesday, and I had to be in Kramatorsk until Friday - we were not allowed to go home. And as with the shelling in Donetsk, sleepless nights followed for several months. The war got me here too.

On 27 May 2016, my husband died of cancer. After all that I had experienced, I picked a lot of chronic diseases due to the constant stress. This war completely destroyed my family. I could not watch my husband and I cannot now be with my child, watch her grow up, help her do her homework.

This war destroyed ma family completely”

I have to split between two cities: Dobropillia and Kramatorsk. I have not traveled to Donetsk for about two years. I won’t quit, because I still have hope to return to my native Donetsk together with my colleagues. Being an unemployed single mother is scary even here.

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