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Stories that you confided to us

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Anastasiya Kononenko

‘When my mum would come safe and well, I was happy.’

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Kononenko Anastasiya , Lysychansk Secondary General-Education School of I-III Stages no. 13, Lysychansk, Luhansk region

In the "One Day" essay competition, her work took 2nd place.

‘When my mum would come safe and well, I was happy.’
Anastasiya in 2014
‘When my mum would come safe and well, I was happy.’
Anastasiya in 2021

It happened in the summer of 2014… that day my happy, carefree childhood ended! The word “war” is written in big, bloody letters in my autobiography for the rest of my life! I happened to take these circumstances as something that “was destined to occur!” But for me, a ten-year-old girl, it was hard to realize it!

The first gunshots, the first planes, the first explosions from weapons, the first nights spent in the basement… all this remained in the childhood memories of a little girl!

Back then... there was fear in my eyes: ‘What if it hits us right now?’, ‘What will happen if I die?’

When my mother would go home to get some food, those few minutes seemed like long hours. Summer is in full swing, the sun is shining, and you are staying in a cold, damp basement, dressed in winter clothes, keeping your tiny fingers crossed, and with one thought in your mind: ‘I wish she would come back...’ When my mum would come safe and well, I was happy.

Spending weeks in the basement, I began to keep a diary where I wrote down all the emotions I experienced and everything that was happening to us and around us...  And this notebook has survived to this day. When staying there, I began to write some poetry, imagining myself a young poetess, describing the events by candlelight – the only source of heat and light.

Putting my thoughts down on paper, I felt a bit better. After all, I could not, or perhaps at that moment, I did not want to tell everyone how scared I was. I firmly knew I had to be a strong girl!

Days passed, and the “war” was running rampant! I knew the time on the clock when we had to be “heads up”. A sound when we needed to take shelter urgently. There was always a folder with important documents in the entrance hall of our apartment.
Every Tuesday a car with very tasty bread came to our street, and everyone would wait for it. I tried to look for some positive side in everything, for something good. However, the circumstances forbade it!

One day… on 22 August 2015, something happened that I was so afraid of: our apartment was hit by shellfire. We were at home at that time. I was staying in the bathroom, reading a book and trying to distract myself from the shelling, and my mother was busy in the kitchen.

A minute... and a loud noise followed. The floor shook, dust began to rise from under the door... a lot of dust. I screamed with my voice trembling, ‘Mum,’ but I could not hear the answer. Then my heart sank, it was difficult for me to breathe.

In a state of shock and fear, I opened the door, and my eyes…, it was difficult to see something clearly, because there was some haze. I saw my mother. She was sitting on the floor, SHE WAS ALIVE!!! At that moment, nothing else mattered at all! The shell destroyed everything: wallpaper, furniture, our clothes...  The walls were damaged with fragments. It was a terrible day for us!

At the age of ten: my eyes saw the flames of fire, my hands held the remains of weapons, my feet walked on the spent shell casings the yard was covered with, and my heart felt the pain!

Today everything is in the past, but I will never forget those times! For me, peace means life; it is a calm breath, and it is an opportunity to live without fear of death, to sleep at night and not to wake up from every rustling noise!

My dream is to see people seek peace in their souls, in their families, in their country, and in the whole world!

That day is in my memory...

One day... that changed my childhood and later life...

One day!

When quoting a story, a reference to the source – the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation – is mandatory, as follows:

The Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation https://civilvoicesmuseum.org/

Rinat Akhmetov Foundation Civilian Voices Museum
Lysychansk 2014 2015 2021 Text Civilian's stories children 2014 2015 shelling safety and life support children 2021 Shelling of Luhansk Essay Competition 2021
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