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Liliya Sayenko

‘My memories are full of sadness and despair’

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Liliya Sayenko, Shandryhalove Secondary School, Shandryhalove village, Donetsk Region

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

‘My memories are full of sadness and despair’
‘My memories are full of sadness and despair’
Liliya in 2021

War... How much pain, horror, moaning of human voices, sadness and grief lies behind this short word. How many terrible memories arise in the minds of each of us when we hear it. All these memories are different, but what is common about them is the fact that all of them are full of sadness and despair, losses and tears.

I want to tell you my story about the day when the war started for me personally and my family…

It was just an early summer, and it was so warm outside. The sun was shining so brightly, and the sky was so clear. When I woke up, the golden bright sun was pouring out its hot and shiny splashes everywhere. There were no clouds in the sky. A new day began.

I looked around the room and saw a transparent glass vase on the window. In it camomiles, brought from yesterday’s walk, smiled with their little yellow eyes. I started to dress myself quickly, because today my mother and I wanted to go pick my favourite strawberries. Oh, strawberries were really in abundance then.

When I came out of my room, I saw that my father was going to work, and my mother was cooking breakfast. My parents behaved somewhat strangely: my father did not joke with me, as he usually did, and my mother’s gaze was full of sadness.

We had breakfast, my father left, my mother and I went to the garden to pick strawberries. And then I suddenly heard a strange sound… Something rustled, hissed and howled in the air. Something terrible happened. ‘Ding!’ my mum dropped the bucket with fragrant berries and strawberries rolled over a green carpet of grass.

‘Mum, is this thunder? But it is sunny outside,’ I asked in surprise.
‘No, sweetie, it is not thunder! This is probably a war!’ my mother shouted, grabbed my hand and we quickly ran to the house.

The ground was shaking and the windowpanes were rattling. ‘Ding!’ my favourite vase with yesterday’s camomiles fell from the windowsill and broke. It seemed that the flowers themselves were frightened by what was happening. We tried to call my dad, but there was no telephone connection. And the strange sound did not stop. It became louder and more frequent.

We stayed in the corridor for a long time because my mother said that we could not be in a room with windows. And I really wanted to look out of the window at the helicopters flying low over the river near the garden.

I was a little girl then; I did not understand what was happening. But I felt somewhat sick at heart. I felt that our lives would not be the same as before. It was very scary…

I look at the sky – the sky is crying. I come up to the willow tree – the willow is crying. Even the yellow ears of wheat bowed their heads low. The window is also crying and the window panes are covered with wet streaks. Does it hurt too? Why?! So, why is it crying?! Because the body of my Motherland got a deep wound that aches, hurts and bleeds! And the berries of fragrant strawberries confirmed this, gaining a bloody shade.

Since then, the taste of fresh and juicy strawberries, the scent of tender and cheerful camomiles for me are associated with the day when explosions raged, when terrible voices were heard in my homeland, my emerald Lyman region, and the day when I realized that my Ukraine is in terrible danger. It is associated with the day when the war began for me personally…

It is a pity that humanity is organized in such a way that we do not value simple things until we lose them. So, let’s protect the blue sky and the bright sun above our heads, quiet nights full of scents of steppes and melodious songs of crickets, little bees that hum over bright sunflowers, and kind and cheerful smiles of our loved ones. You ask why? Because all this is peace!

Peace lives in my soul, peace has returned to my Lyman region, and I believe that it will soon reign in my cherry-blossomed Ukraine, which has infinite glory!

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

Rinat Akhmetov Foundation Civilian Voices Museum
Shandryhalove 2014 2021 Text Civilian's stories children 2014 shelling safety and life support children 2021 Essay Competition 2021
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