Stories that you confided to us
My husband and I are from the same village. We have known each other since long ago, since childhood. But he was older and I was younger. He used to work here in a mine, while I worked in Russia, in Yartsev, at a textile mill. He came here for his leave, and I came for holidays. We got acquainted and then stayed in touch by correspondence. And then later, it so happened by itself that we got married.
In recent years, his health gave way, especially in 2016–2017. In 2016, he went through an inflammation, and in 2017, he got it again. And he got so sick that we thought he was done. He ceased eating. During two weeks, he was drinking only milk and tea. Then, he resumed taking some food little by little. He has a sweet tooth. He likes sweets and biscuits. So, he would eat either some biscuit or a candy.
He was in bed for two months. I was spoon feeding him and he was very weak. He is generally so slim and skinny. Well, little by little, I was cooking some broth for him. I shouted and railed, and forced him to take at least one spoon, at least a bit of some food.
Once children would come, I said: ‘Come on, grandfather, try to get up.’ First, he would be sitting, and then he began to come out to the kitchen table. He would grab hold of something like that and would sit down slowly. He would be sitting, would take a spoon or two and go back. So, little by little, he resumed it… Now, it is good, he can walk.
I have health problems too. Problems with my heart, blood pressure, and diabetes. I get up in the morning, take a tonometer and measure it – ok, the blood pressure is fine. So, no need to take a pill. If I feel like things float before my eyes, I don’t know why, either because of sugar or because of blood pressure – I measure blood pressure then. So, I take a pill, lie down for some time, and then begin to light up the stove as my husband starts freezing. He shouts: ‘I am cold! I am freezing! Heat the house faster!’
During the first year of the war, he still was going fishing. Well, that was fun, I was laughing. He is deaf. Well, back then, he could still hear something, more or less. He went fishing. When he then came back, he told me this. ‘I was sitting and fishing. Suddenly, something whistled above my ear. I heard some bang! I realized it was shellfire. I quickly packed up all my fishing rods and took to my heels.’ I said: ‘I told you not to go there anymore. It is not the time to go fishing now.’
The war affected everyone, absolutely everyone. It made us 20 years older. Were we like that before the war? We can hardly recognize ourselves now. Sometimes you meet somebody you know and we do not recognize each other. We stop and say: ‘Is that you?’ The war placed its print on everyone.
I used to run to the cellar during the shelling. And then one shell hit our neighbour’s cellar and I ceased running down there. I then would just sit near the stove. Once heavy shellfire begins, I would fall on the floor and remain lying. While my husband was lying in bed all the time without moving anywhere.
We have been living together with him for 51 years now. There is not any secret. Somebody just needs…If there is some conflict, if we start quarrelling, someone just needs to back off a bit. As they say, to shut up, to hold back and that’s it. And things quiet down, everything settles down again.