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Stories that you confided to us

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Nadiya Fylypivna Poltavska
age: 50
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Shchastia
Shchastia
"I came under fire and heard with horror how the five-story house was rumbling"

They lived happily in Shchastia, until the war came. They stayed in basements during the attacks. Nadiya Fylypivna worked at the school for 50 years. She dreams that one day she will be able to return to her hometown and meet her pupils on the streets. People have left this place.

At first, it did not even seem like it was a war. We did not know who was shooting. Where? With what? We did not know. Only when they were in an open area, we crouched down and took cover when shells flew over our heads.

Our family of Poltavskyi has lived in the city of Shchastia since 1970. Having graduated from the Institute, my husband was sent to Kazakhstan to work for the all-union shock-work construction–the construction of the Bukhara-Ural gas pipeline. Having finished the project, we came to Ukraine. My husband, Mykola Dmytrovych Poltavskyi, was born in the city of Shchastia. So he returned to his small homeland. Here we had two sons – Ihor and Serhii.

Our family was one of the most respected in the city. Husband worked as a chief engineer in the construction department. He was an intelligent man in all respects. He was decent, honest, very principled, clever, and he was very profound in any sector of economy. He was a role model for the children. They tried to be like him when they grew up.

I, Nadiya Fylypivna Poltavska, am a teacher by profession. I worked at school for 50 years. I help various managerial positions. I was organizer of extracurricular activities and acting head teacher for some time. Children loved  and respected me.

I came under fire and heard with horror how the five-story house was rumbling

Sons Ihor and Serhii followed in their father's footsteps. They got degrees in civil engineering. The younger son finished the post-graduate studies and worked as a teacher at the Institute for some time.

Everything was perfect. Everyone was enjoying life. Then husband retired. The eldest son started working as an engineer and then department deputy head at Luhansk Power Association LLC (LPA). The younger one went to work at the Schastia Lyceum of Automobile Transport as a deputy director for educational and industrial work. Everything was fine. We had bright plans, but they did not succeed.

The war came into our homes

At first, it did not even seem like it was a war. We did not know who was shooting. Where? With what? We did not know. Only when they were in an open area, we crouched down and took cover when shells flew over our  heads.

At this time, the wife of the eldest son was pregnant. The delivery date was still far off. But the sounds of flying and exploding shells, shots brought a lot of stress. She was admitted to the hospital in Kharkiv,  because the baby had many pathologies. And she lay there for four months before giving birth. The doctors told us all this was caused by a "war trauma".

I came under fire and heard with horror how the five-story house was rumbling

Because of the military actions, the LPA was divided: some workers remained in Luhansk, others went to work in Starobilsk. So son went to Starobilsk. There is no place to live. We did not have any relatives or friends in this city. Where should we live? My wife was about to give birth. I found a house a few kilometers from Starobilsk and rented a house...

When wife gave birth, son was in the hospital, in the intensive care unit — heart. Doctors would say it again that that was a "war trauma" again.

After being discharged from the hospital, we spent some time in Kharkiv with friends, while the child was under the supervision of doctors.

Then they moved to rented housing. But they didn't live there long either. Although there was no shooting, no exploding shells, no rumbling of tanks and military vehicles at night, it was not a peaceful life. All this affected the nervous systems of the nursing mother and the newborn baby. So they left into the blue, to an unknown city, where they had no relatives, friends, or even acquaintances.

I came under fire and heard with horror how the five-story house was rumbling

I came to visit them. I could not withstand explosions in the streets and shells hitting residential buildings any more. I was hit on the street by shelling twice. I sat in basements and heard with horror and fear how a five-story house vibrated, how windows shattered everywhere around. Our house was also hit by shells and broken windows.

When I was left alone in this big but strange house, in a strange village where you don't know a single person, where at night there is dead silence and dead darkness, I was literally shocked. I didn't go out for a week, locked all the locks, closed all the windows, and sat huddled in the corner of the sofa, crying. It was so terrifying, so horrible. What was there to be afraid of? All and everything. The doctors told us all this was caused by a "war trauma".

But I was afraid to go home to Shchastia. They shot and killed there. But my youngest son stayed there.

He stayed in the city. He and his colleagues had jobs. The teaching situation went on. However, it was not as it was before. Still, they did the best they could.

Now the eldest son and his entire family are regarded as internal refugees. He has a job. There is no job for the wife, although she has three degrees (higher education). Son is growing up, but he is often ill. They have to rent an apartment. They pay a lot of money for it (and in Shchastia and Luhansk they still have their own apartments).

The younger son works at the same place. But he has to deal with some changes. Three vocational schools (lyceums) were combined into one educational institution. Son lost his previous position.Unable to bear the separation from my son and newborn grandson, I went to them in the summer of 2016. I had to go on the top shelf when I was returning. I warned the railroads conductor that it was difficult for me, a 70-year-old woman, to get on the top shelf. I was afraid that I would fall down. He didn't respond to my requests.

And my fears were not unreasonable. I fell off the shelf at night,while I was sleeping (and I was dreaming about the war again), the sound of the train wheels sounded like rifle shots). As a result, I had a closed fracture of the spine. The treatment was long. I was admitted to the hospital. Then I had to stay in bed for a long time. And now, in 2017, I have to undertake constant medical examination.

Having submitted all the necessary documents to our Shchatia City Council to receive financial assistance for treatment, I still haven't received it. At this time, my friends and girlfriends help me both physically and mentally.

In addition, I found new friends and acquaintances. Our Community Center has created various groups sponsored by the English community. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name. Women of all ages go there, even people like me and older.

The most important thing is communication, which we, lonely old people, so lack. And that's all we need.

I wish peace, balance, silence would come. My heart is still in my mouth every time I hear any knocking sound. I wish my children and grandchildren would be sound and safe. My biggest dream is to see the city of Shchastia as it was before: clean, cozy, hospitable, lively, and joyful. I wish I could meet  my former students on the streets (they left in different directions), that the old peaceful, happy life was revived in our small town.

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