Confession to a Ukrainian Mother Killed by Russian Soldiers in Mariupol
A letter to a mother who got murdered trying to save her children from a war zone.
Today is exactly two months since the day a Russian soldier shot you in the stomach in front of my eyes.
We have lived such a quiet normal life in the city of Mariupol in south-eastern Ukraine. You always made my brother and I smile regardless of how difficult it was. And the times were tough.
Since my amazing daddy was killed defending Luhansk in 2015, life has never been the same. We were such a happy and close-knit family, but it all came to a halt when you received the awful news. I saw the light in your eyes disappear, and you were never the same. After some time had passed and we all somewhat recovered, your smile was different. Your smile, your eyes, and even the way you talked changed.
I know you’ve been doing everything you could so that Taras and I could go back to our lives. My poor brother was only one when this happened. I was praying to God he didn’t understand the tragedy that hit our family like a tornado. But he did. I’m ashamed to admit this, but I hoped he didn’t remember dad. But I think he did. How can a son forget the father that loved him so much and would have given his life for him?
It’s not only our family that dad was willing to give up with life for; it was also his country. Dad was ready never to come back home so that families like ours, children like us, mothers like you, and everyone else had a chance at survival and normal life. Our wonderful, caring, strong, and brave daddy died defending his country and our family — and thousands of others.
When the Russian army entered Mariupol shortly after attacking Ukraine from three fronts, we hoped for the best. “The best” was quite a stretch considering we’d have to live under another country’s military occupation for an indefinite amount of time. But we had no idea how bad it would get.
I will never forget how I have been leaving the bomb shelter early morning to scavenge for food and water. I will never forget how we had to collect snow, melt…