Fathers and Children

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May 24, 2015

Fathers and Children

By Yevdokiya Sheremetyeva (“littlehiroshima”)

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

Aunt Galya is famous. Both she and her house were shown on TV.
But what am I saying?
They showed on TV tens of homes from her home village. As soon as you enter Chernukhino, right now everything is green, in full bloom. But behind the trees there are ruins. You can’t see the ruins. You’d think it’s not all that bad. 
Chernukhino became world-famous this winter. It’s close to Debaltsevo, what else need I say?
But what am I saying?
That’s not the point. The point is Aunt Galya.

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Aunt Galya barely climbs down the stairs of her house.
There is a rickety railing by the entrance. One’s afraid to lean on it.
–Aunt Galya, where should I take the humanitarian aid?
The old lady is confused. Her eyes can’t focus, are wondering over everything.
The house is destroyed, there’s no roof in places. She heats with coal.
–Guys, could you get us something for the roof? Could you ask with the administration?
–We are not a foundation, we collect ourselves. We don’t have construction materials. But we’ll try to find out. Do you have children?
–One died. Before everything started.
–And the other one?
–He’s far away. In Pavlovograd.

–Does he help?
–How? There’s a war.
She falls silent. I’m embarrassed. I’m afraid to ask more questions but she’s standing next to me and it’s clear she doesn’t want to believe in what is happening.
My fists are clenching. Far away. War. Goddamit, this is your mother!
–Not once. But he can’t get through. Besides, it’s dangerous. 
Aunt Galya, I can’t, I can’t say anything with you present. Let’s leave it at that. Far away. War. Can’t get through.

Across the street lives Grandma Zoya.
She’s 83 years old and she lives alone. She’s sometimes visited by her younger sister, and they often argue. I ask the locals.
–Are there children?
–Yes, one daughter died, another is somewhere abroad.
Zoya finds it difficult to walk. It took us several minutes to walk to her kitchen to carry in the aid. She walks on two crutches. The home is in a bad shape, smells, dirt. She finds it difficult enough to walk, let alone take care of things…
–Zoya, where’s your daugher?
–I don’t remember. Abroad.
–Does she help? Send money?
–No, of course not! She’s far away and there’s a war on, it’s difficult!
–And whose fault is that?
I caught myself. Why, why did I blurt that out?
Zoya was in no way embarrassed, she is a very positive and smiley woman:
–Well, what is she to do? She’s really far away. But she saw me on TV, she calls and says, “Mom, I saw you!”
Can you imagine what she saw on TV? I won’t remind you in what circumstances Chernukhino was shown on TV. Human corridors, the “road of life”, endless shelling, boobytraps in houses. And KIA, KIA, KIA, to use military lingo.
As we were leaving, Grandma Zoya suddenly said:
–Oh, I remembered, she lives in Canada!
–Does she have kids?
–Yes, of course,  I have a granddaughter. She also lives there.

 Dear daughter and grand-daughter of Grandma Zoya, I hope you read this text.
Unfortunately, such cases are not rare there. When children simply abandon their own parents and don’t help them. They solve their own problems at home. It’s hard. It’s far away. War. Can’t get through.
Often the old people don’t leave and the kids can’t take them along due to the unwillingness to part with their hometowns, but children still constantly help. I have friends in Lugansk, those who did not leave, only because of their parents’ stubbornness. Various stories.
But there are also many stories like Grandma Zoya’s and Aunt Galya’s.
 I don’t even hope that their children see this and their conscience reawakens.
But I hope this will be read by hundreds of other children whose parents are alone, abandoned in the midst of this hell.
Those who can barely walk, who have hardly anything left.
And who are fed by strangers, like ourselves, who managed to get through no matter what. Who are not getting paid for this, who have own matters to attend to, who have their own elderly and ill parents and school-age children. 
Stop lying to yourselves.
Your parents think only about you.
 You are their whole life. 

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