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Hug your kids!

Today we were talking with Katia for 3 hours.

She is also from Mariupol. She is 16 and has a five-year-old brother.

The following are her words that I wrote down:

“Do you know that feeling when it hurts? I once fell in love with a boy, but he didn’t like me back, and I thought that hurt. It turned out that it hurts to see my mother dying in front of me. And my brother still comes up to her and says, “Mommy, don’t sleep, you’ll freeze.” And we will never visit her grave. She remained in the damp and dark basement.

We went to the toilet, slept, and ate leftovers in the same basement. And once uncle Kolia caught a pigeon, it was probably the fifth or sixth day, and we fried it and ate it. And then we all vomited.

My mom held on until the end, she died 3 days before our evacuation.

I told my brother that she was fast asleep and should not be awakened. But I guess he figured it out. He figured it out when our neighbor died, and we could not carry her out, and she began to stink. Then it was quiet and uncle Kolia carried her out, but he blew himself up on a mine trap. My mom cried a lot. After the death of my dad, uncle Kolia was the closest person.

…corpses stink so much. They were everywhere. I covered my brother’s eyes with my mother’s scarf so that he would not see this. While we were running, I nearly vomited several times.

I no longer believe in your God. If He was there, we wouldn’t suffer so much. My mother never, you hear, never did anything bad. She didn’t even leave uncle Kolia overnight in another room until they got married. She went to church and went to confession often, and so did I. Uncle Kolia even quit smoking so that mom would not worry about it being a sin. And your God just simply took her away. There the priest said something to me that my mother would serve God, but it would be better if she served here, bringing us up.

I hate Russia. My own uncle lives there. Do you know what he told me on the phone today? “Katia? Who is Katia? Girl, I don’t know you. What war, what Katia?” And then he wrote from a fake number: “Katia, do not write to me. It is dangerous for me and my family. You can’t bring your mom back.”

I hate them! She was his own sister?! How is it possible?

…you know, I think that I will return to Mariupol. And I will live in the same place. And every time, on the same day, I will go down to the basement of a new house and lay flowers.

It’s also scary when children cry because they can’t cry. They can’t, otherwise, someone will hear them. These freaks found people in basements and killed them. Those who survived said that the Russian military could rape children, the elderly, and even corpses.

If there is a God, why does He allow this?

I don’t want to live anymore. We’ll probably be separated now. And I might not see my brother. Why? Why did this putin save us? We had a good life, we even bought a car. Uncle Kolia promised to teach me how to drive. They burned even that car. And there is no flat. I want to die, but I can’t.

…hug your kids! Otherwise, you will be gone, and they will not remember your smell. If I survive and then have children, I will be hugging them day and night.”

Ukrainian Text by Vira Khvust, translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team — Apr 12, 2022

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