Tetyana says, "Each morning I can barely find strength and courage to face the day."
Tetyana, 41, and her four children, aged four to 16, live in a village in western Ukraine. They settled here in 2015 after fleeing the conflict in the east. But this year, tragedy struck their family, as it has so many Ukrainians.
“It was just an ordinary day,” Tetyana said. “My husband Dmytro went to work at the car wash as usual. His last phone call was about buying vegetables to make canned preserved food.
“The next phone call I got was from the military police. They told me a missile had hit the carwash area and they needed me to come.
Suddenly I found myself on the floor, with my daughter kneeling beside me, asking if I was okay.”
For the next 44 days, Dmytro fought for his life in hospital. When Tetyana rushed to see him, he was badly injured and couldn’t speak.
“He was in a very bad way,” Tetyana said. “He couldn’t speak a word, but he looked worried and restless. His eyes were full of suffering and pain. As his head was wounded, his speech centers were damaged.
“Later I found out that Dmytro was washing a client’s car at the time. The client was standing nearby, and he was killed immediately.
“I prayed a lot, and the children waited for their father to come home. My older daughters cried.
“His condition kept getting worse. In his last days he was motionless. I was desperately looking for a sign he would improve, at least a move of the finger.
But then he died…”
His little boy, four-year-old Sasha, had a very special bond with his dad as the baby of the family, and is mourning in his own unique way.
“Sometimes he acts as though his father is still here. He’ll sometimes ask the others to be quiet because father is sleeping. Recently he took out the hammer and nails, just as his dad would have done, and played that he was fixing something,” Tetyana said.