“My husband was shot from a tank, he died, and the child stopped talking”

Until February 24, the life of Yulia from Zaporizhzhia was not easy, but happy. She and her husband moved from the communal house to their own house. The dream child was born. But the war destroyed the lives of this and many other Ukrainian families.

We met Yulia in the camp of the “Unbreakable Mom” project, where she, along with other women and children, underwent psychological rehabilitation after the mental trauma caused by the war. For three weeks, Yulia worked daily with a team of psychologists on a joint shift of the camp from the “Masha Fund” and the Saving Lives Humanitarian Project, and learned to live anew. At the end of her shift, she was even able to tell us her story.

– Before the war, my family lived a happy life: we had just moved from the communal house to our own house. Although it is only a third of the house, it was our own. The daughter we dreamt of was born. My husband, my Sasha, was building another room for us. And he also had a dream – to hang the entire wall in the house with photos from our anniversaries. Now there are nine pictures. And there will be no tenth.

On February 23, I lived my last happy day. My husband came home from work for a couple of hours, and we took our little daughter and went for a walk. The sun was shining, and we were happy.

From the very beginning of the war, my husband said that he would not hide from the army and that he wanted to defend the country. He himself went to the military, but they did not take him – there was no need for people.

In Zaporizhzhia, we live next to an oil depot. It was often fired upon. At the end of April, my husband was outside when the shelling began. Our military shot down the missile, but the debris flew everywhere. One of them flew over Sasha’s head. He fell to the ground in time, so he survived.

Later, a military notice was brought to my husband. As he had said before, he did not hide from service. And very soon, Sasha’s unit was sent to the Donetsk region. Together with his brother, he went scouting. They were noticed by the Russian military. And they started shooting at them from a tank. The second guy was badly injured but survived. And my husband did not. He did not live to see his 32nd birthday.

I was not informed about this for a long time. Therefore, there was only a day to organize the funeral. And the very next day it was 9 days since Sasha died. I don’t remember the preparation, I don’t remember the ceremony. There was a veil in front of my eyes, I was constantly crying. And our child, our 2-year-old Alisa, cried with me. My parents are dead, and so is my husband. I was left with debts for the house and an unfinished room, which Sasha did not have time to finish. I did not know how to live with all this further. I looked at our photo wall and cried, I looked at the bricks that my husband used to build the walls of our room, and I cried, I looked at the batteries that he installed himself, and I cried. The child closed in on herself, stopped talking for a while, and started having tantrums.

I understood that I was drowning. That I needed help. But I did not know where to get it. And I found it at the “Unbreakable Mom” camp. Everything cures you here: psychologists, art therapy classes, and a view of the mountains from the window. My Aliska started playing with other children, she started smiling again. And I can talk about my husband. I can hold his things in my hands. I still cry a lot, but it’s the pain that is leaving me. I have a long way ahead of me, I’ll continue to work with a psychologist. But I understand that I have someone to live for. I have our sunshine, our daughter, our Alice.


About the project:


The “Unbreakable Mom” rehabilitation program was specially developed by specialists in psychology and post-traumatic syndromes for women and children affected by war. This is a 3-week offline camp, where psychologists work with project participants, and then provide them with online support for three months. The shift on which our heroine underwent rehabilitation was organized by the “Masha Fund” together with the DO IT TOGETHER Charitable Foundation, which is part of the Saving Lives Humanitarian Project of the Metinvest Group.

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