Hear An Emotional Phone Call With an Old Friend in Ukraine
My wife Beth and her sister Kathy had an emotional phone call with an old family friend in Ukraine on Sunday that left us sad and concerned for her and her family.
Slava was my mother-in-law's live-in caretaker from 2011 until 2016. She had come to America in 2006 to work in the same role with another family. Slava lived a very modest life during her time in the U.S. and sent most of her earnings back to her family in Ukraine. This is a common practice in Ukraine where jobs that pay a decent salary are hard to come by.
When my mother-in-law went into a nursing home, Slava returned to Ukraine to reunite with her family for the first time in ten years. Slava's family lives in the town of Ternopil, which is in western Ukraine, 290 miles from Kyiv.
Slava has two sons and a daughter. Her sons left Ukraine some time ago for work in other countries. Her daughter and her family live close by to Slava's home. Slava had gone to stay with them and eight other relatives for a time after Russia invaded their country.
When we spoke to Slava on Sunday, she said that she had returned to her own home because the tension of the war had caused her blood pressure to rise and she felt that it would be easier to be alone for the time being.
Even though the west of Ukraine has been spared the worst of the fighting and bombing so far, Slava told us that they can hear the explosions in the distance and have taken to hiding in their basement several times a day when the blasts are heard.
We spoke with Slava last Sunday for the first time in several years and the conversation was emotional but warm and friendly as we caught up with stories of one another's lives. You could tell that Slava was understandably scared but we tried to keep the conversation light in tone.
This Sunday, the level of fear and concern in Slava's voice was noticeably higher, and she broke down crying several times and struggled at times to find the words in English to explain her situation.
During their conversation, it occurred to Beth to record the remainder of the phone call on her iPad, which she played back to me afterward.
I have added a link to that portion of their conversation below so you may hear what it is like for an average citizen in Ukraine who is struggling through the stress of this unprovoked invasion of her country.
Please keep Slava and her family in your thoughts.