Yana, 60, is remembering the first few weeks of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. She lives in what was once an small industrial town, but is now caught between two warring sides of the ongoing war.
Inside Yana’s home, the furniture is worn. The walls and ceiling are in need of desperate repair and her husband is bedridden following a spinal injury. There are scattered photos all over the bed that show him and his wife when they were young.
As Yana sits next to her husband, he holds her hand and says, “Here is the love of my life.”
Yana’s two grandsons, Danylo and Maksym, now live with them.
“Before the war, the boys’ parents divorced,” Yana said. “Their father went abroad and their mother moved to another town with her sons and remarried. Then the war started, and we were separated, since they lived in the occupied zone.”
Yana began to cry, but her grandson, Maksym said again and again: “Don’t cry Granny, everything is okay now.”
Yana continued, “Not long after, the boys’ mother was diagnosed with cancer and died a couple of months later. The stepfather was treating the boys badly and we were so afraid for them. I knew I had to do something.”