Lidiya Yakovlevna’s War

Perhaps you recall this woman?
I wrote about her in May. Her name is Lidiya Yakovlevna. We visited her at home a year prior to that post.
Actually, not at home. She and her husband lived in a dorm–their apartment in Pervomaysk suffered from the shelling and became uninhabitable. The old lady can’t hear at all. Her husband took care of her. A year later we learned he became bedridden and then she started to take care of him. Her husband. It was a complete role reversal. She got renewed will to live and she once again began to walk, even though prior to that she hardly got out of bed…That’s when we took that photo.

In May, within maybe two weeks of our departure, Lidiya Yakovlevna broker a leg, and Pervomaysk’s social workers did not know what to do with them. They had no kids, no relatives at all. Or at least that’s what they said. The old couple was in dire straits. Pervomaysk had no water supply for a long time, it had to be brought in from the street in bottles up to the second floor. They were constantly helped by social workers. The wonderful Olya.

Then it turned out Lidiya has a niece in Teplogorsk. They got in touch with her, and she brought them in almost at once.
Shortly after that, Khanaf Minutdinovich, Lidiya’s husband, died.
I don’t know how she is doing right now.
But I remember Khanaf Minutdinovich very well–a welcoming and intelligent elderly gentleman. He kept putting his hand to his ear due to poor hearing. And kept joking. With us. And had such a warm smile. He had a very soft but mischievous smile. Had. Lidiya Yakovnevna lay in bed and kept looking in one spot. But they held on to each other. Olya said they lived and waited until their apartment is fixed up, where their whole life was. Where almost everything burned down. Everything that apartment contained. The whole life of this elderly couple, whom the war found at this age…
And now Khanaf Minutdinovich is no more.
I don’t know–right now I’m imagining Lidiya Yakovlevna looking up at that one spot, with her hands neatly folded together. I wanted to write “little hands”, but my hand twitched. I don’t like diminutives. But she really did have such petite hands. She was tiny, quiet, and neat old woman. With petite hands…Now she’s alone, without husband or apartment. I don’t know if she’s still alive after all she’s experienced, including living in the cellars and the bombardments of 2014-15.
What can better express the true nature of war than the fate of people like her?

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