Posts like this one are very hard to write and we put them off until the end. I was srecently asked how Liliya was doing and I realized that I was subconsciously evading talking about it. Liliya has been dying and everyone, including herself, know that but there is nothing to be done. Liliya has terminal cancer which is irreversible. Moreover, the woman has no relatives who could help and visit her. Only her son, who is in need of assistance himself. When I was in Lugansk in late April I was not able to visit Liliya. I couldn’t find the strength.
Liliya is burning out and we realize she can die at any moment. I wanted to write that Liliya is alive thanks to a miracle and it’s improbable that she’s still alive at all given her diagnosis. Last fall she was given weeks. But I know this miracle has a name–our Lena.
She visits Liliya three times a week. Three times a week she spends hours with Liliya, supporting her, keeping her company. Three times a week she brings Liliya food, diapers, which are indispensable. Also brings medications which the hospice can’t provide. And she’s like a squeezed out lemon after every visit.
Lena, there are no words which can express that kind of gratitude.
Novosvetlovka has communications problems and there’s still no TV, which was her only distraction. Zhenya calls the village “a black hole” where there is no reception at all, so it’s hard to call and find out how things are.
She spent 4 months at a cancer hospice in Lugansk, not the standard 28 days. That was a miracle in itself. I don’t know who came up with these regulations, but they are savagely harsh. What can be done in that less-than-a-month, after which you are discharged into a vacuum? And there are also waiting lists, so getting in in the first place is nearly impossible.
I remember her the way she is in this photo, not despairing and not giving in.
Smiling and happy for everything, through the pain and suffering.