This is Galina Grigoryevna and her great-grandson Seryozha.
Just think about it. She is raising him.
His mother, her daughter, died in the fall.
Zhenya writes after a visit, delivering aid:
“Yulya died in November, five days short of Seryozha’s birthday. Her state worsened: fever, high blood pressure. Ambulance took her. A month of IVs, injections–things got better. Fever went away, blood pressure stabilized. She was discharged. Came home, in the morning things got worse. Ambulance came, gave her shots. She got better but still felt weak. In the evening she asked for some soup. Galina Grigoryevna cooked it, Yulya ate it with pleasure and…died. Her heart stopped. They didn’t even have time to call the emergency number. Three children were left behind…” The boy’s father died of kidney failure in 2012.
Seryozha is the same age as my daughter. His mother was a little older than me. Still very young.
How many such young people had passed away, due to heart attacks, strokes, other crises? And then the grandmothers have to pull the grandchildren along. How many such stories have you read here?
Is it hard to read? Hard to accept?
The grandmothers are doing everything within their power to prevent the kids from going to a shelter. To keep them home. With relatives.
Great-grandmothers, dear Lord!
Information noise is driving me nuts. Approval ratings, Zelenskiy, Timoshenko. As soon as you start reading the newsfeed you want to stop forever. But here is something addictive in this senseless staring at the screen.
I lost the thread of the present. Senses are coming and going, leaving me in a confused state. All these news in my feed are mixed with posts about people dying at the border, another shelling, and more civilian deaths on the Donbass. Schizophrenia
But let me instead tell you about our Seryozha and Vika.
Seryozha is doing fine. One day at a time, no changes.
After the summer heart attack, we’re glad to be able to say “no changes”.
The retirement home is warm but boring. We try to think up something, but it’s not working.
People need to live at home, after all.
And old friend of mine recently confessed that he unsubscribed from me and can’t read me anymore. But I want to defend myself!
This blog is not all that pessimistic. I would even say that from time to time it promotes optimism. I write about the difficult lives of people, and that can’t be avoided. But we and our friends do more than write about it. We do a lot to make things better. And succeed only because someone reads those posts.
I can brag about all the good things we’ve done over the last four years. But it would be more correct to say that it would be better if we did not have anything to write about, and those we write about were leading normal, happy lives. Children and parents were alive, houses were whole, and everyone was healthy. But I can’t change that. I can’t resurrect, make whole again. I can’t end the war. There are many things which are beyond my control.
But we can do some things!
For example, such minor things as help Elena Vladimirovna and her granddaughter Natasha fix heating pipes.
A seemingly small thing, but when the whole family is freezing, sleeps fully clothed, and never leaves that one room, it’s not a small thing. Which moreover is financially beyond the family’s means.
I have been writing about Seryozha less and less frequently, even though he’d become one of the main heroes of our blog.
Everyone’s been laughing at me because of the mustache, for Seryozha shaved it off six months after we became acquainted. He went and shaved it off. Lena comes to see him, looks, points with a finger: “Mustache, Seryozha, where’s the mustache?”
Seryozha touches that part of his face where the mustache ought to be and looks puzzled. Lena wags her finger: “Mustache, Seryozha, it’s very important!”
Everyone had a laugh.
Seryozha grew back his mustache. I never saw him without one. Then I came to see him in the retirement home in Lugansk, shortly after his leg was amputated. He looks at me, smiles, and says: “Here I am, with a mustache!” His eyes were gleaming with mischief.
We’ve been taking care of Seryozha since the spring of 2015, when we met him in Khryashchevatoye. He was homeless, lived in a barrack without water or electricity, had progressive polyarthritis. A few weeks later he had a bad fall. It was a miracle he survived it, but a leg had to be amputated.
Much happened since then, and he’s become one of “ours”. To read more about him, click on the “Kutsenko” tag at the bottom of this post.
How’s he doing?
Well, our happy-go-lucky-guy is beginning to give in..
Granny Tanya turned 95 so we paid her a visit.
Well, not “we”, of course, but our friends Lena and Zhenya. I’m in Moscow. And they are over there. In Lugansk.
In LPR. On the Donbass. In the middle of war.
Also in the middle of that war lives a single old lady who turned 95 who had nobody to bring her birthday wishes.
–Nobody’s given me flowers in 50 years…
There are great many single grandmothers on the Donbass. One doesn’t want to moralize here, you can do that without me. But it’s a fact–there are many women with children, including with multiple children, abandoned by husbands. And yes, unfortunately, many of these “dads” vanished right in 2014 during the fighting. Of course, these men have their own “truth” which, to be honest, I’m not interested in. They left to get work and then bring family along, but vanished along the way. Or there were disagreements, or he fell in love with someone else.
But there’s also a separate category of women who raise women on their own–grandmothers. Usually they are the parents of fathers or mothers who were raising their own kids, but left this world. So these grandmothers, many of whom are disabled, are left raising their grandchildren. Many of them can’t work anymore, but the kids have to be fed and clothed. That’s how it is.
There are many like that among the people we care for. There’s nobody else to help them. And it’s sad when you see elderly people with very young kids.
Taisiya Ivanovna is once again in hospital.
She was taken there right from the neuro-pathologist’s office, where she was on a routine visit after the stroke. Her right side started to go numb. So she was taken straight from the office to the hospital ward in the midst of an episode. More medications, more tests.
She’ll be there for two weeks, then the doctors will decide. Our Zhenya persuaded the doctor who saved him and Lena in 2016 to look to Taisiya. You remember, I wrote back then the two of them found themselves at the hospital practically at the same time.
We started to help Taisiya and her grandson only recently. Sasha’s mom and Taisiya’s daughter died from a shell fragment which cut open her belly right in front of the boy. She was hit in 2014, but she suffered for two more years with mangled stomach and intestines which the surgeons had to put back together in primitive conditions at the hospital with no electricity.
Lana married young. She went far away to live with her lover, got pregnant, but the beatings started almost immediately. It was so bad the girl ran off with her newborn to mother. The three of them have been living together ever since on the Pobedonosnaya St. in Lugansk. Those who spent 2014 in Lugansk know that in August artillery shells came in every day. Lana described how she saw “a woman torn in half” while waiting in line for water distribution.
There was no water, no electricity, no phone service. One could survive without many things, but not without bread and water. People came out of their apartments to get them, right under the shells.
I remember very well how the locals and Zhenya described August of that year at the time, shortly after these events. People could hardly bring themselves to talk about it. And if they did, only with trembling voices and flowing tears. Zhenya: “At that time, the ‘liberators’ were entertaining themselves by shooting at people who stood in line for water and bread, and where there was still phone service. Hundreds of people would meet there to send news to their relatives they were still alive. But the spotters worked there too.”
I remember how Zhenya told us about going to the roof to catch a phone connection to send a text message he’s still alive. There were no communications, but it was clear the city was under fire.
Lena visited our Seryozha. He was transferred from Intensive Care to an ordinary room.
He really scared us, the villain.
He’s joking and cursing, but good-naturedly, and of course he’s the main raconteur in the room. I have never met anyone who has known all the existing anecdotes in the world. I always collect them to surprise him. And it’s a rare case when he hasn’t heard something. He nearly always completes them after hearing two words. That’s how he entertains the whole room.
Only one nurse can get him out of bed. Seryozha always replies “I’m getting married, you’re mine!”
That’s his spirit.
Seryozha has had a heart attack.
He’s now in emergency care. He’s not allowed visitors, but his condition is stable.
We’ve been in phone contact. But to be honest, we’re in shock.
The doctors say it was most likely caused by the joint pain medication which he constantly takes. It turns out it may cause heart attacks and strokes…
I’m no doctor so can’t comment.
If only we knew…