Have you seen this beauty with full, rosy cheeks? That’s Vika!)
Our little Sun of Lugansk!
It’s difficult to retell the story of the last three years, after all, we almost lost her.
Recently I was reminded by my old post from February 2016 when we brought Vika from Lugansk to Moscow for eye therapy, in the hopes of restoring eyesight. Her brother died due to stress and problems with insulin in wartime conditions. The family was in really bad trouble–no salaries were being paid in LPR, the bombing stopped only six months earlier and people were still not themselves (will they ever be, though?).
The father hasn’t had contact with the family for years. Vika’s grandmother was bedridden and she constantly needed diapers for which they had no money. It was impossible to take her along. Vika stopped eating and, more importantly, lost the will to live.
One could understand that–many didn’t know how to keep on living. No wages, no benefits, no money, no work, on top of that war and uncertainty that is still with them. I know cases of fathers harming themselves due to the sense of helplessness. Vika was a diabetic, and the several weeks of hunger and depression made her blind.
That wasn’t all–she lost two front teeth, she’s had kidney problems, she was in a downward spiral. We fought to preserve her eyesight, even managed to take her to Moscow, but instead she had to be treated for TB which was discovered there.
You thought our New Year posts have come to an end? No, there is more!
There is a community of the blind in Lugansk, which includes our Vika. They have holiday parties, and we conveyed New Year greetings to them. It seems nobody has done that before us…
The tree celebration was in early January. I did not attend, but Lena and Zhenya recorded everything)))
–Mom, give me your hand.
Vika jumps onto the couch, spreads her hands, and fixes her long, lovely hair. Sveta holds her hand, but Vika is already performing.
–Music, more music! I’m singing!
We visited Vika in Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden costumes, and the girl decided to honestly earn the presents we were bringing.
She couldn’t see our New Year’s costumes. Between you and I, she doesn’t even know what I look like. To her, I’m some Dunya who’s her height, but she knows my voice, knows it very well.
When she listens, she tilts her head and tries to listen not only what is being said, but sense all the intonations.To capture the connection between what is being said and how it is being said.
–Hey, open up!
We are pounding on a recently painted gate.
Odd–that’s not Sveta’s voice.
–I’m coming! Oh, who are you?!
Vika is feeling the door, her hair is scattered, she’s holding a cane for the blind and is smiling from ear to ear.
–It’s YOU!!!! Awesome!
Vika opened the door on her own. For the first time. Every other time we visited them in Lugansk, we were met by Sveta, her mom, while Vika waited for us sitting on the couch.
Yesterday Vika went shopping on her own. Alone!
Sveta, her mom, quietly observed her. She says the girl messed up only once, she walked past her home. I remember how she, literally a tiny kitten, couldn’t even walk about her room–she took such careful steps, as if afraid she’d fall through thin ice.
Also our lovely lady recently appeared before the local blind circle, sang contemporary songs. People say the girl has quite a voice, strong and clear.
And look at these cheeks!!! You just want to squeeze them!
My daughter was ill, and in the heat she looked at me seriously:
–Mum, I’d rather have Vika get well and me get sick.
It’s not to show how kind my daughter is. Many kids sometimes say such things, and perhaps even draw them.
It’s rather to show how Vika became part of our lives. Theo has never met Vika, but she has seen plenty of times how I ran to and fro to get the medications she needs. Which I do all the time. Half the fridge is filled by medications awaiting dispatch to the Donbass. The majority of them are for our Lugansk girl.
When Vika was in a TB clinic near Moscow, we often visited her. Theo wanted to go too.
This is another report on helping our Vika.
So far so good, of course the heat is unbearable and it affects everyone. Vika is doing the best she can–she helps out around the house, doesn’t sit around. She picks apricots which grow outside. She gets around the house very well, in spite of blindness. She knows where everything is and doesn’t need a cane. I remember how when we visited, she would walk very cautiously, while frantically feeling around with her hands. Like a tiny blind kitten, afraid of everything.
She started to confuse day with night. She would wake her mom up at night: “Mom, I baked some rolls. I would eat all of them, sugar levels be damned, mom, go have some!”
She stopped sensing when her sugar levels were dropping. That was bad.
I like this photo, this dress, this smile.
Vika can’t see, so she doesn’t know where to look when she’s photographed. And though she poses, she’s easy to “capture.”
When she listens, she slightly tilts her head forward and furrows eyebrows, squinting slightly. And she always giggles. She’s still not used to her condition and believes she’ll see again.
Once I referred to in jest “little bellflower.” And she is like that. She’s a beautiful and gentle flower. And she laughs all the time, no, she rings.
Zhenya recently delivered her life-sustaining medications from us.
Vika, I know your mom is reading this post to you right now.
So I want to say a few things.
We’ve met two years ago in Lugansk.
I remember that day–it was mid-May 2015.
You were in bed, too weak to get up. You lost your two front teeth, went blind, and weighed about as much as in elementary school. Younger brother had only just died, and people thought back then the war would be over soon. One couldn’t get insulin in the city. Pharmacies stood empty. No wages, no pensions.
Even though you were too weak to get up, you got up anyway–so said mom. One had to, even though one didn’t want to. You didn’t want anything back then–to live, to eat, to walk…
Lena told me: “talk to her, you are merry, young.”
I tried to talk, remember?
I went on about some nonsense, and you only replied that you didn’t want to live.