We connect with stories. We place ourselves in another person’s shoes. Stories help us empathize.
Along the journey of this war in Ukraine, the stories are uncountable. Stories of inspiring heroism. Stories of unbelievable tragedy.
We want to share with you some of these stories. They will be stories of people we meet along the way. Stories of people we will never meet, but with whom we grieve losses and celebrate victories.
They will also be our stories. Our family is fortunate that we did not experience violence firsthand. Our kids don’t wake up with nightmares of bombs exploading or planes falling by their house. But our stories are part of this war.
Through stories, we hope you will relate to the brave men, women and children of Ukraine, and that your hearts will be moved for a nation that is strong, but devastated. We believe in Ukraine and in our victory over this evil! Glory to Ukraine!
My first vivid memory of war is packing our “go bag.” About one month before the full scale invasion, I started packing essentials in a rolling carry-on: change of clothes for each person, travel documents, health records, medicines, the kids’ baby books and one baby blanket for each. Josh and I believed we would never need this bag. It was purely “just in case.”
At first I left it in our living room so I could add to it gradually. Then Nora (8 years old) began asking about the bag. “Where are we going, Mama? Why are we going to leave?” That led to our first conversations with our children about the war. We explained to our eight, five and three year olds that Russia is bringing more and more soldiers to Ukraine’s border, and that we will do everything to keep them safe. We told them the war was still far away and that we didn’t think it would come closer to us. But we would be ready to keep them safe, just in case.
I noticed Nora seemed nervous and unsettled around that carry-on. I realized she cast glances at it now and then. So, I moved it into our bedroom to relieve her anxiety. Out of sight, out of mind.
Besides, we wouldn’t need it. It was “just in case.”