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Oksana Torop

My road from the shelling, 11 days long - We are offered early booking at sea in summer. It's cheaper, but you don't know what will happen to that coronavirus. What do you think? "Let's wait a little longer," my husband said that evening. This was our last conversation over dinner in Kyiv. It was my last night with him. At night I was awakened by a call from a colleague who said that Putin had declared war on Ukraine. I quickly sit down at the computer and write a break to the site. It is at this time that we hear powerful explosions. The windows are shaking. The child begins to cry. The man quickly picks up the little ones and transfers them to the first floor. I continue to type, publish, exhale - yes, we quickly gave everything to readers ... Again, "grandmothers", everything inside is cold, teeth are clenched and, it seems, just at that moment, when my break-in flew a red flame into people, my brain realized: the war had begun. That was the last time I saw my husband. He quickly got together and went to work. He is a serviceman. I already understood that I had to make all further decisions myself. For myself and our children - 11 months and 14 years. Weigh everything and act as your mind and emotions allow. The next night a Russian missile was shot down over us. Its wreckage fell on residential buildings. Very close. Then came the realization that death was near. Despite all the danger on the streets, huge traffic jams and lack of gasoline, I throw the children in the car and decide to take them out of Kiev. I still don't know where, but the main thing now is to go. Because my main duty is to preserve them. With us is a nanny and my cousin, who has just been discharged from a Kyiv hospital after surgery. We set off on the road, which, as it turned out, lasted 11 days. The younger one is in pajamas. The older one did not collect as much as our two cats, so she did not take warm clothes. But cats had everything from food to toys. There were constant reports in the Western media about Russia's preparations for the invasion, but we absolutely did not believe it. Neither I nor my husband. So they didn't have any alarming suitcases ... Daffodils and tulips have already sprouted in our garden, buds have appeared on currant bushes. The day before, I removed the insulation from the peaches. All the trees survived the frosts - relief. And she managed to plant salads, dill and basil in pots. That on the first birthday of the younger daughter in March to have the greens, fresh, natural. Invite many guests and have fun-celebrate ... We left our home on February 25. His eyes were crying, and his chest was tight, especially because of many unknowns - where, what, how, how much. My brain stubbornly protested, because I was not ready to take it like that and at one point give up all my previous life, leave everything I had gained. About a week later comes the stage of acceptance, and it becomes easier. For three days I was desperately looking for petrol in Boguslav (Kyiv region), where we were sheltered by Sofiyka's nanny. On the first day he was simply nowhere to be found. The next day I stood in line, but a column of soldiers took the gasoline right in front of us. I'm not angry, because it's necessary, they need it now. On the third day, from 6 am, I stand in a huge queue again. I refuel to the fullest and feel great relief. These days, Russian troops are actively pushing towards Kyiv. I can't hold back my tears, it affects the children. My eldest daughter is starting to cry because her dad stayed in Kyiv, and I can't calm her down. I have never seen or heard such a loud and desperate cry of a child. From the pain of possible loss. I decide to go to Western Ukraine because it is calmer there. Because children must be safe. We pass dozens of checkpoints in cities and villages. We stand in traffic jams for hours, spend the night with strangers and acquaintances, eat poorly, sleep poorly. Every day I look for baby food in stores, which is nowhere to be found. And these empty grocery shelves are frightening, uncertain about the future throughout our journey. As well as the lack of gasoline. The fear of what will happen next settles in my head. Will I have anything to feed the children? What if I can't find diapers anywhere? And if someone gets sick? The cats had to be left with an uncle who lives in a private house in the Lviv region. He sends us a photo report every day. It looks like the cats are happy. Now we can move on with a calm heart - to Lviv. How long - no one knows. At least as much as will be relatively safe here. Strangers bring us baby things, prams, diapers ... It seems we are left alone, but there is so much worry around. Ukrainians united not only in the fight against the aggressor, but also in helping and supporting each other. Just today a stranger brought us baby formula. We had it for a week or two. Because I complained to a colleague that I could not find, and she complained to an acquaintance and he immediately began to help us. It became calmer. Sirens are also sounding in western Ukraine, Russian missiles are being fired and there is a constant feeling of anxiety. My older one is constantly reading the news and asking about Dad. The younger one started walking confidently and has already said her first "mom". We teach her to say "dad" so he can hear it on the phone very soon. And in a few days we will celebrate the first year of our child - in the shackles of war and sorrow. In a broken family, without a house and flowers, which are blooming in our garden in Kyiv right now.

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