Olga's story

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Olga's story

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An angel in my life

If someone had told me in the past that I would need to restart my life from scratch, I wouldn't believe it. But that is what happened to me when I needed to flee to Poland with my son.

I still remember that day when I was terrified at home hearing the bombs approaching. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to go to the basement, but I was too scared that it would turn into a mass grave if hit by a bomb. My husband was at work, and I called him to convince him to take a different route to come home. I heard that the way he took every day was too dangerous, but, unfortunately, he found a Russian tank in front of him on this new route. He was shot to death. It took less than one minute to destroy 25 years of happy marriage. All the dreams we dreamt together and our plans for the future suddenly disappeared with his death. 

I could only take his body over after four days. The fire in the region was continuous, and no one wanted to go there. Finally, I could go with a friend on the fourth day. 

I will never forget when I saw my husband killed, his dead body still lying behind the wheel. This picture haunts me every day...

After his funeral, I decided to fly to Poland because I felt I needed to protect my son's life. I was so sad that I had lost the joy of living. I saw a psychologist when I arrived in Poland. I needed to talk to someone to try to understand what was going on with me. I felt so guilty because of my husband's death. I was blaming myself every day for telling him to change his route. I felt like his accident was my fault. I also had lost faith in God. The only thing that prevented me from committing suicide was my son. I needed to fight for his life.

Thanks to Women for Women International's Conflict Response Fund, I'm able to receive regular psychological assistance. For the first time after all these months, I could finally open myself up to someone and cry. Before that, I felt I needed to be stronger because I didn't want to make my son worried. Now, we are both attending Polish language classes, riding our bicycles and making new friends.

I spend a lot of my time with my son and recently I was able to find a job in a bakery. I'm a former lawyer and used to working in an office, so this is a very different kind of work for me. But I'm grateful that this job gives me a steady income, allowing me to rent a cozy little apartment for my son and me. 

When I look at my life now, especially after everything we had faced, I couldn't believe I would be able to do that. My husband's death tore out my heart, but now I can see my strength for having moved to a different country and started a new life from zero. 

Meeting my therapist is what helped me to survive and not to go crazy with grief. I feel that I am not alone.

With the help of the therapy sessions, I can see how resilient I am, and I'm starting to feel that I want to socialise more and probably start looking for an opportunity in my area of expertise. 

I'm very grateful for Women for Women International, Žene za ŽeneHuman Doc and Bereginia - Mariupol's Women's Association for all the support you have been providing me. You are like an angel in my life.

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