The Ups and Downs of Life: Vlada Kreush

Vlada Kreush, 40: it’s a difficult reality to face, but one that we confront with unwavering dignity and fortitude.

By Liubov Lavreniuk

Updated 05:19 pm EDT, September 6, 2023

Published 12:20 am EDT, April 18, 2023

Photo Courtesy: Vlada Kreush

This February marks the somber anniversary of my country’s ongoing conflict. It’s a difficult reality to face, but one that we confront with unwavering dignity and fortitude. After all, truth is on our side, and we must remain steadfast in our resolve to rid our land of evil and secure a bright future for our children.

I want to share my strength story, which mirrors that of my female friends who display remarkable strength in navigating their daily lives while supporting their families and country amidst these trying times. The morning of February 24th will forever be etched in my memory as a day of sheer terror, as if I was being hunted. Just the day before, I was living a carefree life, taking luxurious baths, having a glass of champagne, sharing pictures of delicious meals on Instagram, and laughing with my children. But overnight, those simple pleasures became distant memories, and a new, surreal existence began.

Photo Courtesy: Vlada Kreush

My family and I fled the city for my husband’s parent’s home in a small village, believing we would find safety there. But the battles that raged nearby quickly dispelled that illusion. Every morning, we awoke to the sound of cannon fire and sought refuge in the chilly, damp basement where we kept our vegetables. My 3.5-year-old son displayed unusual maturity and remained quiet and composed throughout. During one particularly intense battle, we huddled together in silent prayer, and I struggled to cope with the stress, which resulted in hair loss for me. After several days, we managed to escape to a safer location in the west of our country. The memories of the once vibrant city I left behind are now haunting. It seemed as if a film about the war was being filmed, and everything around was only scenery. My eyes did not dry from tears. However, the people we encountered in our new surroundings were a revelation. Complete strangers welcomed us into their homes and treated us with kindness. Despite the lack of military operations in this part of the country, everyone was doing what they could to aid the military effort – women wove camouflage nets, and others provided housing and supplies to those displaced.

One and a half months later, we returned home, our lives forever altered. But we also discovered a newfound strength and resilience. We, women, are capable of managing households, even without electricity or water, and cooking meals in an hour or less. We learned how to operate generators, educate our children, even under candlelight, and care for animals. Our life now is a constant pendulum swinging between despair and hope, heartache and joy. Yet amidst the pain surrounding us, the light shining from the hearts of the incredible people in our lives keeps us motivated to carry on.

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