By Luda Chaikovska, MTU nurse
Ukrainian women have to be strong. It’s in the culture. Even though many might be depressed and drained, they will smile and say they are OK anyways. They manage to get by. Mothers and grandmothers of children with disabilities who come to us for help come weary and broken hearted. Their eyes show pain deep down in their hearts.
Every day I pray for the Lord to give me an opportunity to be a witness of His great love to our mothers. I have those divine opportunities when they bring their children in for medical treatment.
Last November Valentina, the grandmother of six-year-old Misha came to MTU for help. As she shared her story, she would frequently have to stop as she choked back her tears. She wiped off the tears, ashamed of them, and made a great effort to continue immediately. Rarely, she allowed anyone to see her cry, but that day she felt safe enough to share her burden.
For many years, Valentina had been taking care of her husband who lost his sight at a young age, and she still carried the pain of the loss of her 17-year-old daughter. She said she would never forget the sound of the ground falling onto her coffin. Her first and only grandchild was born with severe disabilities, and her daughter-in-law refused to take him in her arms after delivery.
Her son started having problems in his marriage. Though Valentina tried hard, she could not save the marriage. The young couple got divorced. Valentina quit her job as a journalist at a city newspaper to devote herself to Misha’s care. Seeing how hard it was for Valentina to care for both her husband and her grandson, numerous times her friends and relatives would advise her to send little Misha to an orphanage. She believed she had strength for everyone and that one day it would become easier. She would never let her grandson go to an orphanage. Time went by. Misha needed more care. And then everything escalated when her son left to go to the front in the Eastern Ukraine. There she was, tired, depressed, and at the end of her rope.
Valentina needed to be strong for all three of her men: her blind husband, her son in the war and her growing grandson, who needed more and more attention and patience. “There are days, when I have no strength to carry on, I give up,” she said.
I thank God for creating a safe place like MTU for such women. When Valentina brings her Misha to our therapy sessions, she has some time to relax and connect with other women, and to receive encouragement and love from our team. Valentina appreciates every prayer lifted up for her and thanks God for sending her to our charity.
Recently she taught Misha to sign "Thank God.” It is a great joy to see Valentina’s smile and for her to be part of our MTU family.
Friends, thank you for your support. By helping families we help children escape orphanages while surrounding them with a loving and caring environment.