In my worst nightmares, I never dreamed where life would take me.
We were a perfect, happy family. So happy, so close.
We didn’t have much, but we were happy with what we had.
The first wave of Covid caught us, like so many others, unaware.
We lived through lockdown, through loneliness, through repeated quarantines.
Our financial situation fluctuated, but there were so many others in the same boat that we just hoped and prayed that we’d get past it.
We never imagined that we’d be struck by the worst of all.
It started with a light cough that worsened. We weren’t worried at first.
Didn’t almost everyone get corona and pull through? And my husband was young and robust.
But the cough worsened, and before long, he was hospitalized.
It was only a matter of days before complications set in.
His condition deteriorated fast. So fast that we were entirely unprepared when the news came.
Shock. Heartbreak. Devastation. Ineffable grief.
From a happy loving wife and mother of two darlings, I became a widow of two tiny orphans.
I had little choice but to collect myself, pick up the fragments of my shattered world and try to offer my little ones an illusion of stability.
Not long after that, Russia invaded our home in Ukraine.
Like everyone, I was sure that it would be a matter of days, weeks maximum.
Yet as the days dragged by, we began experiencing what it meant to live in hell.
My children woke up screaming at night. Every slight noise made them jump.
Our region became a warzone. Danger and death lurked on every corner.
One day, I just couldn’t take it anymore, and I packed several bags, took my two children in the double stroller and fled.
The escape route was harsh, cruel and replete with danger.
I was a fresh widow with two babies. All I wanted was a safe haven.
Words can’t describe the horrors we endured throughout the days and weeks of our escape.
I was alone with the babies. I didn’t have a spare hand, and I could only take what was absolutely critical.
If I wanted to live, I couldn’t afford to think about tomorrow, only the here and now.
Several impossible days passed until we finally crossed the border into Poland.
The wonderful Jewish community welcomed us with open arms, offered us a place to sleep and fresh changes of clothes.
But then I had to start the hunt for an apartment, a job, and arrangements for the children.
I needed to start life again—not from zero, but from a giant void.
Sometime during those macabre weeks, I noticed that Mordechai wasn’t feeling well.
It wasn’t surprising after all he’d been through.
On the contrary, it would be strange if he’d be acting normal, I thought.
I felt strangely satisfied that my little one had found a way to express his hardship in his own way. He’d been—and was still going through—so much, poor thing.
It was normal for him to cry a lot, to be clingy, weak and even lethargic at times.
But when his fever spiked for no apparent reason and didn’t go down, I got worried.
The survival instincts that I’d honed sprang into action, screaming that something was terribly, terribly wrong with Mordechai.
I didn’t have proper medical coverage yet, but that didn’t stop me from seeing a doctor.
He immediately ordered blood tests, and within two days, we received the devastating diagnosis:
There was no time to waste, and Mordechai started an aggressive chemo plan immediately.
It’s been several weeks, and now we’re home from the hospital.
Little Mordechai wanders around our squalid rental, searching for Abba.
But Abba isn’t here.
But no one answers his pathetic call.
He cries until he’s spent, and then he just lies down on the floor too weak from the day’s treatments to cry anymore.
And I cry with him.
Because I’ve lost my husband, and I’ve lost my home.
And now I’m scared that I’ll lose my baby.
Please help me! I can’t go on anymore!