Kremenchuk, Poltava province
The day before nothing indicated that war will begin. “Not now”. The festive mood overcame the fear that could not only be felt in the air the previous days: you could smell it. Fear was going straight to the heart.
February 24, 2022. Irena was awakened from her sleep by the sound of bombs and gunfire. Maybe she didn’t hear well – she thought. “It’s dawn, 4:00 a.m.” Her thoughts were focused only on her children, her three sons who were with her and her husband in the apartment. “As long as nothing happens to them everything is fine”.
She was rewinding the most terrible scenarios at the speed of light. No, she could not think like that, not then when everything was fine. Everything was fine? Well, they were together and nothing was more important.
Her husband told her to take the documents and go with the children to their grandmother’s. It supposed to be calm and safe there. They would be out of town few days and everything would be over by the time they get back. “He is right. “- she wanted to believe. Family was leaving Kremenchuk.
The noise coming from the street, from the air, from who knows where, was constant. It did not stop until Irena, hoping that the situation would calm down, decided to leave Ukraine ten days after the first shot.
Civilians were dying. About 2,000 lives was lost in the destroyed shopping center next to their apartment. The end was not close.
They made decision.
Irena heard from a friend that Montenegro is pleasant place for leaving. With language is similar to Ukrainian and Ukrainian community already present she thought that it would be much easier for her family to be there. “Easier”, what does it mean exactly?
We did not hear much about her journey from Ukraine to Montenegro. The rows of people heading towards better future were endless and Irena was alone with her three children. Journey lasted seven days and there was no time to sleep. But she says it was just fine – what really matters is that she is at safe place with her sons now.
When they got in Montenegro they settled in municipality of Bar. Irena is grateful to the local branch of Red Cross Bar for their support. Without presence of Red Cross volunteers in life of her family it would be more difficult, she concluded.
Irena remembers her husband’s face, exactly as it was etched in her memory the last time she saw him. In front of her eyes is the image of his gaze while was sending her and the children towards the unknown, as she said – “towards the void”.
That void is now in her soul.
All she wants is to go back home and to be together with entire family again.
The only thing she wants is peace.
Author: Tereza Vujosevic, Red Cross of Montenegro
* Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, the Red Cross of Montenegro has been providing support to Ukrainian refugees in the form of information, psychosocial and psychological support, organized language classes, medical assistance, collection and distribution of humanitarian aid.