A Ukrainian woman who now lives in Chicago said she wishes she could be with her father.
“He said ‘whatever happens, happens’,” said Elena, who asked us not to use her last name. “‘Just so you know I really love you,’ and he said, ‘I’m staying here strong.'”
Her 65-year-old father is disabled and uses a wheelchair to get around. He and his caretaker were unable to flee the country or make it safely to an air-raid shelter.
They repelled the attacks on the third floor of his building in Kharkiv.
“My dad’s windows are covered with cushions, pillows, a few blankets just in case,” she said. “There will be explosions and the glass will break; he won’t be hurt as much.
Elena is a practical nurse at Rush University Medical Center. She said she couldn’t eat or sleep thinking about her safety.
“There were three or four explosions that I heard on Skype while he was inside that apartment and then the sky cleared up a bit too,” she said. “I saw it through her window too and her carer, she was just hiding in the bathroom because there’s no window there so she can at least be safe with that. “
Elena’s friends, neighbors and colleagues in the US have been supportive, donating money to help her father with food and medicine, but the supply is now desperately low.
“He just lives minute by minute, second by second, but he’s fighting for his life for sure,” she said. “He doesn’t give up. don’t give up mentally. He really believes it will be over soon.
Every time Elena talks to her father, she fears it will be their last conversation and says she feels helpless that she can’t be physically there for him when he needs her most.
“They’re just trying to survive this and it’s so wrong,” she said. “I’m sorry, it’s very difficult to talk about it. I try to stay strong, but I hope Ukraine will stay strong too and my father too.