Original post: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1171580763384351&id=100015973144794. Translated and edited by our team.

He broke down. My brave 12-year-old son, who throughout the 50 days of the war held firm, did not get naughty, helped, fulfilled all our requests, stoically endured the inconveniences of everyday life and supported me when I broke down. He did not cry when he left home, when he said goodbye to his family, and when he parted from his daddy. He obediently ate what was given and slept with me in the same small bed. He asked nothing for himself and tried to stay on the same team. And then he broke down.

He cried and howled with despair and pain, with fatigue and powerlessness, with the horror of his past experiences, and the fear of what lays ahead. And it was a moment of truth for me. I see this teenager shuddering in sobs on the bed, and I realize that it is not a child crying. It is a near-adult roaring in the bass.

“Why has all this happened to us? Why can’t I hug my daddy? I really miss my grandpa! He’s not well there, and I want to be close to him! I want to live in my own house, sleep in my own bed. I want to wear my own clothes. I want to go out with my friends and not be afraid! I just want to live! Why would anyone think they’re allowed to destroy what others have created?”

I listened to him and realized that I can no longer use the “magic of mum.” I can’t kiss him where it hurts, and everything will heal. I can’t tell him it’s OK. I can’t take him in my arms and press him to my chest. It’s his time to face reality. I no longer have the power to help him. I just sat beside him and held his hand. And then I said to him, “My darling, of course, we all hope for the best. But the reality is this. I can’t promise you that we will go back to our home. I can’t promise you that you’ll see Grandpa and Grandma. I can’t guarantee that you’ll still hug Daddy. But I can promise you one thing. Someday you’ll wake up, and you’ll feel safe. You’ll be home. Someday you’ll be happy. Someday you will find yourself breathing freely. You will feel peace inside you. That day will come. In the meantime, live what you feel. All your emotions are legitimate, anger, fear, resentment, depression, and apathy. Cry, darling, scream, get angry. It’s all part of the process. And I’ll stick around.” And he roared like a wounded animal, and I tried not to cry, holding his hand. Then I made him some peppermint tea. He drank the tea, calmed down, and fell asleep. I sat on the edge of the bed and stroked his hair. It was the last day of his childhood.

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