Linda’s blog: For This I Am Grateful
For the last couple of weeks I have been lingering as I’ve leant over my sleeping children and given them a kiss goodnight before I go to bed myself. I press my cheek against theirs and cannot help but think how warm their rooms are, how soft their beds are and how safe we all are in our home. I am so grateful that I happen to be living in England and not Ukraine or another war zone. My heart goes out to everyone there, as well as their family and friends in other countries who desperately await news of their loved ones. The war is not here and yet it is everywhere.
I struggle to answer my 6 year old’s questions, both mentally – trying to find the right words (being honest whilst trying not to scare her), and physically – as my voice cracks and I well up with tears. We have stopped picking up a copy of the Metro on our way home for the 10 year old to improve her knowledge of current affairs. I cannot and do not want to hide the truth but there are some horrors she should not have to see. I am so grateful for this choice, conscious that many children are living through this hell.
On our way to and from school we pass the local collection point for items for Ukraine. It’s a hive of activity, with lines of volunteers passing sorted supplies down the chain into queues of waiting vans and lorries. At the weekend, as I stood on the edge of the children’s rugby training pitch feeling the cold wind whip through me, I thought of the people who have been living without power or water for days. I thought of those who are sheltering in basements, women giving birth in makeshift underground maternity units and of those who have been travelling, sleepless, for days. As I packed my bag to go into the office, I was acutely aware of the contrast between these luxury nice to have items and the medical aid and survival items being packed in bags for Ukraine. I wondered what I would take if I had to suddenly leave my home and how I would feel not knowing if I would ever go back.
On LinkedIn, a Ukrainian lawyer in a similar role to me posted about her goals. Before 24 February I could have copied them over as my own. Her goal since then: “to stay alive” has haunted me ever since. Working for an international company, I am conscious how vibrant and noisy my office is compared to the identical but now closed and empty office in Ukraine. I fail to concentrate on work and find myself compulsively turning to BBC to see what the latest is. I think of the brave journalists who are putting their lives at risk so that the truth can be told.
During all of this it is hard not to feel useless and overwhelmed by sadness but alongside the horror, I see a strong and brave nation fighting for democracy and heart-warming actions as people come together to help by donating money, supplies, time and much more. I hold onto this and I am grateful.
Linda is a lawyer who has two primary school-age children. She and her husband work full time and juggle the school run and everything else between them.