In the center of Vinnytsia, four-year-old Liza Dmitrieva walks to a class with her speech therapist; seven-year-old Maksym Zharii and his mother come for a routine examination at the medical center; eight-year-old Kyrylo Pyakhin doesn’t want to wait for his uncle in the car.

The lives of these people, doing ordinary things on an ordinary day, ended at 10:45 on July 14, 2022. On that day Russia launched a terror attack with several Kalibr missiles fired from the Black Sea, which Ukrainian air defenses failed to intercept. As a result, 27 people died, including 3 little children.

Photo:Nina Vynogradova Jurga/facebook

The rockets damaged or destroyed 55 high-rise buildings and private houses, 40 cars and 2 trams; one fell close to the maternity hospital almost ending more young lives before they had even started. Many of the wounded died on the spot, some, like doctor Pavlo Kovalchuk, clung to life for many days; he lost the battle 20 days later, on August 2, 2022. 

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Four-year-old Liza's mother, Iryna, was admitted to the intensive care unit in critical condition. Thanks to the actions of the doctors, she was brought back from the brink of death. At first, no one talked to her about her daughter, they took the woman's phone away. On August 11, Iryna went to the terrible place where everything happened for the first time, which she later wrote about in a post on her Facebook. 

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“We didn't fall. Then I didn't feel any pain at all, only dead silence around... there was black smoke, nothing was visible. I didn't hear the second explosion, I didn't hear the car alarms, I didn't hear anything. Then I saw my beloved girl, her torn body.”

Photo:Nina Vynogradova Jurga/facebook

A year after everything she experienced, Iryna agreed to talk with the Kyiv Post, even though every time she remembers that day, she feels sick.

“No matter what anyone says, it will never pass...”

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Iryna woke up after the operation at 8 p.m. on that day, not remembering what had happened and immediately asked where her daughter was. 

“I was told that Liza is in the children's hospital. I asked to call, but they said that it was too late... I remember seeing everything covered in blood and could not understand whether it was a dream. I was in shock,” the young mother recalls.

That night she dreamed of her daughter. Liza reminded her about everything that had happened. Iryna woke up screaming hysterically that her daughter was gone.

“Doctors wanted to know who had told me. I lay there and remembered every moment. All the time, I replayed everything down to the second, every step we took. It will never leave me...”

Iryna was in the hospital for almost a month. At the end of August, she was sent to Austria for rehabilitation, which would last for six months. The woman confesses, by December, she doesn't remember anything at all. All the time she either just lay there, staring at the ceiling, or tried to draw or play the piano. But all this was “like in a fog.” In December, Iryna went to the mountains alone then, as soon as the rehabilitation was over, she immediately returned home.

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“It was very difficult to return, but this is where my family is, my friends. By the way, I really feel the support of my Instagram followers. A lot of parents contact me, asking for advice. People who need psychological support also write. Although I need it too, I share my experience with them in the hope it will help them. That's how I feel useful. And that I did not stay on Earth in vain...” 

Iryna also helps low-income families and orphanages. In addition, she returned to the job she did before, as a designer. On the face of things, it may seem as if she is slowly starting a new life, however, Liza's mother says, this is not the case at all.

“Every morning I can't get out of bed. I have a lot of things to do, but I can't do these things. I try to just throw myself into work as much as possible. But in the evening, I still stay alone. I lie down, and I cannot answer the question ‘Why is this all?’ It's like [I’m on] some kind of roller coaster. I actually love life very much. I think of Liza all the time. The things we did together. Where we were.”

The woman believes that no matter what grief befalls people, we need to move on, because our relatives, looking at us from heaven, would definitely not want to see the suffering of those they love and left behind.

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“We have precious memories. And the most important thing is to keep them as long as possible.” 

Photo:Nina Vynogradova Jurga/facebook

A year ago, on July 14, dozens of people were killed, hundreds were injured in just one place in Ukraine, and millions of people in different parts of the world could not hold back their tears when they read about what happened and saw the photos. This is just one of many acts of terrorism committed by Russia, but we will never forget it. Eternal memory to all the dead. Strength and patience to all survivors.

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