My father has died.
Well, no, not so. I should have said: “The Russians have killed my father.”
There is no body, so my mother still hopes that he is alive.
I think that the military, who usually inform the families about relatives who have died, are deliberately leaving time for hope. During this time, the psyche begins to adapt to the loss.
“They haven’t found [him] yet, there are heavy battles going on,” the guy who told my mother this terrible news writes back to her question, “What’s the news?” It sounds terrible, but it still leaves a glimpse of hope.
“There is 1% likelihood that he’s a prisoner,” another soldier who brings in his belongings tells my mother. But hope is an irrational thing, so, despite everything, it does exist.
“I know he’s alive. He promised he wouldn’t leave us,” my mother tells me.
And then he is declared dead without a body. My mother’s surprised eyes appear before my eyes and her question, “What? Won’t he even have a grave?”
My father called me several times.
The first time before going to Donbas. He apologised a lot for not being perfect and for everything he did wrong.
Then he called to brag about the dinner they had prepared. Shots were heard on the phone and he said in a very calm voice: “I’m sorry, I need to go out for a little while.”
Then he called to say goodbye. He said that it was scary and there were many “two hundred” [dead] around. He asked me not to tell my mother so that she would not worry.
He called to ask what was being written in the news. When the weapons will be sent. I replied that soon, they had already signed the lease. But he would never see these weapons.
He was online on 12 May, the chat says. He was. In the past tense. He will never be again.
He ended our last conversation with the words: “I hope to see you again.”
“Of course, we will see each other,” I tried to sound confident when answering.
Maybe he didn’t always make the right decisions about my upbringing. But he definitely made the right choice ‒ to defend the Motherland. And died for it.
He was 56 years old. He could have skipped visiting the Military Commissariat. My mom tried to talk him out of it. And he said, “How will I look in Alina’s eyes?”.
It turned out that he wouldn’t.
“Heroes don’t die,” says every second person who expresses condolences. And it’s wildly annoying. Because they do die. They die, and their bodies can’t even be returned to the family to say goodbye. Because this is war. Because they are on the other side.
“I hope, maybe, someone will bury him, and then they will write or call,” says my mother. The glimpse of hope was changed.
He wasn’t online for a long time, the chat says.