“We don’t have a home but we have today and now.”

We don’t have a home and we don’t plan our future, but we have today and now.”

Olha Chabakh from Ukraine sent a thank-you note to all those who have donated to ADRA’s aid in and outside of Ukraine. Her story is heartbreaking, but also contains a hint of hope amid the hopelessness. She has lost her home, her only son and her husband is coming out of an emotional mess. However, the psychological assistance that ADRA offers has made a difference.

Dear friends!

I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the psychological support ADRA has made possible for my husband and me. Also thanks to the psychologist of the support group – Raisa Stepanivna Kuzmenko!

The war has completely destroyed my life. My only son died a hero protecting his countrymen. The depth of my pain cannot be described in words. A missile hit my house and levelled it. My husband and I have been down both physically and emotionally.

When I accepted ADRA’s offer of psychological support, I went through some exercises which proved to be very useful. The exercises were about being in the present and focusing on, for example, helping others, including children. In the group, we practised registering the surroundings such as the smell of bread, flowers, and fruit and by feeling the surfaces of trees and textiles, for example. It gave positive results.

My husband’s course has been more complicated. From the beginning of the war, I only saw the pain on his face. Little by little he lost his sense of taste and smell. The grief over our late son was close to consuming him. He did not understand the words spoken to him and did not respond to help.

During the consultation with the psychologist, I shared my concerns for my husband. She gave me a simple piece of advice; show your love without words, only with actions. What could I do?

My husband is a volunteer night watchman here, where we are accommodated among other internally displaced persons. I decided to surprise him with a visit to a guard.

One early morning I appeared with a wonderfully fragrant acacia branch and said: “It is for you! Try to smell it!”. He was amazed and then a miracle happened. As he closed his nose, a smile appeared on his face. He could once again enjoy the scent of the flowers.

I visited him with fragrant flowers throughout the week at different times. Every time he smiled at me, yes he had actually started waiting for me.

We don’t have a home and we don’t plan our future, but we have today and now.

Together we preserve the lovely memories of our son, and when we support each other, we create hope for the future.

Thanks to all of you for your help. Maybe our story will be useful to someone. Take care of each other!


Olha Chabakh

(originally from the Ukrainian city of Bucha)