Littlehirosima: Where people come to die


Original by Yevdokia “Dunya” Sheremetyeva published on littlehirosima blog; translated from Russian by J.Hawk and originally published at South Front. November 30th, 2015

I visited a hospice for the second time in my life.
What did I experience?
Nothing. Emptiness.
A place where people die.
The Gorlovka Hospice.
In the bombed out, abandoned to its fate, unfortunate Gorlovka.

I occasionally get asked– are there hospitals there? Are there retirement homes?
Even orphanages that are still open?
Yes, it’s all there.
And life there goes on as usual, sort of.
There are markets, shops, barbers.
People go to work. Travel on buses. Haggle on the markets.
Choose presents.

And there are also hospices. Where people stayed and worked, despite getting no salaries at all for the last year.
Who did not abandon the patients even under rocket and artillery fire.

And the fighting there continues still…

We drove up to a tiny building.
One of the nurses walked out of the hospital.
She wore heels and tight jeans.
The heels clattered on the pavement as the girl walked with her head high.
All the men turned their heads.
Life continues.

–How are things? Did you get chewed out for keeping our humanitarian aid?
–No big deal, we know how to fight.

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Nikolay Nikolayevich, the hospice director, smiles.
But behind it, his face looks dead tired.
I later learned that he suffered a heart attack after we left the Donbass the last time.

In general, it seems that nearly all my friends’ relatives are now suffering from illness of some kind.
It’s the stress.
Which is now routine.

–I read your article about us. I also saw some of the comments…
Yes, some of the comments boggle the mind.
I got used to them. That’s a given for me, to read every day that I am a piece of dirt.
But Nikolay Nikolayevich is not an internet addict.

He got up and started to look for something in his papers. I look and he’s holding the article complete with comments.
–Look what garbage they are writing about you – that you were wearing short shorts…
–It’s no big deal…
–It’s wrong, wrong.
Wrong, wrong.
All of that chatter in the net.
Empty chatter.

I still struggle to understand what kind of people work here.
Nearly all of them were at work during the fighting in Debaltsevo – dozens, hundreds of refugees came through here.
Slept on their floors. Slept everywhere.

The workers did not abandon the patients. When water was cut off, they brought up buckets from the flooded basement, boiled it, and used it to wash the dying.
For a while they were cooking on a campfire outside.

I hope we’ve made their lives a bit easier.
The hospice has the lowest priority when it comes to humanitarian aid distribution.
Nobody needs the dying.
Not even their own relatives.

What incredible emptiness.
When I write about it in the well-fed Moscow. As if a dispatch from a parallel universe.
This place where people die.
The Gorlovka Hospice.
The bombed out, abandoned to its fate, unfortunate Gorlovka.

You, too, can contribute to helping the people of the Donbass. Contact me in person through my livejournal account, through Facebook, PayPal ([email protected]), or via email: [email protected]

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