Ukrainian refugee finds the true meaning of her homeland’s Independence Day

Eugenia Brodsky left her life in Ukraine behind. But his country is in his heart and in his mind every day.

“I miss home so much. I just want to open my apartment door and come in, and I want to see everyone!” Brodsky said.

She dreams of a day when she can return to a life she used to live. Thinking about it made her cry.

But on August 24, Ukraine’s Independence Day — for a country she can’t wait to see — Brodsky’s heart is with the people who have survived the unimaginable.

“I just remember these people, and they’re all wonderful…” she said. “I can see very nice people (here), but… I miss our people so much.”

When the war broke out, Brodsky, her husband and their two boys were on vacation. They managed to get to San Diego via Tijuana.

It was seven months ago.

She said knowing that other loved ones are so far away and in danger is difficult, but their fighting spirit gives her hope.

“When I see all those kind, shiny faces, I’m just proud to be one of those faces and I start to be braver,” she said.

And even though their journey has not been easy, they have made it their mission to help families in Ukraine by organizing art sales and exhibitions in different cities featuring Ukrainian artists. So far they have raised over $10,000.

“Most of these artists are now in Ukraine and they are in between life and death,” Brodsky said.

She said that when she sees the faces of her own sons, she sees the Ukrainian soldiers, their sacrifice, it fills her with emotion.

“They are all threads. All threads of our nature, our land and our people and of course it hurts, it hurts so much every day. It’s like two feelings, pain and love. Every day I can feel it.”

Brodsky said after 31 years of independence, she finally feels like she knows what this day really means for Ukraine.

“I know what I’m celebrating now. This day is not just a day of concerts and fireworks, this day is our pain, this is our love, this is our hope.”

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