Author`s name Olga Savka

Mother Raises Two Children Doomed to Death

A nuclear test ground in Semipalatinsk ruined the woman's life, but she does not give way to despair 

The courage of this woman may be an example to follow for a lot of desperate people. Raising two children doomed to death - what can be more horrible for a mother?

They met each other incidentally. A military school cadet was walking down the stairs of a department store in the Russian town of Murom. Vladimir noticed two pretty girls nearby. The young man was proud of his new military uniform, so he wanted to walk them by to impress them, but he stumbled and fell down. The girls were laughing until they cried. The laughter hurt Vladimir's self-esteem, so he decided to laugh at the girls too, especially at the pretty one with brown eyes. He was following her until she came up to her house. When the girl saw him, he asked her: "Why did you laugh at me?"

Soon after that, Vladimir left to study and Vera (that was the girl's name) was writing him letters, waiting for new chances to meet him. In about a year, the young officer was ordered to leave to the town of Semipalatinsk, and he came to Murom to ask Vera to marry him.

No one knew anything of nuclear tests in Semipalatinsk at the end of the 1970s. The new family settled on the new place very fast. At first they lived in a dormitory, but then they moved into an apartment. They lived together for six years, but the family did not grow. They started thinking of adopting a child, when Vera was happy to know that she was pregnant.

The little girl was born a healthy child. The parents named her Lyubov, Lyuba for short, which means "love" in Russian. The girl was only two years old, when son Yury was born – a healthy child too. Vladimir was then demobilized from the army, so the family decided to return to Murom.

Lyuba could read and write at the age of six. She was growing a healthy little girl, until she fell ill with a strange disease. At first it seemed that it was just a cold, but the ailment lasted too long. The mother did not notice it at once that her daughter's eyesight had worsened. Local doctors could not diagnose the sickness – Lyuba stopped reading, she never wanted to play, she did not watch cartoons on television. She was losing her eyesight every day. The Doctors of a Moscow hospital finally diagnosed leuco- dystrophy of the brain. It is an incurable illness, so they recommended Vera to bring the girl to a special school for the children with poor sight. Vera and Vladimir eventually decided that they had to go to Samara to educate their daughter there. Yury fell ill with the same disease at the age of six: familiar symptoms did not give even a slightest hope.

Later on, the girl started losing her memory. She could hardly remember poems that she would recite easily before. Yury was like a reflection of his sister's disease, he just lacked two years behind. Lyuba could not speak well, she could not recognize her parents at times, she would lie down all day long and moved scarcely. Vera visited a lot of hospital and medical institutes, begging doctors to help her children. The doctors were aware of the fact that the children were born in the town of Semipalatinsk, where a nuclear test ground was located. However, no one of them ventured to document the suspicion.

The children were in need of permanent care, they would not recover. Vladimir would often leave for long, at time he did not come back home for days. Probably, he did not want to see his wife and children suffering that much. Vera would leave her sick children at home and go to look for her husband at local bars. Vladimir would often spend the money that had been saved for medicines, so Vera eventually decided to leave him and move back to her family in Murom. When she divorced, she was deprived of any help and support. Her mother was sick too, so the woman had to take care of both her children and her mother.

Doctors predicted the lethal outcome for Vera's children in the very beginning of their ailment. They suggested she should give them away to a shelter for disabled people, but Vera did not want to hear a word about it. The two children are still alive: Lyuba does not react to the visual environment, she does not see, does not speak, does not hear, does not understand anything. Her tendons grew together due to the constant lying position, so she can not bend her joints. Yury is leading the same life, being two years behind his sister.

Life has been testing this woman, but no one of her relatives or friends has ever heard her complaining.

Lyudmila Kuznetsova

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