My name is Natalya. I was sponsored by Chalice for 10 years, and I want to share what I had to go through in my life. I was born in Chortkiv, Ternopil Region. My father was a military man and my mother was a cook. I have a sister Olenka. We were a happy family, until my mom was diagnosed with cancer. She had surgery, but it was too late. After losing everything thanks to sponsorship she is now a nurse taking care of others. She died on May 6, 1997, when she 34. At the time of death, she took me and my sister by the hands and asked us to never fight and always support each other. I can’t remember my mother very well, but her last words are imprinted in my memory, “Dear Holy Mary, I leave my two daughters under your care. Help them in life”. I was little and didn’t fully understand what had happened, so I kept asking my granny every day when my mom would come back, where she was taken and why she was buried in the cemetery.
Right after mother’s death, my father started drinking. He would come home drunk and even abused me and my sister. So our maternal aunt took my sister away to live with her and my grandparents took me to the village to live with them. Later on, my father was denied of his parental rights and he disappeared for three years. Meanwhile, I started school in the village, and got sponsored by Chalice. Sponsorship was an invaluable support for me. I just survived owing to it. It has become a part of my life and it laid the foundation for me to move on in my life. My granny did her best to replace my mother but there were days when I would come home and hide from everyone in a corner and cry because children at school teased me, called me names, mocked at me for having no mother and a drunken father. It hurt me so much, but I never complained to my teachers at school about it. At home, my granny comforted me with her promise that the things would change.
My life went on with no change until my father was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and was admitted to hospital. At that point he stopped drinking and underwent medical care. He even visited us at home, and we became very happy. After all, he was our father and we needed paternal care and love. But that did not last long, as his condition was hopeless. One day, his heart just stopped beating. My sister and I became orphans. Father’s death was very hard on us, but we had to go on with our lives no matter how difficult they were. After my father’s funeral I got very sick. I had serious pain in my heart and I had to stay in hospital for a while. Soon after, my granny on my father's side passed away too. She died with a smile on her face, saying that she would finally see her sons. Her elder son Anatoliy, my godfather, died tragically when I was only three months old. I only knew him from pictures. That same year, my godmother died. I stayed with my other granny, whom I loved so much. She replaced my mother since I was six years old. But she also died unexpectedly at the age of 68. It was a big loss for my family, and a double loss for me. She raised me, cared for me, stayed by my bed and worried when I was sick. She passed away so suddenly. It seemed impossible to cope with my grief. I still miss her very much.
I lost almost all my family and relatives by 18. Since then my family has been my grandfather who is 86 now, and my sister. My granddad is feeble and has required a lot of medical care. We sacrificed many things for his sake. My desire to become a nurse and save people came naturally after losing the closest family. Upon finishing grade 9 at school, I entered Medical College in my hometown. I have passed the 4 year program in nursing. Luckily for me I have already got a job as a nurse in Intensive Care Unit at Chortkiv District Hospital. My work is hard and I work long hours, but I try to do my job well. I am happy that I have had Chalice support all the years until I am able to earn my own living. I hope that someday I will be able to support some orphaned children the way I was supported by Chalice.
God’s blessing upon all in Chalice.
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Natalya, From Heartbreaking Loss to Healthcare Professional
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