After the death of her beloved, a woman from Chernivtsi became a paramedic in Donbas
Updated: Jun 11, 2022
Until recently, Elena Lanivska, a district council deputy from Chernivtsi, was happy. More than a year ago, she met her true love – 27-year-old military officer Mykhailo Prystupa, who originally comes from Lutsk. Mykhailo took part in the Maidan protest movement, also known as the Revolution of Dignity. Then he served in volunteer battalions and signed a contract with the Ukrainian Armed Forces. At the time of his first encounter with Elena, the man was serving in the 503rd Detached Marine Battalion in Mariupol. "It was love at first sight"
"We got to know each other in the most up-to-date way – through the Internet, Elena Lanivska told a correspondent in a phone conversation. “Mykhailo noticed me on the social media page of our mutual friend and followed me. He was viewing all my stories and finally commented on one of them. That is how we started to communicate. It is hard to believe, but even though we have never seen each other in real life, I immediately knew that he was my person. At some point, Mykhailo texted me that he was going to visit Chernivtsi on his vacation. When we met, I realized that I fell in love at first sight. Actually, I have developed feelings for him even before our first meeting".
Elena admits that she has never had such strong feelings for a person before. "I had no idea that it could be possible. I told Mykhailo that I fell in love with him like a little girl. In response, he confessed to me: "If this isn’t love, then I don’t even know what it is". They have been dating for over a year. Elena often visited Mykhailo in Mariupol. Those days were filled with love and happiness for both. In October, Mykhailo's contract was due to expire. But he wasn’t planning to extend it. Mykhailo wanted to marry his beloved girlfriend, move to Chernivtsi, and start his own business creating printed T-shirts.
"We referred to each other as husband and wife even though we weren’t engaged or married. We wanted to register our marriage that summer. But then we decided that after the end of Mykhailo’s contract, we will choose wedding rings and have a small celebration. The next step was to go on a trip somewhere to Asia", Elena recalls.
"Two months filled with pain"
Because of the war, the couple’s plans were not destined to come true. Elena notes that even if her beloved had already been out of the army at that time, he would have still gone to the war. He couldn’t have done otherwise. As the war had started, the unit where Mykhailo served was transferred to Irpin. Sadly, his life was cut short there on March 5. The man died heroically while covering for his comrades as they were fending off the enemies.
Mykhailo's death was a terrible blow to Elena.
"The brain refuses to come to terms with reality. There is no connection with the heart ... I don't know what's next. Instead of the path that I have been following all my life, I only see an abyss. Nowadays, the future is a fully destroyed city of Mariupol, and you're rebuilding it…"
More than two months have passed since Mykhailo's death, and it did not get any easier for Elena: "Time doesn't heal. You just live with it. I can still feel your hands stroking my hair. Wishing to snuggle up with you at least for a moment", – she shared on social media.
"I'm where I need to be now"
Elena realized that work is the only thing that would distract her from grief. That’s why she decided to join “Hospitallers”, a Ukrainian voluntary organization of paramedics who are saving soldiers’ lives in Donbas. Elena is a physician by training, she was studying at the Medical College of the Bukovinian State Medical University, majoring in "General Medicine".
"After Mykhailo's death, it was very difficult for me to walk around Chernivtsi, the streets where we have been together. That's why I was initially spending more time in Kyiv, volunteering. But when the situation there got relatively stable, I started looking for a job again as a means of distraction. Then I met a girl whose beloved has also died. She told me about the Hospitallers crew. At that moment, they were being sent to Donbas. So, I decided to join them as well since I have some medical training. I took a few days-long courses and went there as a paramedic. My job is to transport the wounded to medical facilities. Trips are frequent. Fortunately, most of the injuries are mild to moderate".
Elena still can't imagine her life without her beloved. "Now it is very difficult to make any plans for the future. Mykhailo and I had everything planned down to the smallest detail, and now… Unfortunately, I'm not the only one who has to go through this. Many girls and women were left without their loved ones, sons, parents, brothers… And I don't even know what to tell them since I'm looking for consolation myself. The only thing that keeps me distracted is work. It also makes me more aware of what we've been talking about many times with Mykhailo: freedom is the most important thing. I understand that he died for our freedom, including mine. Therefore, I must continue his struggle. I'm where I need to be now… " #Hospitallers #HospitallersLife #Paramedics #HospitallersUkraine #HospitallersUK #HelpHospitallers #SupportUkraine #HelpUkraine #StandWithUkraine #HelpUkraineNow