I saw you on the news, loading your family onto a train, sending your wife and daughter to safety after a Russian air raid.
But you stayed.
I watched you say goodbye to your wife and little girl. Kneeling, you lovingly looked into your daughter’s eyes and then began to sob.
Overcome with emotion, you took a moment to get composed before embracing them one last time and bidding them farewell.
Then you pressed your splayed hand to the window to stay close to your wife and child for as long as possible until the train pulled away from the platform.
I could feel your desperation through the phone as you watched them go. The pain on your face was strong enough to be felt by everyone; I cried in return.
But, still, you stayed.
Denying yourself the opportunity of accompanying them to somewhere else far away from the war taking place.
Why? To fight, I presume.
Although you didn’t appear to be a Ukrainian soldier- you weren’t wearing a uniform.
Not only that, but at a glance, you looked older and softer in appearance than the young Russians in tactical gear I saw excitedly filming themselves getting ready to invade your country moments prior and posting about it on Instagram and Twitter.
However, you DID look like a devoted husband and protective father willing to do whatever it takes to defend your home, country, and loved ones from enemy forces.
Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened next, but I pray that your sacrifice at the train station was worth the cost.
Freedom isn’t cheap, so you stayed behind to pay the price it would take to help your family and the next generation of Ukrainians yet to be born have a future worth living.
You stayed behind so others could move forward, and that is what matters in the end.
May God bless your efforts in the here & now and thereafter, and may this goodbye not be your last moments together.
Lori Butierriesis a full-time caregiver to two children with disabilities. She uses her life experiences and the medical knowledge she gained from serving as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy to help others facing similar hardships. Lori is an author for The Havok Journal, an official columnist for AwareNow Magazine, and a contributor to The Mighty. Likewise, other news sites like MSN and Yahoo! News have also republished select articles Lori has written. Lori’s writing extends to children’s literature. Her debut picture book, GIFT FROM GOD, was self-published at the beginning of 2021 and placed as a finalist in two categories in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Lori’s long-term goals are to use her writing to educate others about, advocate for, and dismantle negative stereotypes regarding disability, mental health, and the military/veterans community.