February 24, 2022, a little after 12 noon
That first day of the full-scale Russian invasion was one of contradictory extremes for us. The kids and I spent the first half of the day mostly alone in a basement, sheltering in place because of repeated air raid sirens in the morning. Then, shortly after noon, one of my brothers-in-law Jon came and found us. He was accompanied by a good friend, the Ukrainian pastor of the church that my husband and I had planted in this city fourteen years earlier. No words were necessary or even possible. We just held each other, tears in our eyes, drawing comfort from each other’s presence.