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A Boy’s Story
Life in the Ukraine has scattered people, places, and peace. What is left is trying to sort out where I am I, who I am, what is mine, and where can I go to find sustenance and peace in this broken and tortured world. I am lonely, broken and afraid. My friend gave me a Blue and Yellow book that says “Hope for Ukraine” on it. Where is Ukraine now? It used to be where I lived with my mum and Dad with my furry little puppy and baby sister. Now my Dad is right in the war—what is war? I really don’t know or understand what war is. What I do know is that now I am in Poland with people I don’t know with my Mum, but I don’t know where my Dad is and the worst part is that my baby sister was killed while my mom carried her as we ran for the bus to go away from the horror and horrid life. I really don’t want to go on living without my baby sister.
My mom cries almost all day now; but she tries to hide her tears from me. We are now in a safe place in Poland, taken in by some teachers and other people who are trying to help us feel better. I want to just sit in the corner of the room and think about what I had to leave, about when my dad will come home, and thinking about how I used to make my baby sister laugh when I tickled her under her chin or kissed her on her head or checks. What could ever make me feel happy and safe again? I just feel so very sad and my back and legs ache from sleeping on the pallet with a small blanket to keep warm, but by my mom keeps snuggling with me and tries to help me feel safe. But, I don’t feel safe. I worry about whether another bomb will come or that soldiers will come to Poland like they did to my home that they burned. I can’t really sleep. I keep hearing planes, and I imagine that that they will zoom down to wipe out yet another place I have called home. How can I sleep? I need to stay awake to protect my Mum, because Daddy told me my job was to take care of her until he comes for us. Will he ever come for us? Will he find us? We are in a different city, a different place, a school… I don’t think I will ever see him again. What does a boy do without a dad? I don’t think I want to live without a dad! But, I have no choice, I MUST stay strong and take care of my mum!
Someone here told me I am stressed and anxious, but I will get stronger. I am not sure what stress or anxiety or getting strong, really mean.
I was just looking at the book my friend gave me. It is filled with designs to color and places to draw. I stuffed a few colors in my bag before we rushed out of my apartment before we ran to the bus. I like to draw and color. Coloring usually helps me fill the time while I have watched my baby sister sleep or while I waited for my mom to cook our food. Maybe I could try to put some colors on one of these designs. MAYBE, I will get tired enough to take a rest and to think about the colors and share them with my new friend… maybe…
Research on coloring tells us that coloring relieves stress and anxiety and can decrease body aches and sleeping problems (Art Therapy, Journal of the American Art therapy Association (Vol.34, 2017, Issue 1).
“Will coloring help me feel better?” Asks our little friend. Coloring used to be known as a simple task for little kiddos. Now adults and therapists have learned that coloring helps us, especially if we are focused on coloring in the lines, because we, for a moment, are not thinking about the difficult stressful past or future things that have been plaguing us.
How will I ever forget saying goodbye to my dad as he carried off his rifle, dressed in army clothes with tears running down his cheeks as he kissed my mum goodbye. He didn’t want me to see the tears, but I saw them twinkle in the lamplight as he turned to go. He had ruffled my hair and kissed my sister for the last time before he ran down the stairs into the night.
This Blue and Yellow book is the only thing I have that it all mine.
Coloring is a way to relax, appreciate color, focus for the moment, and not to stress on the past or the future, produces mindfulness and the freedom to find peace.