My Dear Beloved Mother and Father,
As I write to you from my well-lighted and warm home in America, I see images on the nightly news of our hometown, Kherson, being brutalized and bombed by the Russians. In February, when the invasion of our country started, you made the decision to wait out the war, but by April it was no longer safe to drive the streets of Kherson with the Russian soldiers terrorizing the residents who were trying to survive, simply looking for food and shelter. When you made the journey west to Lviv to find safe harbor I knew it would be dangerous but you made the right choice to go. Though it is under Martial Law, at least Lviv is not occupied by the aggressors.
We know how fortunate we are to be here in the U.S. and think of you constantly. When I look back on it, winning the green card lottery to emigrate to the United States in 2007 was a miracle. I remember telling you both that Viktoryia and I were moving to America. You were gracious and did not guilt us for leaving our home and country even though it was heartbreaking for you and us. I know Vasyl leaving in 2019 to practice medicine in Slovakia was another blow to our nuclear family but you supported his decision as well. Our lives outside of Ukraine are bright and promising. I am attending law school to build on my education in Ukraine and hopefully someday I will be a practicing lawyer in New York. My daughters were born here. How fortunate we are here. We can only be so happy though, knowing you are still suffering through this war with its many atrocities which you have described to me over the last several months—so much worse than what we see here in the U.S. news. We do everything we can from here, focusing on raising monies through our non-profit organization, Help UA Inc., for purchasing, packing and shipping clothing, medical supplies, uniforms, safety equipment, hygiene products and other essentials to Ukraine.
We pray for your safety and health in your temporary home in Lviv and we look forward to the day when we can all be together again in a peaceful world.
Your loving son,
Simon Andriychuk is a 39-year-old Ukrainian American who has lived in the U.S. since 2007 with his wife and children. An attorney in Ukraine, Simon has worked at my law firm since 2016 as a paralegal and is now studying for the New York Bar. His extended family remain in Ukraine. This letter was edited.