Her life was an embodiment of her principles. She never tolerated injustice and was ready to fight for everyone who was in trouble. She wasn’t interested in personal comfort and safety which she readily sacrificed when there was work to do. She was equally ready to confront a guy beating his girlfriend, the police, or far-right activists. Tisha was among those who found the feminist march in Kharkiv when it was still really dangerous.
Her feeling of justice didn’t betray her when the Russian troops invaded Ukraine. Tisha joined the Territorial defense as a paramedic. Quickly went through training and went to the Kharkiv region. There, she got under enemy shelling and had shell shock.
Tisha organized a stabilization point in her Kharkiv apartment where both military and civilians were treated.
Tisha died in August because of cardiac problems. Unfortunately, we found out about it only now.
With the permission of Tisha’s mother, we’re publishing a letter Tisha wrote to her boyfriend after she was sent to the frontline. We hope it’ll allow you to understand her better.
“It’s really important indeed – thoughts and feelings of people, this is what life consists of. I think I changed a lot, really the war changed me dramatically.
Today I was driving from the city to the positions, looking at these wide fields, at our blue-and-yellow, like a huge flag flapping all around, as reality consists of Ukraine, and there’s nothing beyond…
I was looking at all those sunflowers, lakes, houses, at all that space, freedom, at people’s faces so dear and bright, kind and sincere, though with the assault rifles in their hands, at the sky – sometimes so bright your heart breaks from the joy that you’re alive and can see all this, sometimes gloomy all of a sudden, almost like a portrait of Taras Shevchenko staring at you from the wall in the Ukrainian literature classroom, and I think – it’s mine! No, not like that – MINE!! Won’t ever give it up to anyone, that’s how greedy I’ve become. It’s so beautiful and it’s so important that it stays OURS, my own, there’s nothing I wouldn’t give for that, not even my life, what would I do with my life without all that? How would I look myself in the eye somewhere in a foreign country knowing that I’ve let the monsters plunder that beauty? We don’t talk about it but we both know that I put my life in a lot of danger but I don’t regret it at all and have no fear. Don’t think I blame you, it’s just that whom else would I share such innermost thoughts with? You’ll save it, I know. Not the words but the feeling, you know it, you have it in you.
No matter what happens, I’ll know my life wasn’t in vain because the main thing will remain, the one thing that remains in the end – memory. Now I feel like a crumb at the break of the tectonic plates of two civilizations, like a star in the galaxy, like a drop in the ocean – I’m incredibly small and insignificant but at the same time I AM, and it wouldn’t be the same without me…
Maybe I’m destined to be a tiny dot on a grand canvas of history which is being painted right now, but no matter how small that dot is, the painting is incomplete without it, it lacks something if you look closely enough. I’m happy to be here, I’m in my place.”