I honestly don't know if I will live to see the next week. Not creating drama or anything. Just have been talking to my mom, and we've been sharing our small war-time plans, like what's the best time to go to the grocery store to try and not get caught in an air raid - you know, normal Ukrainian stuff. The phrase "if we survive May 9th" was said after every other sentence.

"Hey, mom, look at this big pan I bought specifically to cook borscht."

"Cool, when are you gonna cook it? I'll come over to taste it."

"Great, I was thinking next week. I mean, if we survive May 9th."

or

"I need to replant my plants. Do you want me to give you some sprouts?"

"I guess, but I don't think I'll be coming over this week."

"Oh, I wasn't gonna do it until next week anyway, I'll save you some. That is if we survive May 9th."

Everybody is expecting a big Russian temper tantrum on May 9th. There will be air raids, I just know it, I'll be spending most of the day in a shelter.

May 9th is when ex-USSR countries celebrate victory in WWII. We always celebrated it in a somber way, remembering those who fought for our freedom and safety, remembering the suffering our ancestors went through, saying thank you to veterans. Our slogan is "Never again".

From what I hear in Russia it's a day of pride for their achievement. Their slogan is "We can repeat it". They gleefully comment it under posts of Ukrainians sharing their suffering.

I've been crying a lot recently, sometimes I wake up already in tears. I cry every morning at 9am when it's a minute of silence for all the lives lost in this war. I start crying randomly while making tea or doing something else mundane. I see it as a good thing: I am finally processing my emotions as they come, but also, I want the pain to stop.

As to my mental health, two days ago there was the first thunderstorm this year in my city. The sound of thunder gave me such a panic attack my fitness tracker thought I was exercising and congratulated me on completing my daily goal. The funny thing is I knew it was thunder. I did not mistake it for an air raid or something. But my body reacted on its own. During an actual air raid I usually also feel anger and adrenaline and the determination to stay alive. I have actions that I have to undertake: grab my parrots, grab my phone, make sure the gas and appliances are turned off, get into the hallway, scroll tiktok until it's over. During a thunderstorm, there was none of that, so it just triggered panic. I used to like cozy rainy days. I guess Russia ruined even those for me now.