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To Find the Meaning in One's Life

Natasha Shvets's story posted by Erich Makarov on April 07, 2013 at 5:42 pm. Natasha emigrated from Kirovograd, Ukraine to Cleveland, United States in 2002

Natasha was one of the most unforgettable and truly wonderful people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Very rarely do we find a person both strong and kind enough to both perform and enjoy helping those in despair and without hope. She was a true heroine who found her love, her meaning, and her joy in the poor disabled people of this world. Natasha was the daughter of my husband through his first marriage. I remember her very clearly from even her youngest years. In our home city of Kirovograd, she was an extremely prominent figure, for one reason: the love of her life had no legs. Even from her high school years she was dedicated to uplifting those who would otherwise sink into the depths of misery. She truly loved this young man, regardless of his disability. She took him everywhere she went on his wheelchair and considered him her own. But, right after she graduated, Natasha declared that she was planning on marrying him. Although her parents had already been watching the relationship unfold with serious trepidation, the final statement was the drop that overfilled the cup. After days on end of endless hysterics and arguments, they convinced Natasha to change her mind. In addition, her parents met with the family of the handicapped boy, who were now going to move to a different town in order to prevent them from ever seeing each other again. For Natasha this was the first heart-breaking experience of her life. However, as we will see much later in her life, her love for the deprived had only begun.


Once the Unfortunate romance was over, Natasha was admitted to medical school outside of Kirovograd. After five years she graduated and found an acceptable job in Odessa, where she soon relocated. Odessa would bring Natasha her second love, Sergei. Sergei was not only a physicist, but also an extremely conspicuous person. He was known for his eccentricity, his nonconformity, and his overall weird behavior. But for Natasha, he was a perfect match. Together they went on many hikes; together they wrote many songs; together they went to the concerts of many prominent anti-government musicians. Soon after they met, the couple was married. The first child, Anna however, was born autistic. Although it would mean serious change in the life of the family and great effort on the part of Natasha, she did not despair but only persevered. On a few occasions she would bring Anna to my home in Kirovograd to look over the little angel while she was away. I was amazed by Natasha; Anna was extremely hard to control. She spoke of herself in the third person, threw tantrums, and was extremely antisocial. But this did not stop her mother in any way. Natasha worked day and night with Anna, and all her work did not go unnoticed by the Heavens. Once Anna entered school, she became one of the top students there would later go on to greater success. Around this time, Sergei’s ex-wife, who lived in the USA, agreed to send them an Affidavit of support and allow entry into America. For the family this was a great relief. With the recent economic collapse in Ukraine, life was becoming progressively harder and harder, and the future of Anna remained unknown. America would become a new chapter in their life.


Once they arrived in New Jersey, the Sergei’s ex-wife provided the family with an apartment. Anna was enrolled into a new school and Natasha had to reenter nursing school and find a job simultaneously with her education.  However, Sergei refused to work. He would sit for weeks at home and compose songs with his guitar. His eccentric nature was engulfing him and making him into a horrible father and husband. As time passed, instead of being the head of the family, he became its burden. Natasha was forced to work at three different jobs and study in college in order to sustain the family. After a year or two, Natasha saw that their life was going nowhere. She could not bear such an existence. So, she packed her belongings, took her daughter, and simply left to find a better future. She would never her from Sergei again. In Cleveland, she once again came to me and my family since we had moved here years before. We took the two in and provided them with all the help they would need. After a few months, Natasha finally graduated nursing school and found a job as a registered nurse. She saved up enough money to buy a small house in Cleveland and moved in with her daughter. They lived happily and peacefully together for quite a while, until Natasha realized her loneliness. She remembered her days with her first love and with Sergei and longed for another relationship. However, this time it would be the man she wanted; this time she would marry the man of her dreams. After months of searching online, she finally found the perfect husband, Yuri. Yuri lived in Siberia with two paralyzed legs and lame arms, but to her he was impeccable. She could not find a more lovable and beautiful man in the whole world.  Only a few weeks after finding him, Natasha set out to meet him in Siberia and bring him to the USA. Once she arrived, she was not disappointed – he was exactly the man who she always wanted to love and live with. Because he was so disabled, she literally had to carry him onto the plane and off of it. She had returned to her childhood love for a poor miserable man whom she would turn into the happiest man alive.


Right away there were many problems. Natasha had to carry him all around the house since he couldn’t walk or use his hands. In order to save her own health and energy, Natasha had to save up for a complete remodeling of the house. She installed a system for his electric wheelchair which could carry him to any part of the house. Luckily, he also found an excellent job as a programmer which he could work on at home. Meanwhile, Anna had graduated high school and entered Cleveland University as a designer. She had also gone a long way. From being an antisocial and completely isolated child, she changed into a friendly, extremely talented and intelligent girl. Although her autism caused her great pain in her childhood, it evolved into an amazing talent which will become her future: art. She is an extremely talented artist and is pursuing a career which will embrace that which was given to her by God. The Family had finally shaped. Anna is on her way to success, Natasha has found her love, and Yuri could not be happier with his love for Natasha. Natasha could have settled for much higher and different standards, but she chose her journey. She chose her own happiness, and achieved it. She found herself in her life-long journey.


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