Reflections on walking through a cemetery of fresh graves of Ukrainian soldiers.

We did not start out looking for this place. Had we known we were going to come across it, we might have shied away. We just walked around a corner and there it was – we were shocked, yet drawn in. A mixture of numbness and nausea, more than wet eyes, in part shut down – not able to take it all in. We carefully walked between rows – stopping to read, figure out ages, look at their pictures and feel the pain and rawness that the area presents. Some graves were very fresh — people sitting around them, brushing the dirt, bringing bags of new dirt for a fresh grave, removing flowers, changing water or just sitting there with their hands to their eyes holding each other. My presence felt intrusive in moments that required the ultimate privacy – but so many, so close together. It was difficult to have that privacy for the mourners.

When I came across the grave of a 19 year old, my tears gave way. Everything about it seemed so wrong – so many died alone, in pain and scared, so far from home. Standing there, among that energy, was overwhelming. The rawness. I walked away – shaking and weeping.

This is always the effects of war and it is just too real here.

Back in Ukraine with Tama Adelman and the Hands on Global team.