Rafael Khachatryan was only a 12-day-soldier when the 44-day war began. Ignoring that fact, he was transferred from Stepanakert to Hadrut on September 27. The recruit went through the whole war, took part in many heavy battles, and died in the hospital on November 25.

Rafael’s mother, Varduhi Baghdasaryan, tells that, from the very first day of the war, her son called his parents to say that he was in a safe place and that he was not in any danger. And so — for 44 days. On the last day of the war, November 9, the parents received news that their son was wounded, he was taken to Yerevan and was in Astghik Medical Center. Only after meeting his son did it become clear that he was not in any safe places, but in many dangerous and hot spots.

“The last day of the war was his father’s birthday. He called early in the morning. It was eight a.m. I said, Rafael dear, be careful; I was very worried. He said, ‘Mom, everything is normal, it is so beautiful here; the day is bright and clear, the blue sky is so beautiful, everything looks so beautiful!’ And he gets wounded during the day. He is brought to Yerevan. We see him, was conscious. He could not feel his legs below the waist. But we did not think about it. We said it’s okay, we will do everything to make him walk again. He was so happy to see us. The father also said. ‘Dad, do you see what a gift I gave you for your birthday? I came back for your birthday’,” recalls the soldier’s mother.

Rafael then underwent surgery to remove the fragments from his spine. According to the mother, everything went well, but another problem arose. “The operation went very well, but then the headaches started. One day he said, ‘Mom, I’m very bored here, at least bring me a book to read’. When we brought the book that same day, he was in a coma. Meningitis started due to the shrapnels and he fell into a coma and did not wake up…”

“Time goes by, but the pain deepens because the longing suffocates us. Well, people around ypu see that ypu are alive, you smile, you go somewhere. But it is them that see all that. There is no life left in you, as if your life is buried with him,” said the mother of the killed soldier.

Rafael Khachatryan was posthumously awarded the Medal of Courage. When the representatives of the Ministry of Defense contacted the soldier’s parents months ago and expressed a wish to visit their house, Rafael’s father, Eduard, forbade them to do so and said: “Where were you when my son was fighting?”

Ani Gevorgyan

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