36-year-old Lusine Israilyan has been living with a heavy sense of guilt for six months after her forced deportation from Artsakh: why did she leave her husband there and came to Armenia? “If I were to die, he would definitely have brought me; he would not have left me there alone,” Lusine voices her tormenting thoughts in a conversation with Forrights.am.

Her husband Grigor Israilyan, a 22-year-old soldier, was serving in the Artsakh Defense Army and died on September 20 while defending the positions of Khramort village, Askeran region of NK. “After 20 years of service in the army, he was supposed to retire, but he postponed his retirement every time. He dedicated his whole life to the army and went with the army,” says Lusine.

Before the Azerbaijani attack and war on September 19, life in the siege was not easy for the Israilyan family. They lived in Stepanakert. Lusine worked as a nurse in the Arevik Children’s Medical Association, Grigor was in the service, and engaged in agriculture at the same time. On September 18, they decided to go to their native Khndzristan, to bake bread with the little flour they had, to finish the village work. But, at midnight, they got a call saying that an alarm had been announced and the husband had to go to the positions. “They said that the situation is not good, and he left us in the village. It was midnight when he left. He left us and went.” The family has not seen Grigor anymore. They communicated through short messages and short calls until the morning of September 20, but in the evening of September 20, they received the soldier’s body. “It was impossible not to recognize him: he had all his things in his pocket,” – Lusine cannot contain her emotions.

The two days of the Azerbaijani attack on Artsakh were a nightmare for the young woman. She took shelter in the basements, waited for encouraging news from her husband, took care of her son, 15-year-old Gevorg, and wondered when this uncertainty would end. “No one of our ministers, the government, our president did at least come out and reassure people, say that the situation is like this, such and such steps must be taken, don’t panic. “Whoever could, saved his head, saved himself, saved his children,” the woman says.

Her husband, Grigor Israilyan, was buried on September 23, when they did not even realize that they had to leave Artsakh. “To be honest, the situation was so tense that we didn’t think what was going to happen. Nor could we find a coffin. We had a funeral on the 23rd and at that time there was no discussion that we should evacuate, leave Stepanakert. On the 24th of the month, one of our relatives came and said that people are already leaving, we should start moving. If I had known that we were going out, we would have brought Grigor with us, because now every day I think about what could happen there now. Now if you ask me where your husband is buried, I might not even know the place. It was a terrible situation: pits were prepared and everyone was taken there one by one and buried. Sometimes I wonder if I suddenly go back, will I know the place? Every time I blame myself for leaving him and coming here without him. If there were a way, we wouldn’t have buried him… We had to leave, we left. I always think that he is there, he is waiting for us, we will go there soon… I think like that. I don’t know. maybe that’s what my heart wants, that’s why I think like that,” says Lusine.

Lusine lives with her 15-year-old son at her relatives’ house. Recently, she got a job as a nurse in one of the medical institutions in Yerevan. The salary is extremely low, so they cannot think about renting a separate place for themselved. In addition to the pain of losing her husband, domestic worries have increased. zhis three brothers are disabled, but they do not receive state support, and she has to regularly go to Vanadzor [another region in Armenia] to take care of his elderly parents and helpless brothers. “Before, my husband took all the care, now I do it.” On the other hand, the child is still a teenager, so far, he is unable to adapt to life in Yerevan.

“We had so many dreams, goals for him, but now that we have come here, he does not want anything. Besides his father, he lost a close friend during the explosion. It is difficult for him to get along with the children here. I want to imagine my future, but it doesn’t work; I don’t see anything. Every now and then I think that I also died in Artsakh. But I look at the child and I sober up. I live for my child now: if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t live.”

Hasmik Hambardzumyan

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