Home   News   Article

'I want to fly home and hug my mother, my grandmother and son' – Ukrainian refugee in Inverness dreams of peace

By Contributor

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Halyna Toran dreams of peace in Ukraine.
Halyna Toran dreams of peace in Ukraine.

As a Ukrainian refugee in Inverness, violinist Halyna Toran lives with a phone in her hand as she waits for the latest news.

It is the second time in her life she has been displaced due to Russian conflict – 30 years ago, her family fled Moldova.

In the third of our series, Halyna reflects on leaving her homeland with her husband and their young son and her dream for peace:

Halyna Toran. Picture: Callum Mackay.
Halyna Toran. Picture: Callum Mackay.

I remember how as a little one ran to the window and looked with trembling and wide-eyed eyes at the column of tanks that were driving through the centre of Chisinau in Moldova.

Mum cooked on the street on a fire. There was no gas. The Russians began with the explosion of the gas pipeline.

After some time, the whole family left for their native Ukraine.

On February 24, 2022, the war began. My morning started at 5 am as I woke up from a trembling in the house. Thirty years have passed and we are on the way again. Half of the family, half of the heart, half of the soul.

Tears flowed like a river all week. One son is pressed to my chest. Because it is winter, there is no gasoline and we are driving without air conditioning. The child trembles from the cold, I warm him as much as I can with my warmth and love.

The other son stayed at home with my mother and grandmother and my soul does not know peace to this day. Many days and nights passed in prayer for them. Many oceans of tears passed. Peace left my body.

We moved four times in nine months, looking for a place and cannot find it. What will happen tomorrow, we do not know. I live with a phone in my hands.

Fortune brought us to a place where we met many people with big hearts and great empathy.

Blue hearts are glued to the first box of things from volunteer, Helen, and my tears fall.

People who don't know me and where I'm from have packed things and toys for my baby. He has clothes and will not freeze any more. No one in this world has done this for us.

The warm Scottish reception is really hot. We are warmed with their warmth. Completely unfamiliar people share their things. I thank them every day in my prayers.

I thank God that he opened this particular door to Inverness and I met my warm friends in the city that I read about as a child but could never have believed that I would live here – a place of power where people live with huge hearts and wide embrace.

My life now is news on the phone, daily calls home, helping our family and all Ukrainians. We live to help. This is a priority – and prayers, prayers, prayers.

I want peace, I want to fly home and hug my mother and grandmother and son. I want us to reunite and live together.

I want not a single person whom God has given life to die from Russian bombs. I want my land to stop bleeding and groaning from pain.

I want all the children to live under a peaceful sky and not know what sirens are.

I am immensely grateful to Scotland and England for helping Ukraine. In trouble, you can see who a true friend is.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More