This unfortunate mother, with no money, not even the most basic living conditions, has four children. And her fifth child is her old blind mother.
But the greatest tragedy of a selfless mother is that she will never hear her dearest child - 5-year-old Leila - call her "mother” for the first time, she will never see her first steps.
It’s true that there are four children in the family, but today our main character will be 5-year-old Leila. She is the major member of the family. Everyone is busy looking after her, taking care of her. Even her 7-month-old brother Gabriel is more independent than Leila. She cannot do anything by herself. Gabro can scream when he is hungry or show what he wants. Poor Leila can only cry loudly - this means that something hurts her very much.
Epileptic attacks prevent her from normal life. Sometimes attacks happen during the day, sometimes at night, and sometimes several times a day.
Foaming at the mouth, seizures, convulsions... It is not so easy to recover after the attack. Everyone experiences that, especially her older sisters - 12-year-old Lika and 7-year-old Samanda. Their only dream is for their sister to be healthy.
"Every attack is like a little death"
- Madonna, could you please tell us about your daughter’s disease?
Madonna: Leila suffers a lot. The worst thing is that she realizes everything that happens to her. Despite the fact that she takes medications, her attacks are getting more severe. Sometimes they are so terrible that even I get scared. Her eyes roll back, her fingers twist, her lips turn out... God, how terrible is that.
“Please don't scare us. Please, do not die"
- How did it start? Did they tell you during your pregnancy, that your baby girl would have problems?
Madonna: No. To be honest, I had no money either for tests or for an ultrasound. I already had two healthy daughters - I did not think about the bad. How could I imagine such a thing? It was hard to give birth, it was very hard... The doctors brought me the baby for a while, and then they took her back for a long time... They had been giving her shots all the time, and when I asked them questions their reply was -"it is necessary."
- No one can deceive a mother's heart ...
Madonna: I knew that something was wrong, and I was very worried. Leila was tiny, weak, lethargic, she ate poorly. She was seven months old when her first terrible attack happened. It was so scary! You can’t even imagine that! I wonder how I did not die from horror right away. My girl spent five days in an intensive care unit. And then they disclosed our verdict: Cerebral palsy, unspecified epilepsy, unspecified bronchitis. (Cries). My daughter is disabled.
“Don’t be afraid, you will not die. Mommy is here”
- Madonna, please do not cry, we are so sorry! What measures are you taking? Is it possible to help your daughter, to alleviate her condition somehow? What do the doctors say?
Madonna: Leila is already five years old. These are years of continuous struggle, constant rehabilitation, thank God, it is financed by the state. You know, I don't even dream of her talking. But there is a chance that my baby can walk! She needs to get a shot for that, and the shot costs 900 GEL. But unfortunately, they finance only 500 GEL. So, we will need to get another 400 GEL somewhere! This is an unrealistic amount for us. If one shot does not work within six months, she will need to get the second shot. According to the doctors, this will put Leila on her feet.
- Does she try to walk?
Madonna: She can crawl, but she does not have enough strength even for that. My girl, she understands everything! She is worried that she cannot talk, she is very afraid of her attacks. When she sees other children playing in the yard, she starts crying bitterly... Her sisters try not to leave her alone.
"When she has no seizures, she looks like a little angel."
- How often do attacks occur?
Madonna: It differs - we live in constant fear. Sometimes an entire month can pass calmly, but sometimes it might happen two times a day. She may get bad at night, but she starts to call me, wake me up. All attacks are different: sometimes she beats and wriggles like a fish that has been thrown out of the water. Her face distorts, her eyes roll back and become completely white. Flakes of foam come from her nose and mouth. I would be happy to die right away, just not to see this horror... But my children need me, especially Leila. I have to live!
"We all would give a piece of our health to Leila"
- You are strong!
Madonna: I have no other choice. I have to live for my daughter’s sake. She won’t be able to survive without me. Most of all, she is afraid of staying alone, even for a minute. I see everything. She is scared, she fully realizes the horror that is happening to her, and it seems to me that most of all she is afraid of getting bad when no one is around. But there is one more important thing: she looks into my eyes the way... I can’t even explain it to you. I cannot show her my fear and weakness, because when she sees that her mother is not afraid, it gives her strength!
- Can Leila pronounce at least a few words?
Madonna: No... Well, how to say? Sometimes, when she is passionate about the game, she can pronounce a word so clearly that it seems as if she is about to start talking. But no... She communicates with gestures. She can say: "Yes". When she feels very bad, she indistinctly pronounces something like "ma-ah-ah" - she calls me that way. I would give everything, if only my girl could talk and walk. If only I could give her my feet, my ability to talk... (The young woman bursts into tears again.)
"Mom is not afraid, so I shouldn't be afraid either"
- Children get worried when you are crying. Look how they look. Let's talk about them.
Madonna: Yes, I have two older daughters - Lika is already 12 years old, quite an adult, Samanda is 7 years old. And my little son Gabriel, he is just 7 months old. He is very active! It seems like he is about to get up on his feet and start walking right away. Not even walking but running! But he is formula-fed. You probably know how expensive it is. We also need diapers for him and Leila. It is very hard for us financially: allowance and pension - that's all our income. And the children need so many things.
- How do you manage to cope?
Madonna: “Cope” is a strong word - we just survive as best as we can. My husband cannot work, his mother got blind, and she almost does not get up from her bed for eight years now. She needs to be cared for like a baby. My Leila is in such a state, Gabriel is just a baby. I can't do it alone. Malkhaz helps me a lot. If not for his support, I don't know what would have happened. God sent me this man, probably as a reward for all my suffering.
As for our expanses, we can't handle it. My husband and I are ready to just drink water and eat stale bread. But what about children? What about my old sick mother-in-law? What about diapers, medications? I just keep quiet about prices for food. The allowance flies away with speed of light, as if we did not get it all. I dream to renovate our apartment, especially the bathroom. It's embarrassing to admit that we warm water for bathing in a kettle! The walls and ceiling are crumbling, and I am afraid that this garbage can get into the food when I cook. This apartment is very old, it is literally falling apart. It’s terrible! But we can do nothing with that.
- You speak of your husband with such a boundless love. How did you meet your knight in shining armor?
Madonna: The fact is that my first marriage ended sadly... Not everyone is able to bear such a cross. I was left completely alone. I don't know how I managed to survive, fear for my daughter did not let me fall, and I fought. I knocked at all the doors to get a pension, allowance, financing for rehabilitation. I spent 24/7 standing by the doors of different authorities with my children in my arms. My mom accused me of breaking up with my husband and did not support me in any way.
And so, when I finally came to terms with the fact that I had to fight all alone, Malkhaz appeared in my life. We met while visiting my friend. He just came to have a cup of coffee. We immediately liked each other. (Madonna smiled for the first time during our conversation.) I was making coffee for him and thinking that if he liked me too, then that should be a destiny. We got married three months later.
His mother accepted me like I was her own child. Malkhaz adores my children, he never says "my son", "your daughters". He takes them to school, to kindergarten. He feeds Leila, gives her medications, changes her clothes, changes her diapers. Very often, he gets up in the morning before me for that, to let me sleep. The girls call him Dad, and they call my mother-in-law, Granny. He gives them so much love, attention, and warmth, that the own father cannot always give!
- Does anybody help you?
Madonna: We get an allowance from the state, the state finances Leila's rehabilitation, thanks to them for that. My parents have been divorced for a long time - our relationship is not very warm. I have a brother and sister, but they are socially disadvantaged. My sister has five children.
They already know us in the nearest pharmacy, they give us formula for Gabriel on credit. And that's a big help too! Our neighbors are helping us, they are very sorry for my kids, they give them toys and clothes. I am immensely grateful to all of them! The Lord does not leave us and helps us with the hands of kind people! From an early age my girls got used to hardships, they don't even ask for anything. Their sister's disease is a severe trauma for them. Every time Leila has an attack, Lika and Samanda shake with horror. They are very smart; they help me with everything, and they only dream of Leila to get on her feet.
"Do not scare us, please"
Lika (12-year-old): This is my biggest dream! And also, so that nothing hurts her!
- Well, what do you want for yourself?
Lika: Nothing, I only want for Leila to get well. Well, and I also dream about a tablet or a phone, I would study, and Leila could watch cartoons. She is very fond of cartoons.
Samanda (7-year-old): And I want to have dolls with a stroller! One for me and one for Leila! I have one in the kindergarten, I love her very much, but you can't take her home.
- Do you like going to kindergarten, Samanda?
Samanda: Yes, very much! There are many toys and delicious food! And they give me stars, they say that I am a good girl! Because I learn poetry by heart.
- And when Leila gets bad, can you help her?
Samanda: I'm getting very scared... I can only cry. But Lika can.
Lika: We can't cope with my sister alone. What if we will be unable to help? Mom shouldn't go far. When her eyes turn white, I can't even breathe from fear.
- Madonna, we came to help you. What do you need the most?
Madonna: Food, diapers, and medications, especially a shot for Leila. I pray that it will help so that my baby can walk. This is the peak of my dreams!
- We really hope that your dream will come true as soon as possible. How else can we make your life easier?
Madonna: I am very embarrassed to ask, we will be really happy for any help. My husband and I are completely unable to cope, the allowance we get is enough for nothing. The biggest problem we have is the lack of hot water. Bathing children is a real challenge! And washing ... I wash in cold water for seven people. I don't want even to speak about that. Lika actually missed this academic year, there was no way for her to attend online lessons. Our problems are countless. But believe me, any support, even a kind word will give us strength, because it is so important to know that you are not alone!
Five-year-old Leila Lukava urgently needs our support. She suffers from severe epileptic attacks and is unable to walk and talk. It is impossible to describe the baby's suffering. Her poor mother struggles for her health and well-being with all her strength, but the amount of the allowance is so insignificant that it is not even enough for medications and diapers. Leila has two sisters - 12-year-old Lika and 7-year-old Samanda, and 7-month-old brother Gabriel. The children are deprived of absolutely everything: proper nutrition, the opportunity to learn, toys. But, despite this, they only dream of their sister to get on her feet.
Lukava's family will be immensely grateful for any help. There is a medication that can give Leila a chance to start walking, but her parents cannot afford it. They are in great need of food, medications, diapers, and a water heater. And Lika needs a laptop or tablet to study.
You can visit and provide all possible help to the Lukava family. Their address is: Zugdidi, Porcelain district, st. 39 Chikovani Str, Apt 38.
Please repost our publication. Let your friends know about the grief of this family! It’s extremely important!
God gives us chances to care about people who are unable to take care of themselves. Do not pass by someone else's trouble! Those poor people are sent to us by heaven so that we could prove not by words, but in deeds that we trust in God!
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We have already helped many disadvantaged people! Let’s support the Lukava family too, let’s alleviate sufferings of little Leila as no one is immune to bad luck! And who knows, maybe someday we ourselves will need help of strangers!
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