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A Posthumous Letter From 25-Year-Old Ukrainian Paramedic Iryna Tsybukh Killed by Russia, Published by Her Brother

A Posthumous Letter From 25-Year-Old Ukrainian Paramedic Iryna Tsybukh Killed by Russia, Published by Her Brother
Photo by Dmytro Larin.

Ukrainian paramedic Iryna Tsybukh, who was with the Hospitallers Medical Battalion, was killed by Russian forces in the Kharkiv region on the 29th of May 2024. Her brother published a posthumous letter written by Iryna today on his Instagram page. She wrote this letter back in 2023. This is a translated version of Iryna’s letter.

“Hello, accept my condolences. I don’t like it when you are sad, but time will pass, and this despair will dissipate. Life must go on. So, don’t waste time on suffering; keep living.

It is now 19:19, Saturday, April 8, 2023. We, the 5th crew, are working on reconnaissance for the 80th Brigade. ‘Dream On’ by Aerosmith is playing in the background. I decided that this year has offered me so many chances to die that I should find at least one opportunity to write a posthumous letter.

It is sad that we live such powerless lives, dependent on societal approval, that only death allows us to experience absolute freedom. However, the trouble is that life ends, and this freedom becomes meaningless. Today and forever, I don’t care what people will say about me, about you, about this text, about everything. Whether these sentences get likes or not. Finally, no one’s opinion matters to me; I am dead.

Freedom is the highest value. Soon, I’ll be 25 years old, often troubled by insecurities and fears. But most often, there was no room for this noise before my freedom. I want to thank myself, my parents, my brother, my family, and my friends for allowing me to be free, to live the life I wanted.

The full-scale war forced me to stop being a slave to fears. Today, unfortunately, I did not manage to completely free myself, but I hope I will succeed. This letter is a step towards that.

To have freedom, you need other values as well. You need to understand yourself, know well who you are to yourself, what personal happiness is, and how to achieve it. Having answers to these questions, the most important thing is to keep moving forward. Today, here in Donetsk region, I am on my way, being myself and doing what I want. In fact, nothing else matters. That is why this letter comes so easily to me—at this moment, as well as when it happens, I will not regret dying, because I am finally living the life I wanted. I won’t lie, to feel this inevitable, true freedom, I will have to go through more sessions of therapy, fears, and tears.

Today, it’s all behind me. My life is over, and it was important to me to live it with dignity: to be honest, kind, and loving. Today we are working for the heroes, and it’s a good opportunity to confirm my values—to truly be that person.

Thank you to everyone who loved and supported me. Don’t be sad for me, life is very short. If it continues after death, then we will meet again.

Brother, don’t be upset. I stopped worrying about you when you were 17. Today you had your first tour of princely Lviv, and I am proud of you. Whoever you decide to be today, trust yourself, listen to yourself, love yourself, and live your happy life. If I have the chance, I will support you from heaven. But it doesn’t matter; while I was alive, we loved each other, were wonderful brother and sister. Those were good times. Let these memories warm you, motivate you, but in no case upset you.

To have the strength to be a free person, you must be brave. Only the brave find happiness, and it is better to die running than to live rotting.

Be worthy of the deeds of our heroes. Don’t be sad; be brave!

Kisses, yours.

08.04.23 Donetsk region”

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