The war in Ukraine has separated countless families — including one from La Mesa.
Mira Marasina grew up in Ukraine but moved to San Diego with her mom when she was 9 years old. Eight years later, Mira was visiting her father at his home in Kiev for a few months when the Russians invaded.
“I was already stressed about the fact that I could hear the bombs every second ... then my mom was worrying and calling every night,” Mira told NBC 7.
Mira's parents wanted her to return to the U.S. for safety, but, she said, the roads and train stations were packed with fleeing people that week.
“Literally it was like millions of people at the train station trying to get out … it was just impossible to fit,” Mira said.
After failing to get on a packed train, Mira said, the station she was at was bombed just hours later. She successfully took a different train out of Kiev about a week later but had to say goodbye to her dad since men Ukrainian men were ordered to remain in the country.
“We were holding hands and we were like … this might be the last time that we speak," Mira said. "I’m not going to believe that. I don’t want to believe that."
Mira recalled the sounds of air raid sirens and making Molotov cocktails with her neighbors in the days leading up to her departure.
“All the people get together from the different apartments and they just sit there … little kids … crush up the cardboard … the adults mix the acetone with the gas,” Mira said.
Mira said she thinks about her dad constantly, but they have a pact to remain positive no matter what they face in life.
“Crying, fearing and stressing isn’t going to do anything except make the last of your days … if it is the last of your days … worse,” Mira said.
Mira has been watching the events overseas, hopeful for continued help from the international community.
“It’s heartbreaking," Mira said. "There’s not much you can do, but if everybody did a little bit, it would be a lot of help. And it’s really needed.”