Faces of The Fellowship: Lyubov

The Fellowship  |  October 23, 2019

Lyubov Alekseeva, an IFCJ recipient smiling at the camera.

When 70-year-old Lyubov gets nervous, her Parkinson’s disease takes full control of her body. She will uncontrollably shake and often just slowly falls to the floor and sits until she can regain control. Every day, she’s used to taking small steps in her St. Petersburg apartment to avoid falling down. “Sometimes I actually have to crawl around my flat,” she admits.

The disease grows worse with time. She has a trembling voice and unsteady body, but the real challenge for Lyubov is trying to keep a positive attitude. The disease feels isolating, and she is embarrassed for her friends to visit and see her in this condition, so she’s stopped calling them.

“Sometimes I don’t want to see anyone, and hate talking, but then I feel so sad and lonely that I desperately need someone to listen to my story, which I cannot keep inside all the time,” she says.

Other recent tragedies have also caused her mental state to worsen. Her son passed away a year and a half ago of cancer. Then her dog passed away. After these two losses, she felt very low, and worried how she would care for herself.

She has a daughter-in-law living in Germany who is the only family member that calls Lyubov regularly. Lyubov marks her calendar with the days she is supposed to call, looking forward to some care and conversation.

Things started feeling better for Lyubov when she discovered Fellowship-supported Hesed, an organization providing food and medicine to the elderly. They provide a homecare worker who does her cooking and cleaning, and also brings her medicines for her Parkinson’s and diabetes, and makes sure to take her to doctor appointments. Slowly, Lyubov grew very close to her homecare worker and now they are good friends.

Today, Lyubov is more at peace with her life. “I force myself to get up at 6am, and the first thing I do is walk to the balcony and greet my dear plants,” she says. She talks to the flowers and tomatoes, and takes care of them as much as she can. Having a routine keeps Lyubov on track. Life isn’t perfect, but it is much more manageable now that she can rely on The Fellowship. She is so grateful to all Fellowship friends around the world who make this care possible. “You are doing so much for me!” she says with a smile.

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