I have a vivid recollection of my Baba, which is what I called my Great grandmother. She was a Ukrainian immigrant that, based on popular family lore, escaped post-WWI USSR with her Russian love and future husband by hiding under an oxcart. They embarked Spain for Canada and never looked back.
My recollection comes from her 86th year. How do i know that? I distinctly remember asking her, as a naive kid, "How old are you Baba?" She picked up the can of Pacific milk that was on the kitchen table and pointed at the price tag. It was .86 cents. That's when my Grandma taught me that it was rude to ever ask a woman her age. I was a bit confused at the time, because after all, it was my Baba, not a woman...but I would understand over time.
I was visiting my Grandparents farm, and my Baba had recently given up her independent living a few towns away to come and live with my Grandparents. It was a modest shiplap farm house and my Grandpa enclosed the rear veranda as a little bedroom/sitting area for her. She was happy as long as she got to watch the noon News and weekly Stampede Wrestling.
One day, my Baba came in from out working in the garden. My Grandparents had a large vegetable garden that Baba spent much of the nice weather days in, pulling weeds and sprinkling various Larters chemical concoctions (this was before organic growing ideas were mainstream). She sat down at the kitchen table, and you could tell she was uncomfortable.
"Lydia, get me some hand-cream" she pointed to the bathroom off the kitchen.
Her hands were swollen and very red.
"What were you doing, mom?" my Grandma inquired.
"Just out weeding the garden" She said nonchalantly.
Grandma thought she might have had an allergic reaction to a plant or one of the garden chemicals. What we didn't realize at the time is that she spent the morning pulling up a huge patch of stinging nettle that was adjacent to the garden...with her bare hands.
When my Grandma pressed her about it, whether it hurt at the time and why she would do such a thing, she replied, " Well, it just had to get done so i did it."
Whenever I need a dose of stoicism in my life, I think back to my Baba and use my recollection of her as an allegory when I have to 'just get this shit done'.
I think and hope that the Russian invaders are running into many Ukrainians like my Baba.