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Kathy Chandler: Yaroslava Antipina has reminded me of the experiences of my son who served in Middle East wars post-9/11.

Ukrainian mother Yaroslava Antipina has been inspiring the world by sharing her daily cup of "war coffee" over Twitter. Twitter users are beaming their own cups of "peace coffee" in a return show of solidarity.

Her ability to captivate our attention over a daily ritual has reminded me of the experiences of my own son, a veteran of the post-9/11 Middle East wars. He taught me the value of embracing "peace coffee" in the midst of trauma.Kathy Chandler

My son was deployed to some real hellscapes. He would dodge artillery, IEDs and small-arms fire on a daily basis. I was terrified that I'd lose my only son. I couldn't sleep or eat; I was expecting a visit from the chaplain at any time. Such fear tears at the heart and gnaws at the soul, extracting and dashing all optimism.

One day I received a snail-mail letter from my son. He told me what he was most excited for, with one month left in his deployment — to sit in a Starbucks, drinking a fine cup of arabica bean coffee, while reading a physical newspaper. Fresh coffee and papers are lacking in most war zones. He didn't want a Caribbean vacation or a new car.

All he wanted was a simple place of refuge, a place where smiles and conversation abound. A daily routine of "peace coffee" restored his soul. It would restore mine as well.

Where are you getting a daily cup of "peace coffee"? The world feels torn asunder: war wages in Ukraine; nearly a million people in the U.S. have died from COVID; and the West is suffering through its worst drought in 1,200 years. We are hurting, and we need to take care of ourselves.

Please, engage the world, donate money; pray or write letters of support. But once these important tasks have been completed, find your own place of refuge, whether that be a coffee shop or hiking trail. Embrace that cup of "peace coffee" and don't give into despair. A rejuvenated heart and soul will thank you.

Kathy Chandler is a Happy Valley resident.


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