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My mother's grandfather was a tank commander for the Soviets, got his leg blown off too[!]. He died shortly after. It was a time when my mom lived with 9 people (three families, no fathers) in a one-bedroom apartment, on the 10th floor of a building that got electricity for 90 minutes a day. She was studying at uni meanwhile, and she would come home and pick up buckets of water on her way up for cleaning, cooking, and bathing everyone. She graduated at the top of her class-- of like a dozen people, but still. I don't understand or comprehend any fraction of the strength it took to do that, so thank you for reminding me because it's pretty humbling to look at how far she brought herself (and me!) compared to where she started.

I guess I'd like to go takesies-backsies on my pretentious and sorta snotty question from before, and ask instead:

"How do the experiences from those difficult times carry you forward through present-day struggles? Do you feel that it was an invaluable set of lessons learned and strength built, or just a dark time you'd rather forget? Do you think I could benefit from learning what it means to live like that compared to my current lifestyle (which has running water, for example)?"