"She thinks she's coming to Ireland for a few weeks, but we know she'll only be going back home in spirit," said a businesswoman about her 98-year-old nan before leaving Meath this morning (Sat) to rescue her and her mother from Ukraine.
Luba Healy, her husband Eurgene and her 13-year-old son Francis are en route from Trim to "swap 40 boxes of food for her family" and finally bring home her nan Galina and mother Nina (70).
The Healy family has to make the dangerous trek across the Polish border and into Ukraine to meet the convoy because the Ukrainian driver is not allowed to leave the country as he is of an age eligible to fight in the war
The family set off in a jeep and camper van on a journey blessed by a local priest. They hope to be home early next week.
Luba finally persuaded her nan and gran to leave their hometown in Haivoron on the promise that she would drive them back once the war is over.
In the last few months, Nina was pushing Galina in a wheelbarrow to air raid shelters and carrying her on her back down to basements to safety.
"Mam got really scared when the local mayor closed all the graveyards after the Russians had threatened to bomb them," said Luba.
"So she finally cracked and said she would come to Ireland. My nan only agreed once I promised to bring them back as soon as the war is over
"My nan thinks she is coming here for a few weeks, but she is 98, so I think we all know she won't be back again. She'll only be going home in spirit to be buried with my grandfather.
"I have arranged a minibus for them and a driver to bring them from Haivoron to the border, but the driver is over 18 and under 65 so is not allowed to leave the country because he is of fighting age.
"So we will have to drive into Ukraine to get them and seven others. I will swap almost 40 boxes of provisions which the driver will bring back to Haivoron for the remaining residents.
"We got the local priest to bless our journey and I will drive the jeep alongside my 13-year-old son Francis who has ACDC and Guns n Roses music all lined up - so that will be fun," she laughed
"The journey home will be slower. I had some training as a nurse in Ukraine so will be on hand to administer any medication my mam or nan needs.
"I am very fearful for the journey to get them out of Ukraine safely, but I am so excited to finally see my mam and nan and please God, get them home to Meath.
"I'm looking forward to introducing them to the beautiful people of Trim who have shown me this is my home and have helped and supported me in everything since I came here 22 years ago - before any talk of this horrible time."