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"He came into the office and dropped dead." Svitlana Bilonozhko on the insidiousness of the disease that overcame her husband and the last conversation she had with him

Svitlana and Vitalii Bilonozhko

The wife of the People's Artist of Ukraine Vitalii Bilonozhko, who passed away in early January, spoke about her husband's treacherous illness and admitted that Bilonozhko's only grandson, Vitalii, now regrets it.

In an interview with OBOZ.UA, People's Artist of Ukraine Svitlana Bilonozhko shared the innermost things she did not have time to tell Vitalii. She also explained why she did not discuss her inheritance with her husband.

– Svetlana, please accept our sincere condolences. Please tell us, did the tragedy that happened happen all of a sudden for you? Or was Vitalii sick and you didn't know about it?

– When an artist is a little sick, they don't talk about it publicly. People always want to see us beautiful and strong. Who would talk about illness? Vitalik had diabetes. He was treated for a long time, taking medications and undergoing examinations. But this is a very insidious disease that eats away at everything inside. We have many friends with this diagnosis. One of our friends came to work in the morning, went into his office, and dropped dead, can you imagine? But we never thought that this could happen to us. We had so many plans...

Someone asked me recently: "Did you have any premonitions? Did you talk about your inheritance?" What inheritance? We talked about plans all the time! We thought: here is the Victory, we will revive our festival "Melody of Two Hearts", we came up with an interesting concept. That was all we talked about.

''He came into the office and dropped dead.'' Svitlana Bilonozhko on the insidiousness of the disease that overcame her husband and the last conversation she had with him

What happened still doesn't fit in my head... After the New Year, Vitalik felt unwell, so I called an ambulance. They took him to the hospital. And everything seemed to be going well, he was being treated. And suddenly my younger son called me in the morning: "Mom, they said that dad died. What is it?" I stopped hearing and seeing for a second. Vitalii's heart gave out... They started him up and down, but they couldn't do anything.

It's so strange, because just recently we had a cardiologist's checkup, and she said: a weak heart, but many people live with it. Take your medication. You know, he had a very good heart, he was rooting for everyone. It must have been so hard, he took on so much. Our mornings began with him asking himself aloud: how is it that the best young people are dying at the front? And so on every day... He was constantly invited to perform, and he said: I'll get better, the war will end, and then I'll sing. Now I often recall that when I went on stage for the last time, I sang so strongly, as if I had a feeling that it would not happen again. I even said: "Vitalii, calm down, why do you want to break up?"

''He came into the office and dropped dead.'' Svitlana Bilonozhko on the insidiousness of the disease that overcame her husband and the last conversation she had with him

– Did he want to return to the stage?

– Of course he did! But there was a war, and before that, a pandemic. I had the coronavirus, and doctors didn't diagnose it in him. But for some time I had serious lung problems, I couldn't catch my breath. I got myself back on my feet by walking for many hours on the street, doing Strelnikova breathing exercises. We went to the doctor, he said everything was fine. He was so happy because the lungs are the voice.

It was so unusual: his voice remained strong all his life, even though he had been smoking since he was 17. Every artist has their own methods of calming down before going on stage: Vitalii's has a cigarette. Everyone around him said he should quit, but he didn't listen. And surprisingly, the addiction did not affect his voice. On the contrary, the older he got, the more velvety it became. This timbre is delicious, rich. I told him: we need to make a few more songs. "We will," he replied.

– How do you remember the last conversation with him?

– Did I realize that night that we would never see each other again(crying)? I came to his hospital, and we talked about everyday things. "How is it at home?" - "Everything is fine." - "You feed my peacocks." - "Don't worry - you taught me everything, I know what to do." Our sons were with us. I remember laughing, remembering something. The atmosphere was very warm.

– In the conversation, you still speak of your husband in the present tense: you say "he answers." Apparently, you have not yet accepted the loss.

– I have the impression that he is with me all the time. I wake up in the morning and light a candle and pray. And when I fall asleep, it seems to me that someone is stroking my head. And I keep wanting to catch that hand – I touch my hair, but there is nothing... In my dreams, he does not come to me. Older people tell me that this is not a bad thing, because, according to them, the deceased dreams these days when something goes wrong. And he wants to tell me what to do.

''He came into the office and dropped dead.'' Svitlana Bilonozhko on the insidiousness of the disease that overcame her husband and the last conversation she had with him

– You know, it's hard to imagine you without each other...

– I don't understand people who say: "Well, how are they still together? Aren't they bored with each other?" No way! I would have lived with him for the same number of years. When the war started, we left, like many other women with children. Vitalik stayed here. A few weeks passed, and he called me: "Sveta, maybe you'll come back?". And we had such a hard time getting to Zakarpattia, three days on the road - I will never forget it. We stayed for the night in village huts, and we were so warmly received and warmed. The people here are golden, what can I say? I asked Vitalik to wait a little while to come to my senses. I returned home a month and a half later. My younger son came to pick me up: "Daddy can't live without you at all... In all our life together, we went on vacation without him only a few times because he couldn't leave his birds behind.

– As you know, Vitalii Bilonozhko was an extraordinary lover of all kinds of animals. How do his animals feel about the loss of their owner?

– "At first, they didn't eat or drink, they were waiting all the time. I put food for the birds - grain, water - and they turn away. Some people say they have brains like birds... I wish some people had them! The dogs didn't eat anything, and neither did the fish. Everyone is in some kind of reverie. They were quiet, looking with a big question. It was very hard to watch. If I were alone, I would probably go crazy. But, thank God, I have help. My sons, grandchildren, friends, and neighbors come to me. I have always told my husband that we are very lucky to have good people. I hear so many words of support these days, and I feel so much kindness from people.

''He came into the office and dropped dead.'' Svitlana Bilonozhko on the insidiousness of the disease that overcame her husband and the last conversation she had with him

– How did your husband develop such a love for his little brothers?

– The most interesting thing is that he grew up in a village where there were no peacocks and pheasants, like we have now. There were no aquariums with fish. And dogs were tethered, not running around in the yard like friends. None of his siblings had the same love for animals as he did. His parents told him that when he was little, if he saw a cat with an injured leg, he would take it home. If he saw a pigeon stretching its wing somewhere, he would bring it home. My mother recalled that the yard was like a medical unit, treating and warming everyone.

When we got married, the Ministry of Culture gave us a small room. And when she got pregnant with her eldest son, they gave us an apartment, also very small. Everything is tiny, you can barely turn around. And he bred fish in an aquarium and hung bird cages from the ceiling. Я: "Vitalik, feathers are going to go into the borscht!" And he: "It's not scary. Look at this beautiful bird!" From apartment to apartment, and then house to house, birds, fish, and dogs followed us. And I didn't argue. I often said: if you weren't a singer, you would have been a great ornithologist.

''He came into the office and dropped dead.'' Svitlana Bilonozhko on the insidiousness of the disease that overcame her husband and the last conversation she had with him

– You have a big family. How often do you get together?

– We don't even need to invite them for holidays – they know we meet at our place. Birthdays – everyone is there. We always tried to come up with something interesting. I usually do the cooking. Vitalii jokes: "I can make a broth and eggs." For a while, he was responsible for making kebabs, and then the eldest son took over.

– When you found out that your son and daughter-in-law wanted to name their grandchildren in your honor, what was your reaction?

– The most interesting thing is that we never talked about this topic. When Heorhii and Maryna's son was born, we came to visit and asked: "What are you going to name him?" And they: "We have already named him!" - "How?" - "Vitalii." The man was touched: "Thank you very much." When Maryna gave birth for the second time, they called: it was a girl, Svitlana. "The grandchildren took the best from all of us, and little Vitalii especially from his grandfather. When I need advice, I call him, and he calls me: "Sveta, it's easy."

– Does he call you by your first name?

– Both me and my grandfather. We've never asked for it, but it's nice. It seems to me that we have never raised any children or grandchildren, and they all grew up very well. You know what they say: you don't have to raise children, you have to raise yourself.

My grandson always came into the house saying: "Vitalii, hello!" It also happened that my husband, knowing that Vitalik was coming, would go to the gazebo, smoke a cigarette and wait for him. Later they would sit down and talk. And then they would start fixing something in the yard together. My grandson tells me now: "I didn't have time to tell Vitalik how much I love him." We all missed a lot of things, and I thought: what is there to talk about love? It seems to be self-evident. But it was necessary. Now my son, both of them, is driving me somewhere in the car, and I see tears rolling down their eyes. They are yearning, remembering their father. On February 17, it will be 40 days since Vitalii passed away, and he will fly away from us.

''He came into the office and dropped dead.'' Svitlana Bilonozhko on the insidiousness of the disease that overcame her husband and the last conversation she had with him

– I know that Vitaliy had a lot of friends. Did you often visit them?

– And Allochka Kudlay, with whom we worked together a lot in our youth. And the football player Oleksii Mykhailychenko - he is our granddaughter's godfather. And Pasha Zibrov. On June 11, Vitalik's birthday, it's just morning, and the cars are already honking at the gate. We set up tables in the yard. And on September 1, I also have a yard full of guests. We make a lot of noise, rejoice, listen to songs, sing ourselves - everyone always has a good time. Last June, Vitalik turned 70 years old. In peacetime, I always tried to come up with something original for his anniversary - I remember renting a boat and sailing, or something else interesting. And this birthday we decided to celebrate in a family way, at home. But we came to congratulate fifty guests, no less.

– Wow, what a wedding!

- Well, Vitalik organized a wedding for his son Georgy for 300 people. On his order, they brought fish and meat to the restaurant by truck - go ahead and cook. He's a man of great heart. I think everyone was full, both the guests and those who cooked. And I said: "You're welcome." Yevhen's younger son is not yet married. There was love, and a lot of it, but somehow it didn't work out. He is also a very kind soul, literate, and knows languages very well.

– Is it true that for some time you were friends with the Likhuta and Povalii families?

– No, we were not close friends, but we worked together. We don't communicate now. You know, many people used to go to Moscow to work, as my grandmother used to say: for the long ruble. There were such times. But not now, when a terrible disaster has happened. And if you don't want to go back, then at least shut your mouth! Isn't that right? Don't make such nonsense. How can you?

I am very sorry to read all this - we have performed together more than once. She's a little younger - we always defended her with Vitalik, because until her current husband came along, she was having a hard time. Does Taisiia believe in what she is saying now? I think she does. I assume that she has been heavily brainwashed by propaganda. And fear, of course. Look what they do to anyone who disagrees with Kremlin policy. Or perhaps they are paid extra for saying such things - I do not rule out this option either.

And money, as we can see, turned out to be the most important factor for some people. They are ready to sell their own mother for a fortune. But, in my opinion, Povalii's fate will be affected by everything she is doing now, glorifying the country that is tearing us apart. He says that what Russia is doing today is a salvation for Ukraine. He says the country is in a zombified state, and Putin will "bring it back to normal." What nonsense! Well, nothing, I'm sure that in a little more time everything will fall into place. The light will conquer the darkness.

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