Maria Krichker – My Grandmother, My Hero

By Julia Feldman

My grandmother, Maria, is 86 year’s young. She has the energy level of someone in her 30s. She has always led an amazing life and I’d like to share one of her life stories.

Maria was born and lived in the Soviet Union–though the Soviet Union had its myriad of problems, the one thing they were pretty good at, was offering equal opportunities to men and women to work their butts off! My grandmother took that opportunity to the extreme–she became a cardiologist and spent a long career working 12-14 hour days and helping as many people as she could.

Because my family is Jewish, although she excelled in school and her practice, she could not get a job within the center of the city where she lived-Kiev. Many would have given up their dreams because of this, but my grandmother pleaded for a job and she was given one–one that was about 2 hours from her home! She accepted, and she spent about the next [8] years making the long trek too and from work, until she was finally permitted to switch to a clinic that was closer to her home. And unlike these days, she couldn’t get in a car and drive the two hours-she had to take 3 modes of transport each way–first a tram, then a bus, then she would walk/hitchhike the rest of the way! It was grueling, but she did it without many complaints-because she loved to help people and she had a tremendous work ethic and sense of pride in her work.

On top of her job, she also had a husband and two little girls to raise, which she also did beautifully.

Today, she continues to apply that work ethic to everything she does-whether it is cleaning her home or helping to give preliminary diagnoses of ailments to her friends that seek out her opinion. She is a real hero to me and our entire family.

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