Anna Danilova: it’s Hard to talk about happiness

A month ago the editor in chief of the magazine “Domashniy Ochag” asked me to give an interview and talk about my life, children and family. I have long wanted to write such a text for Provera and I have long worked – it turned out that a very difficult and scary to talk about your life, what is happening now. Is it necessary? Useful? Is it right? These questions stopped me every time I begin to write. In the format of an interview to speak was easier and the text I’ve written specifically for Pravmir. And to start I would like with a low bow to our readers for how you were always next to us – in the darkest and lightest moments of life. It is difficult to talk about my life, so I beg you for prayer and support.

Photo: Maria Strutynska

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The ” C ” in algebra and Christ wearing the crown of thorns

My father is a microbiologist and oncologist, and my mother – philologist, teacher of French, both doctors of Sciences. My parents divorced when I was seven years old, his father emigrated to the US in 90-e years, and my mother just made a firm decision not to go to teach in France, although it is very hard name. Like many then, all 90-e years we lived very hard, my mother and grandmother the most severe saved at all. And because men in the family were not, most of the men work on the house had to learn how to do – I remember from childhood that feeling that if I can’t do it, then nobody will be able to do (welding and drilling, however, still do not know).

I went through the history of the “early development”: the French language was taught from infancy, and I desperately hated him, delaying classes, sobbing and arranging these storms before each lesson. I loved the language in only 11 years old when I first visited France (mom was invited to work, and she was able to get me to summer school), eventually learned it well, but never in French I never have to use. Of, I now take very carefully. But English at school immediately became a favorite, it was such a salvation: the language of the house do not understand, and where I am sama-sama.

All my childhood I dreamed to have invented a cure for cancer, and my father also took part in it. Since the age of six I began to think a lot about the meaning of life. What is the meaning of human life, if he’s going to die anyway – I for many years thought of where to find the answer to this question. In high school I was kind of hoping to enroll in the faculty of philosophy to study philosophy and religion and find that the only correct answer. At home in God is not believed, but in the living room hung a lithograph – Christ wearing the crown of thorns, and it was one of my most intense experiences in life. I was baptized only at the age of 15 (and thought that the temple is a place where bad people go to atone for their terrible sins), but to talk of Christ with this picture I really wanted…

I have one story that I, I think, really shaped. It was like this. In seventh grade I got a three quarter algebra. The lessons I did with my grandmother. As soon as something was hard, I called my grandmother and she decided everything for me, so three was a logical result of such activities. Home-it helped me to solve examples with negative numbers, but on a test I failed.

Three in quarters… It was a real thunder. I’ve always considered myself an overachiever, or at least horoshisty, and it turned out that I’m not horoshisty, and the usual ” C ” student. It absolutely amazed me and then I decided that it wasn’t about me, this can not be. I didn’t say anything at home, but I realized – I have a textbook, there is the theory, examples and answers – all you, Anya, has to sort. I sat at the table on the first day of vacation and did not get up until the last day – proreal algebra at the quarter ahead, and I understood her! Somewhere here it dawned on me all this complicated and confusing. Fixed a three, then finished school with a gold medal – and then I just realized that any brick wall of algebra breaks the head, if you really try. It seems to me that this story has taught me so much and I am so grateful to our Antonina Ivanovna Gracheva that did not spare me and then pulled my mark.

Serbia earthly and the heavenly

In 1999 in my life happened in Serbia. The bombing on Easter. I don’t understand how can the world exist after such a nightmare and injustice. Then I came to the temple. The temple was built on my way from home to the subway, and I began to come – first to buy a gift icon for his Serbian friend, then because I was just there happy. And then I realized that I want nothing more to seek. I’m home, and Christ is the way, the truth and the life.

The first confession I prepared for the book father John krestiankin, long delayed, then read a few pages of A4. And then something happened that I just couldn’t get enough of the life of the parish, dealing with very bright people, these new books, often the reprint is printed, is not very clear: the ladder, Theophan the recluse, and others…

The temple was not just a part of life and its meaning. The house was very difficult, my mom did not like that I go to Church and spend the time, and she was terrified of what I will go to the monastery and that will be the end of the world. I passed the session prematurely and triumphantly said that now – from 1 to 25 Jan – I have officially time of the session, I sent it before, so I’ll do what I want. And went to the temple for the whole day.

In 1999 a friend brought me to the arrival of father Alexander Ilyashenko. Struck me then, as long as thoughtfully and with love spoke to me the father of Alexander. And my mom is very happy that he has 12 children, so it’s not so obvious perspective of the monastery. Father Alexander was then given a small room in the parish house of the temple of all-merciful Saviour sorrow former monastery. There on Friday was held the prayers because the temple was not handed over to the Church. I know this is a huge red brick building on the street Novoslobodskaya? There are office buildings, lawyers and cosmetics, and our parish continues to live in the small parish house. Over time, there began to serve the Liturgy, we call this building a House, and I hope that one day all will see how great temple of the early 20th century is service…

Archpriest Alexander and Matushka Maria Ilyashenko. Photo By Anatoly Danilov

Of course, I dream about big and happy family with many children, but desperately afraid to make a mistake and make the wrong choice. Therefore, to meet me it was very scary, and all attempts of young people to get to know me, I’ve interrupted very politely, but very quickly. Anatoly Danilov we met by chance – in the Orthodox forum discussing using one monastery. Rather, I thought randomly, and he told me that he saw my avatar, he heard a voice: “This is your wife”… We got to talking, and he asked me out, I said, that is possible, but generally with me you can only meet in the temple (Oh, these novomacedonia Orthodox). Shreds in the temple did not go at all, but what can we do in the temple, then the temple.

At the first meeting he did not like me, and maybe I just internally freaked. I really was always afraid to give someone false hope, afraid of stories with broken hearts and all attempts to get to know me nipped in the Bud. So here: the chat, I tried to negate, not to assure and not to hurt. And a year after that our neomenia shreds suddenly proposed to me. The offer was made through me to our father Alexander, I was convinced that it is necessary to refuse and not to torment the man any unnecessary hopes.

“Are you sure 100%?” asked father Alexander on the all-night vigil on the eve of the Exaltation. “Well, I’m 99% sure one percent – suddenly it is the will of God?” I said. “That’s when you’re 100% sure, I will decide then, but for now take a look to each other, trips to the theatre, for example, at least a year may think there’s no rush”. I thought over the answer for two years, has exhausted himself, his spiritual father, parents, could not understand how to act properly.

Anatoly Danilov

Then came “Pravmir” portal “Orthodoxy and the world”, which was then the site made literally on the knee, at night, without resources, but with great hope. Today’s the big media with an audience of 4 million people a month. “Pravmir” was invented by Anatoly together with our father Alexander – they wanted to make a website, which is about faith, the meaning of life was said to be understandable and human terms without complex terms. So that people could come with pain, and went with light and hope.

To me, this idea seemed impossible, I didn’t know where we will take the texts as generally we will all be able to move this kind of media, and Singh wrote me that she sees how we edit the website that comes to a thousand people a day – a figure that seemed impossible a huge. But “Pravmir” has never been about the numbers and attendance. We always said: “Even if one person helps, then all is not in vain.” And right here was pressed to the heart of the printed letter and the responses in which people said that on our pages and answers to questions that have long tormented. About life, death and love…

For two years I thought, all this time we worked on the “Provera”. And something together that Anatoly became my very close friend, a very important person and a reliable friend. I had to give some answer, and I decided that since mommy and Confessor are so sure that we should do this. It was a very rational decision in the sense that I was dizzy and there was a mad love, but I realized that it is very reliable and very native to me people. And then a miracle happened. Because after I agreed, I loved the Shred. Married quite happy, and then very sorry it took so long thought over the offer. Sorry I thought over these six years of our marriage.

Anatoly Danilov

Adrian and Natalia

And then almost all of our family life was education, “Pravmir” we lived journalism, we lived on what we should write about the truth, to tell the truth, answer questions, and it was contents only. Day job – I’m at MSU, shreds of your company “100MB”, all the evening and night – “Pravmir”.

Of course, we wanted to have children, and I was sure that I would have a big large family. But Natasha we waited five years. I was mentally prepared to adopt a child. To beg hard to be treated I didn’t thought, and suddenly motherhood is not mine, suddenly I now begged of the baby, and become a bad mom, maybe it would not be useful…

Very important to me was meeting a nun Adriana malyshevoy – she went through the war scout headquarters Rokossovsky, then worked as a designer Sergei Pavlovich Korolev and retired for she came to faith and became a nun. We met when she was 89 years old. I came to her for an interview and stayed for many months to write her book “a Nun of intelligence.”

In childhood mother Adrian didn’t love mother, constantly reproaching her that she wasn’t a boy. This cold and lonely without a mother’s love was a great experience for her life. Listening to the stories of mother Adriana, I thought that since it was such a wonderful Natasha (the name of the mother before taking his vows), which did not like the mother would give birth to such a Natasha that everyone will love. Then I asked mother to Adrian, is it possible if when I have to be a daughter, to name her in honor of mother Natasha. Mother adriana was very happy. Natasha was born exactly 13 months after the death of mother Adriana. And this name was very rare, you know?

Nun Adriana (Malysheva)

Singh was always very kind, caring and considerate, he loved to do all around good, warm and light. “Never sign letters against anyone and never participate in the persecution,” was his principle of life. Of course, we had a difficult settling-in period – I is a categorical decision and he. And here we both decided something – period! And then somehow learned to talk, to speak and to hear, that’s when it became very light and happy.

When Natasha was born, I discovered not only what space is a newborn baby. I first saw what real fatherhood. I didn’t know that a man can SO love your child. To sit for hours, watching the already sleeping, to stroke on the cheek, saying: “Malyshovogo, good, good, good-good”, to escape from work and all day to bask in the idea that here, we have a baby now. I didn’t know that it happens, and endlessly they admired.

Fraction did not suddenly Natasha had just turned six months, we woke up this morning and found him unconscious. 42. Acute lung failure. You know, this is the time when you durasteel child under six months, a few gasped, and are planning a first trip to sea, and then hope that there will be more children, more happiness, and the joint age on the bench. And it turns out that your whole life is completely stopped… I don’t remember the first six months, remember that they were black and white, that life I wanted, and I cried just round the clock. Then I completely lost the meaning of life.

Deaf brick wall

Around me there were many people who came when I was asked not to come, called, listened, listened, listened… From all over the world you, dear readers, wrote us that pray for Anatoly. And these words help me amazing support.

The first three months we lived with my mom, she helped me with Natasha, I had a lot of free time, and I cried. And then I decided that I need to start living for myself. Mom came home and I joined in the regime of the child up at 8am and away – diapers, walking – feeding – lay – Wake feverishly to work while the baby sleeps. That’s when the tears of time has become much smaller and I felt a little easier. I’m very worried about how Natasha will now be without a great full family. And then on one American forum widows I read the story of a man, had lost his father. He wrote there: “When my mother was OK, I was fine. When my mom was not OK, and I was not OK.” It was very difficult to look for joy, optimism, and try to give the child a sense of joy when you own this world do not trust…

I will never forget how hard it was for me to explain to Natasha why her daddy, who loved her so much and it just breathed – not with us. She is a two-year – looking at the sky with his blue eyes, asking: “daddy in the sky? And you can God the daddy hat, warm jacket, boots, he’ll go down the ladder to us?”. As she met the plumbers and couriers question: “But that’s not my dad?” (You should have seen the faces of the couriers, Yes). We watched a lot of albums, videos, and now continue to look, speak and remember…

I have not had such an explicit crisis of faith, I never stopped going to Church. But there was a feeling of great bewilderment, as if you have all the time we asked for bread and were given a stone, you asked only that all were healthy, and that’s what happened. And it was very, very difficult to understand what the person next to you there. So I went to the temple ten years, I knew all about “I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age”. But I was there with you man, you his hand just kept. An hour ago there was life. You looked away for a moment – and life is gone.

And no man, and no any connection with him, there is a blank brick wall. The clang of closing doors and a blank wall of brick. Nothing. There is also a prayer, very much that was faith, but all the covers this terrible void… You always believed in life after death, and here time – and a blank wall, and no knowledge that there is life on… Only by contradiction. Only the certainty that if it ends here, mindless was the death of all the martyrs, all the saints, all those who are so dear to us… I wrote about this in the article “No guarantees”.

I sometimes write women who lost her husband suddenly at a young age, often I am invited to discussions in forums and communities when there is a post from the widow. And there is nothing to say and nothing to comfort. You can just come and say I’ve been there, I am here to listen and to talk, and I’m ready to tell my story. Sometimes people ask me how to comfort him, but the thing is that the woman who lost her beloved husband, wants to it was easier, she doesn’t need to be comforted and told that her life goes on. She wants everything returned as before to my beloved man was next. And does not want anything more.

We “Premire” made a book “From death to life”, which gathered testimonies and the stories of those who have passed through a serious illness or loss. And I give this book to everyone who goes through this pain. There is also no ready answers and prescriptions, there are just the stories of those who were already there. Who looked death in the eye, and for someone just to hold out, knowing that you’re not alone.

What to advise a woman in such a situation? It is not necessary to advise to “stick” to stay in this situation practically nothing. Even for the faith difficult. You can write all the words, home expressions, all that preserves the memory. The memory will be erased and forget the most expensive, so it is necessary to collect all the photos, all the correspondence, everything that I remember and record.

To speak. Be sure to talk with others, not afraid to cry. I was talking a lot on Facebook and very grateful to everyone who was near me the whole time. Don’t be afraid to speak with God. Directly, openly, about all the pain that is in my heart – to tell Him. An honest conversation is never left unanswered. If you have children, spend time with them as much as possible, do not be afraid to cry with them, do not be afraid to talk to them, more to keep to themselves and if such an abyss happened to your acquaintances or friends – then all the time to be with them, not listening to this: “Thanks, we’re fine, don’t come to us, all is well.”


Three years have passed. I raised Natasha worked on “Premire” and was preparing to return to MSU after maternity leave, when I discovered photography. I have often removed together with Tolik, he was a fine photographer, able to capture amazing person with the best hand. After his death on Facebook someone wrote: “Natasha Danilova was supposed to be the most beautiful pictures”. And then I decided that no, no, Natasha will be the best photos, no wonder I had a box of beautiful art, inherited from the Fraction, and a wonderful child. I started off, went to study – he studied all his spare time. He studied nights. Photography became for me a real breath of air, meaning, beauty.

Most favorite family photography, kids and portraits. I always really want people to see how beautiful they are. To see not an artificial – rented dress, a glamorous Studio and three tons of photoshop, and myself. See how they care about each other. After all, the photos – these are captured moments of our happiness. Time goes on, children grow up, and the albums remain, and my children watch them for hours, and see in them what you do not remember yourself. Love, warmth, portraits – this is the most expensive, it is a living memory about us at their fingertips.

Natasha Danilova photos of Maria Strutynska

But with this attitude I come to the shoot always helps to establish contact with the person. Of course, almost all say: “We are not able to be photographed because you don’t know how to pose”. But it is absolutely not necessary – a quiet conversation, a walk with loved ones – more for a nice picture, nothing should be able to, the rest is the task of the photographer. And pose should be able only a professional model. Photography has given me a new breath, a new meaning and a new happiness. I made my website on photography and instagram, I have the creativity and recreation. Now on the “Premire” also appeared a lot of my pictures, each new shooting is a great happiness. For 2016 I have a lot of fotoda and courses. But life decided differently.

Open door

Andrew introduced us to Nut Federmesser, head of the hospice charity Fund Vera. Rather, I was familiar with the wife of Andrew catey Remizova, we corresponded was with Natasha she was in the hospice, talked a lot about life, I knew that she has a five year old son Zachary. Kate died from colon cancer she was only 29. Remizova after her departure, especially with anyone from our parish spoke and a little disappeared from our horizon. I then tried to do a meeting for children who lost someone from parents. I thought this is very important for a child to create a circle of friends with children in the same situation. All divorces have a lot, but to someone of the parents died – it is much less common, and the child it is very difficult…

So I decided to create a circle of friends Natasha and friends children. Nut very definitely asked me to call back Andrew and Zachary. Several times we walked together, drove the children to the zoo, trampolines, and we were very calm because we both were sure that no more marriages, loves and things in our lives we knew that this matter is permanently closed.

And then, when Natasha was on the sea, and Andrey in Moscow, we somehow got to talking in the conversation, and suddenly it became clear that we did not decide to continue, but something been decided for us. If we took hands and said here, then so be it. You gain love, and take life in. This understanding was very scary and weird. We’ve already decided not to create new families, we are all thought out and planned… And one day, the male at Breakfast said to dad, “Dad, you know, Natasha is the only girl who understands me. Her dad is in heaven, and my mother. Can you with Natalino mom getting married?”. And then about the same he told me. And all the priests were very supportive and our father Alexander smiled and said I knew that would happen.

Photo: Maria Strutynska

This time, I thought for a long time – we were married within a month. Around that time I was a photographer at the birth. Remember, I wrote about the brick wall and doors, which closed with the death of the Shred? I saw that door again. We sat in radbroke, my mother was in labour, and here was born a beautiful girl. It was quiet and dark and I saw that door. Only now it was open and it was the universe and was preparing to come here to us new life…

At the wedding we both had this weird feeling – we’re both very expensive would have given for that in our lives had on 12 September 2013 and August 1, 2015, would dearly gave to live joyfully and happily in their families, never to be acquaintances, well, except that at the finish, on arrival. And how happy we were that it so happened that in this terrible world the Lord put the unity of love. Like a puzzle coming together….

Of course, when you’ve been through a loss, when you have seen, the relationship is the other, although, of course, different household disagreements we have and I’m glad. Kids started calling us mom and dad – and they chose not to. And generally became good friends. We were afraid that it will be difficult to each other, and, apparently, they had such a strong sense of incompleteness and loneliness, now that Natasha and Zach are best friends. Exactly nine months later Andrew was born. It’s hard to describe the feeling when you have a few years to get used to the idea that children, you will never happen again, and then suddenly there is a new baby.

Photo: Maria Strutynska

It’s hard to talk about happiness. We still wonder how strange and providential at all. And here again I really want to ask for prayers for us, for our children and our departed.

I don’t really like to talk about the different “secrets of parenting” – because you can tell a lot, and then the children will grow up and tell Mama all in all was wrong. Of course, we build and nurture, and criticize. But for me it is important that your child always could hug and sit together – at least fifteen minutes. I don’t really know how and do not like children to play, fortunately, and they do play beautifully with each other, but I love to read to them. So every day at least twenty minutes before going to sleep I read them a good book. And these moments are waiting…


When we were waiting for the appearance of Andrew, of course, I was afraid that the kids will be jealous. Often parents try to “advertise” a new brother or sister, say that you will play, you new friend will be fun. And then comes the disappointment – a newborn brother or play or can’t run, but still my mother’s all-consuming.

So on the contrary I was told that the baby will be difficult, it will be red, will be to cry a lot, sleep a lot and generally play with it will not work at all. And it worked – the kids really loved it, and my daughter I somehow offended said, “Mom, you said that it would be like a stupid pink hedgehog, and he looks like a fluffy white kitten or bear cub”. And of course the sling to help us all – I duct-taped the baby or gave it to dad and tried it after giving birth especially a lot of time to spend with children. A month and a half everyone is used to Record and now we always ask to have another and Vera.

I worked all the time, not leave in the decree. And very glad of it, I think that not working is much harder. To Natashkin three years I was without a nanny – I worked in her sleep, at night and on walks answered calls and letters. It was very hard, because to live in the rhythm – work 5 in the morning, and at eight tomorrow – walk – play – very hard. And then I changed my regime: went at ten in the evening, along with Natasha (and I didn’t have to put her down for an hour, she fell asleep next to quickly), get up at three in the morning and eight managed to move mountains – to answer all mail, to add all the texts to make Breakfast. And the sleep before midnight is much more thorough morning – at least I think so.

Of course, with the baby schedule has changed in the opposite direction: if up to six months Andrew was with me at all meetings and interviews, now when he runs around and climbs everything became more complicated. We have a babysitter, but still it mostly with one child manages to do something. We have AU pairs, home to all automated – they are already old tumble dryer to a minimum to iron, steam MOP and wash floors – three minutes slow cooker – abandoned lunch and ran errands. With the baby we have a shift method – the planned working week so that you have each other to go to the meetings, the main work – still nights. At home we have all things distributed – there is no male and female responsibilities: who had come, and included in the household chores. Children also can do lots of things to do and we are trying their schedule of home Affairs to expand. The rest for me is a change of activity. So the photo is a rest. Children is after work also stay and work after children is also the rest!

Orthodoxy and the world “ is probably the main thing in my life. Today it is the site where we try to write about real life. About the problems of health and education. About great people and our great contemporaries, about the difficulties of motherhood of the adoptive parents. About the meaning. About life, death and love. Today we are lacking an honest conversation. Not enough answers and meanings. Much not possible. A lot of things. The physician Elena Mishurina and Dr. Alevtina Horinyak, which we are very actively covered. Unavailability of medicines not registered in Russia, and problems of psychoneurological boarding schools, bullying in schools and parent burnout – every day we write about different things. About the difficult and joyful. Our publication exists on the donations of readers – we have a bit of financial resources, of course, we would like to do more. But we have a lot of love and trust of readers.

A few years ago on “Pravmir” started a charitable Foundation, and today we Fund the last hope, we help children and adults who have nowhere else to go who urgently need treatment that can not provide socialized medicine. And all this is possible only due to the fact that a lot of people involved in these deeds of kindness, and together we are a huge force. A real army…

“Pravmir” – together

Over the years there have been many crises in journalism, it is now very difficult times many funds when you lose one major sponsor, the existence of the publication itself is in question. Why we are so grateful to those who have signed up for regular payments in favor of “Pravmir” and in favor of the Fund “Pravmir”. “Pravmir” and lives with these small payments, it seems: well, what is 50 or 100 rubles a month – and it is from these payments and it is the whole budget “Pravmir”. Only for those donations we are able to calculate and understand how much the fees are going to pay, materials to order. Please subscribe to “Pravmir” and the Fund “Pravmir” if you haven’t signed up, we will make common cause together!

Difficult and scary to write about your life, profit. I could not do two years and so now I ask for prayers from readers – about us and for the repose of the blessed memory of Anatoly and Ekaterina. And if you have some great story or are you familiar with some amazing person, email us at [email protected]

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