HUNTINGTON, N.Y. - It's the last thing Anastasia Berger ever expected. Her mom and dad are essentially stuck inside their apartment building, seeking refuge in a basement bunker or hiding out in the hallways, as the war in Ukraine rages on and the sounds of explosions get closer.
"It's insane. It's insanity," Anastasia, who lives on Long Island, said. "It was like the perimeter of one mile, one and a half miles, and today my parents told me it was near them."
We're not sharing names or faces of her family in Ukraine for safety reasons. Her parents, grandmother, uncle, and his children are all in Kharkiv, the nation's second-largest city. While Anastasia and her husband Brad speak to them daily, they're growing more worried as time goes on.
"Imagine how they feel by being there, I can't. I don't even think they tell me everything," she said. "I feel like they're trying to hold on and don't tell us exactly the way it is so my sister and I don't get upset, probably."
But it's hard for Anastasia not to be upset. For weeks leading up to Russia's invasion, Brad tried to convince his in-laws to fly to the United States. Now he says it's too late.
"Is it a dream? Then you realize two seconds later it's not a dream," he said.
The couple hopes people who hear their story will do what they can to help. Amazon Wish Lists with medical and food supplies will be distributed to those in need. They also encourage fundraising to support the Ukrainian army and other nonprofit organizations.
The Berger family has been in touch with elected officials, including Rep. Tom Suozzi. The Bergers hope officials will do whatever they can to make safety a top priority for Anastasia's family and everyone else impacted.
"I feel like there was more that could've been done to prevent this," Anastasia said.
They're trying hard not to think about what could've been. Instead, they're looking ahead at what more can be done.
Our instinct can sometimes make us want to avoid talking to kids about tough subjects on the news because we don't want to upset them. But with events unfolding on TV and across social media at high speed, the best way to address the conversation is head-on and with sensitivity, experts say.
For Jewish communities across the globe, the Ukraine crisis reminds them all too well of the Holocaust, which wasn't so long ago. The Jewish Community Center in Krakow, Poland, is preparing to receive refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.