RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A family escaping the war in Ukraine arrived at RDU International Airport Tuesday.

Family members raced into each other’s arms Tuesday night. Their reunion was joyful, but the reason behind it was tragic.

“On Wednesday, it was normal life for us and on Thursday everything changed,” said Halyna Marchenko.

Marchenko’s arrival in Raleigh was the last stop in her family’s desperate journey to escape the war in Ukraine.

“My husband, he drove me to the border with Poland, so then we walk,” she said.

The desperate wife and mother had to cross the border with her children, leaving their father behind.

“All men have to remain in Ukraine so I don’t know, I just pray for him to come back — It’s very scary, very scary,” Marchenko added.

After the exhaustion and fear of the last several days, the sight of her sisters brought her to tears.

“It’s amazing, it’s amazing — I don’t have words to explain to you it’s amazing that we’re all together,” she said.

Her sister, Ulyana Marchenko, expressed how difficult the last few days have been.

“Half of my heart is so happy and half of my heart is so broken,” she said.

The sisters fear for their parents and everyone else still in Ukraine.

“There are so many people — like I know my friend from Odessa cannot go out from the city because the roads are destroyed. There’s no medication, no food. Nothing,” Halyna Marchenko added.

She prays for their safety, even as she can finally stop worrying about her own.

“I’m very grateful that I’m here, very grateful.”