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Widow Of MH17 Flight Steward Returns To The Skies

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KLANG – Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight steward Shaikh Mohd Noor Sheikh Mahmood’s widow Madiani Mahdi, 43, has returned to work but admitted it was challenging for her to don her MAS cabin crew uniform again and also be a mother to her children.

New Straits Times spoke to Madiani during a tahlil and yasin recital ceremony held at her in-laws home at Taman Chi Liung, Pandamaran, here, on Saturday.

About 200 family members and friends, including 30 MAS crew members, attended the ceremony.

“I resumed my duties on Sept 17 and my first flight back was to Bangkok,” she said after the prayers ended.

That destination was extra meaningful and poignant to her, she said, because her first flight with Shaikh Mohd Noor had also been to Bangkok.

Fortunately, she added, she did not break down in tears during that first flight back and everything went smoothly.

However, her emotional well-being was tested on her next flight to Denpasar, Indonesia because she had to work onboard a Boeing 777 plane, a similar model to the one her husband perished in.

“I choked up the moment I entered the office that day. Although I could control myself initially, I later burst into tears during the briefing before the flight.

“I had to leave the briefing room to calm myself down in the bathroom,” she shared.

Her colleague had even suggested for her to work in the kitchen area on the flight if she was not feeling up to serving the passengers.

Madiani did not take up on that offer, however, and was stable throughout the flight.

“The memories of my husband will always be there and I have regained control of myself although at times it is still difficult,” she said.

She stressed that she had to be strong for her children as she was now the sole breadwinner of the family.

“The company offered me a ground job but I am not familiar with such work.

“I decided to continue flying due to the allowance and benefits and because it has become my routine after years of flying,” she said.

The mother of two said she was still in touch with caregivers from both the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and MAS and that they were very helpful.

Calm and composed while entertaining guests, Madiani said she had accepted Shaikh Mohd Noor’s fate as God’s will.

However, she said she missed her husband most after her children had gone to bed and revealed that she had rearranged her living room furniture in an attempt to help herself move on.

“I still feel like I am waiting for him to return from his flight.

“I left his dirty clothes hanging behind the door untouched because I am still not ready to clean them.

“I am used to managing the family alone while my husband was away but back then I knew he would come back in a week but not this time,” she said.

Now, due to her husband’s absence, Madiani said she would drop off their children at her sister’s house whenever she has to be away on duty.

“My children are doing alright but the eldest one still cries sometimes whenever he remembers his father because my husband was very close to them and would always try to spend quality time with them when he was not working despite being exhausted,” she said.

Madiani recalled a conversation with Shaikh Mohd Noor in which she expressed amazement regarding her colleague, Intan Maizura Othman’s strength after losing her husband on the missing MAS MH370 flight.

“I felt sympathy towards Intan but amazed with her strong spirit. I never thought something similar would happen to me.” – NST


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