2-year-old teaches widow of MH17 first officer how to deal with loss

2-year-old teaches widow of MH17 first officer how to deal with loss

PUTRAJAYA - Asmaa Aljuned, the widow of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 first officer Ahmad Hakimi Hanapi, is one strong woman.

A year after losing her husband in the tragedy, the former stay-at-home mother now runs a Boost Juice franchise in D'Pulze, Cyberjaya, as a way to provide for their two-year-old son Abderrahman.

The boy's innocent outlook on life comes as a blessing and comfort for Asmaa during an otherwise difficult time.

Only a few weeks ago, Abderrahman taught his mother the beauty of loss from a child's perspective.

"I was carrying Abderrahman out of the house and into the car. As we were walking, an aeroplane flew overhead and he called out: 'Mama, mama!'" Asmaa, 30, recalled.

Abderrahman then pointed to the plane and excitedly cried out: "Dada, dada!"

"He still remembers, he still has memories. I guess when it comes to a child, they don't grasp the meaning of death or loss," said Asmaa.

"Even if they do, I don't know how they view it. The aeroplane reminded Abderrahman of his dad, of someone close to him who he no longer sees."

The boy smiled and laughed as he pointed out the aircraft, said Asmaa.

"For adults, the memories of loved ones we have lost will make us sad or shed tears.

"It's different for a child. He just remembers the happy parts, even though he knows that the person is no longer around," she said.

"The loss doesn't affect him negatively but rather, in a positive way. He is very happy, he rejoices in the memory of his dad. There is so much to learn from a little child," she added.

Asmaa not only finds comfort in Abderrahman's cheerfulness, she is inspired by him.

"If Abderrahman can be happy with the thought of his dad even though he knows that he is no longer around, why can't I do the same?

"My husband had a beautiful soul. He worked really hard to make us happy. I'm going to rejoice in the memories, smile every time I think of him and that helps a lot. And thanks to Abderrahman for showing me that."

Ahmad Hakimi, 29, was part of the 15-member crew that perished with 283 passengers on July 17, 2014, when MH17 was shot down over Ukraine after departing Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur.

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