Flight steward met wife on the same route

She met her husband on that same flight route, from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam.

And in a tragic twist, she lost him on MH17.

Madam Madiani Mahdi, 42, first got an inkling that something had gone dreadfully wrong when she received a call from her sister-in-law, asking about her husband Shaikh Mohd Noor Mahmood, 44, and the flight he was on.

She turned on the television and her heart sank.

Madam Madiani, who is also a Malaysia Airlines flight attendant, tells The New Paper on Sunday: "I was shocked. I just cried. My mind was blank and I kept crying."

We persuaded her to tell us about her husband and she tearfully recalls how love blossomed after that flight together. Two years later, they got married.

It was Mr Shaikh Mohd Noor's second marriage. He has three children aged six, 11 and 13 from a previous marriage. Together, the couple have a daughter, aged two.

"Before we had our daughter, we always tried to fly together. Although our schedules sometimes didn't permit it, we would try to swop with other colleagues."

After Siti Darwysha Zulaika was born, however, they did the opposite and arranged alternate schedules so they could take turns to look after their child.

She was supposed to pick him up from the airport when he was slated to arrive at about 6am. But he never did.

Madam Madiani, who herself was scheduled to report for work at noon the same day, called her company to take her off the flight to Dubai.

Describing her husband as a romantic, she says he would give her back rubs.

"He would shower me and shampoo my hair. He also loved to give me a massage. I would do the same things for him. I will miss all that," she says, her voice cracking.

Her daughter is still oblivious to the tragedy, despite her efforts in explaining it to her. Madam Madiani says: "She's still too young to comprehend what has happened."

Although the future looks uncertain, she says: "I know what I've promised my husband. I will look after Zulaika. I will make sure she is a good daughter."

Mr Shaikh Mohd Noor's father, Mr Mahmood Sheikh Abdul Rashid, 70, a retiree, says he has to accept what happened.

Speaking in Malay, he says: "We have to accept it because it is God's will."

He almost fainted when his daughter told him what had happened.

With disbelief, he switched on the television and it all finally sank in when he saw his son's name listed among those who perished in the crash.

"My heart shattered. He's my son. I was dumbfounded. I couldn't talk, couldn't move. I just stared into space," he says.

Yesterday, family from both sides of the Causeway gathered at the elderly man's home to offer support.

They played a song that the victim sang and sent over Whatsapp, about a traveller missing his home and family during the Hari Raya period.

Mr Shaikh Mohd Noor's uncle, Mr Ahmad Syed Abdullah, says that until now, no representative from MAS has personally informed the family of the tragedy.

The 62-year-old man, who runs a spa business in Singapore, says: "The family members are disappointed. They should at least send a representative to come by and convey their condolences. But there's none of that."

All the family hopes for now is that some remains can be found. 

This article was first published on July 21, 2014.
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