PETALING JAYA: It has been nine years since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing without a trace, yet Grace Nathan still talks about her mother as if she was still around.
Grace said she still referred to her mother in the present tense, leaving strangers unaware that her mother, Anne Daisy, was on the ill-fated flight.
“Emotionally, there will always be that gap due to the lack of closure. For example, I still refer to my mother in the present tense, so people who do not know me would not know anything about my mother being missing.
“I never refer to her as gone, passed away or anything like that. I am never able to sort of describe her in a manner which means that she is no longer with us,” she told FMT.
Grace, 35, said there had been many occasions in the past nine years when she wanted to reach out for her phone and call her mother, especially when there was exciting news.
“I really wished she was here to give me advice and for me to talk to her and brainstorm with her on things that were happening in my life.
“I have missed her even more and more ever since I had a baby. I just wished that she could be here to experience this part of my life.”
Grace, who was in the United Kingdom at the time MH370 went missing, recalled how she only had time to grab her passport, handbag, and laptop and left her house with just the clothes on her back to catch the first flight home.
Describing the flight as the longest 14 hours of her life, Grace said she ran to the door of the plane once it landed, hoping to get the latest update.
“I asked the flight attendant for news. He said he had no news yet and I remember feeling so relieved because no news at that time meant good news,” she said.
However, the days become weeks, the weeks become months and the months have now become years and still the grieving families wait for news.
“I feel exasperated. We are still asking all the same questions and waiting for the same answers. We’re still asking why MH370 turned around, and why was the communication system turned off? Why did it happen? Where is MH370 now?
“The same questions we asked on Day 1 nine years ago, we are still asking now after nine years,” she said.
While Grace is not expecting her mother to walk through the door, she said it was important that the search for the missing aircraft continues as it was a matter of aviation safety.
“It should be something that everyone is concerned about. We allowed a humongous Boeing 777 to just vanish into thin air and we don’t care how that happened.
“That shouldn’t be the case. What I really don’t want to see is something like this ever happening again,” she said.
Grace hoped that the government would be more open to resuming the search. She also called on the government to be more approachable and listen to the families, adding that there should be more transparency.
Jacquita Gonzales, whose husband, Patrick Gomes, was an inflight supervisor on MH370, said those onboard should not be considered collateral damage.
“They have families and loved ones. They will miss them so we cannot just leave it at that and not know what happened.
“Hopefully, the matter will be tabled in one of the Parliament sessions. I’m hoping they still remember and continue where they left off. Maybe this year, who knows,” she said.
For the 60-year-old, to have closure was very important as she had not been able to give her husband a proper send-off.
“If someone you love passes on, you have a funeral, you bury them or you cremate them and their ashes are put in a niche so there is a place for you to go during their death anniversary or their birthdays (where you can) light a candle and say a prayer. I don’t have that.
“I don’t have a place to go to. Right now, the place I go to is my memory, what I feel in my heart and what I see in my children, I see Patrick there,” she said.
The MAS Boeing 777 vanished some 40 minutes after leaving Kuala Lumpur enroute to Beijing on March 8, 2014.
Its disappearance remains one of aviation’s greatest mysteries as the aircraft has not been found despite the longest and most expensive search mission in history.