MH17 pilot's widow takes on role of both mum and dad amid 'huge void'

Sons of Malaysia Airlines pilot Eugene Choo, one of the Malaysians killed in the July 17 MH17 disaster, pray during a wake service in Seremban on Sept 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Sons of Malaysia Airlines pilot Eugene Choo, one of the Malaysians killed in the July 17 MH17 disaster, pray during a wake service in Seremban on Sept 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
An urn covered with a national flag containing the ashes of Malaysia Airlines pilot Eugene Choo is seen during a wake service in Seremban on Sept 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
An urn covered with a national flag containing the ashes of Malaysia Airlines pilot Eugene Choo is seen during a wake service in Seremban on Sept 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Sons of Malaysia Airlines pilot Eugene Choo, one of the Malaysians killed in the July 17 MH17 disaster, pray during a wake service at Mr Choo's residence in Seremban on Sept 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Sons of Malaysia Airlines pilot Eugene Choo, one of the Malaysians killed in the July 17 MH17 disaster, pray during a wake service at Mr Choo's residence in Seremban on Sept 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Melvic Choo, 13, carries the ashes of his father, MH17 co-pilot Eugene Choo, while standing near his mother Ivy Loi at the wake in Seremban on Sept 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Melvic Choo, 13, carries the ashes of his father, MH17 co-pilot Eugene Choo, while standing near his mother Ivy Loi at the wake in Seremban on Sept 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Madam Ivy Loi cries at the wake of her husband, MH17 co-pilot Eugene Choo, after the return of his remains in Seremban on Sept 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Madam Ivy Loi cries at the wake of her husband, MH17 co-pilot Eugene Choo, after the return of his remains in Seremban on Sept 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Madam Loi (second from left), with sons Scott, 11 (left), and Melvic, 13, and mother Chew. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Madam Loi (second from left), with sons Scott, 11 (left), and Melvic, 13, and mother Chew. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

(THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - More than three months after Malaysia Airlines pilot Captain Eugene Choo was killed in the MH17 tragedy, his widow, Madam Ivy Loi, is still struggling to be both mother and father to their two sons.

Madam Loi, who used to depend on her husband for the simplest of errands such as banking and paying household bills, is now learning to do all those chores.

She is slowly getting back on her feet, thanks to support from many people, including strangers.

"We miss his laughter and jokes. There is a huge void and we only have his memories. I get very tired doing the things he used to do, but it has certainly made me a tougher person.

"I didn't have a clue on doing the simplest things because my husband has always sorted these out. The only things that I used to do were water the plants or fetch the boys whenever he was away flying."

Madam Loi, who held prayers for her late husband on Friday to mark the 100th day of his passing, now juggles between looking after her sons, Melvic, 13, and Scott, 11, and her mother Chew Lai Choo, 78.

The pilot, who would have turned 46 next Tuesday, was among the 298 people on board MH17 when it was shot down in eastern Ukraine.

Madam Loi said many people had come forward with aid, including a developer who offered to sponsor her sons to study at an international school in Bandar Sri Sendayan.

"He has offered to pay for everything until my boys complete their A levels. Officers from the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry check on me twice a week to offer assistance.

"My husband's former employer, Malaysia Airlines, has also been providing us with help and for this, we are indebted to them," she said, adding that Mr Choo's friends and neighbours at their Sri Carcosa home here often drop by with words of encouragement and support.

"In fact, one of his friends took the boys out for the World Wrestling Entertainment event in Kuala Lumpur a couple of days ago. I don't have the words to express my gratitude to them," said Madam Loi.

On German intelligence reports that accused pro-Russian rebels of having shot down MH17, Madam Loi said such news did not matter anymore.

"All I know is that my husband has been taken away from my boys and me, and nothing we do will bring him back," she said.