Iran plane crash victim was finally about to enjoy her life, daughter says

Fereshteh Maleki came to Canada as a skilled worker five years ago, settling in Ottawa. She was one of the 176 people who died when a Ukraine International Airlines flight crashed into a soccer field in Tehran Wednesday.

Fereshteh Maleki came to Canada as a skilled worker, settled in Ottawa

Fereshteh Maleki is shown in an undated handout photo. Maleki, who had relocated from Iran to Ottawa, was among the 176 people who were killed when Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 crashed after takeoff near Tehran, Iran. (Saeideh Shabani)

"Now I can really enjoy my life."

These words now haunt Deniz Pourazar. They were spoken by her mother, Fereshteh Maleki, not long before she boarded the Ukraine International Airlines flight that crashed into a soccer field in Tehran Wednesday, killing all 176 people aboard.

After years of struggle as a single mother and newcomer to Canada, this feeling of pleasant anticipation about life was new for Maleki.

She first came to Canada as a skilled worker five years ago, her daughter said, and things quickly became difficult when her marriage ended.

In need of income, with limited language skills and work experience in Canada, the climb toward stability for her little
family was steep.

Maleki had a strong work ethic — she was an architect by trade — and she was a beacon of positive energy. But still, it wasn't easy for her to make a go of it in Ottawa, especially after realizing her daughter was not well.

'It was really hard for her'

"The first year, she saw that I faced depression and it was very harsh on her because she thought that she had to handle everything and make everything good for us," Pourazar said in a telephone interview from Iran Friday.

"Starting a new life is a hard thing ... It was really hard for her."

She took a carpentry class and worked on improving her resume and getting her skills recognized. Eventually, things started turning around for her. She got a good job. She bought a house and even did some of the renovations herself
— work many women in Iran don't normally do.

A few weeks ago, she and her daughter travelled together to Iran for Pourazar's wedding. They were supposed to fly back together, but Maleki had to leave earlier for work.

They shared a moment after the wedding ceremony when her mother realized that after having struggled for so long, things were finally looking up.

Fereshteh Maleki was on her way back to Canada after her daughter's wedding. (Facebook)

Wished she'd hugged mom goodbye

"After our wedding, she was like, 'OK, now I did everything. Everything is done and now I can really enjoy life,"' her daughter recalled.

"She had her job, she had her home, she had everything that she wanted. And everyone was happy. But it was the end for her."

Now shattered by the memory, Pourazar said she just wishes she had hugged her mother during their last goodbye, when Maleki was hopping in a cab bound for the airport Wednesday.

"I thought, 'OK I'm going to see her in seven days, exactly seven days.' And now I won't. I just kissed her and said goodbye ... and I thought everything would be fine."