After the long flight south, we landed at Jandakot airport safely, and I taxied to the hanger that I had leased while we are down in the city, and after shutting sown the engines, I made a call for a taxi van to collect us, before helping Rhodes with the luggage and locking up the plane and the hanger.
Forty minutes later the Taxi pulled up outside the Seaward Avenue property, and the front had a line of mature Bottlebrush trees, and some lawn, which seems to be well maintained, as we all climbed out and pulled out our luggage.
Once the taxi had left, I turned to my siblings, “Right, Rhodes you get the study, I will have the master, girls you can share a room, and Wynn you can have a room to yourself,” I announced, “If it is a sofa bed in the study, I would prefer to share with Wynn,” Rhodes responded, “That is fine, but no arguments,” I replied, as we headed to the front door.
Once we had all settled in and had a good look around the house, I announced to all the siblings, that Mary and I are going down to the nearest IGA store to get some shopping, so Rhodes is in charge until we return with the shopping.
Not sure how long it had been since the Mazda had last been used, I was surprised that it started easily, and we made the 3 kilometre trip south to the nearest store, without having to cross the busy West Coast Highway.
When we arrived back at the house, there was a car parked on the side of the street outside the house, and grabbing the groceries we headed for inside, where we found two Army officers seated in the lounge talking to Rhodes and the younger two siblings, and they stood when I entered.
“Corporal Kendrik, we have come to express our condolences on behalf of the entire SAS Regiment, we only just heard the news yesterday, and it took us some time to get in contact with Mr and Mrs Parkinson, to find you,” the senior officer – a Major said to me, with the other officer being a Lieutenant.
“Thankyou Major, please pass on our thanks for your message to the CO and the Regiment,” I replied. “I also have a letter from Command, we will leave you know, and once again we are sorry to hear of the passing of your father,” the Major said before they left the house.
Leaving the envelope on the dining table, I helped Mary to put away the groceries, before going to the study to read what the letter is about. “Corporal J.F Kendrik. You have been granted special leave for an unlimited time, due to your family situation. Please inform Command when you are ready to return to active Reserves duty,” the letter stated, which I was pleased to read.
While eating dinner the telephone in the kitchen rang, and not knowing that it was connected, we all jumped a bit in fright, before I stood to answer the call. A few minutes later I returned to the table where all eyes were on me.
“That was Hedley Parkinson, letting us know that he had a call from the police to let us know that our Dad has been flown to Perth for a post-mortem, and that I need to go and see the police in the morning,” I explained to my siblings.
“What is a post thingy?” Wynn asked me, “It is when a doctor examines someone who has died to determine how they have died, it is a common thing when it is a sudden death, now no more talk about that tonight, lets finishing eating and we can get a good nights sleep before we go and visit Mum in the morning,” I explained.
After dinner, I let Rhodes and Mary know that I was going for a bit of a drive to try and relax and that I would be back in a few hours, as I wanted to go and visit a friend.
Twenty minutes later I exited the car and headed into Royal Perth Hospital, and followed the directions to the WA Trauma Unit, and when I arrived, I pressed the buzzer and a voice responded, “Trauma Unit, can I help you?”
“Yes, I have come to visit my mother, Mrs Amanda Kendrick from Marble Bar,” I responded, “I am sorry sir, but visiting hours are over for today,” came a reply, “Look Nurse, I have flown all the way from Marble Bar today, to visit my injured mother, who has just lost my Dad, her husband of 24 years, and I am the oldest son, so can you please make an exception,” I asked sounding a little frustrated.
“There was a long period of silence, then I heard a click sound, so I tried the door and it opened, and I walked down the hall till I reached the nurses station. “Mr Kendrik, I can let you visit for twenty minutes maximum,” the Nurse said to me.
“It is Dr Kendrik, and thankyou, what room is she in?” I replied, and the nurse led me into the nearby room, and I gasped seeing all of the tubes and monitors attached to her. “You said you are a doctor?” the nurse queried, “Yes Dr of veterinary Medicine and Zoology,” I replied, before stepping into the room and takingseat next to my Mum in the bed.
I took hold of my Mum’s hand and rubbed my thumb softly over the back of her hand, “Come back to us Mum, the kids and I need you,” I said softly, and I must have fallen asleep some time soon after, as I woke up with some one giving me a gentle shake.
“Dr Kendrik, time for you to go and get some sleep in a real bed,” the voice said to me, and I sat up straight, immediately regretting doing that as my back and neck sent sharp pains, “Oww, man did that hurt,” I said, as I looked around and saw a nurse standing nearby.
“Don’t complain dear, it is your own fault,” another voice said and I suddenly realised that it was Mum speaking, and she smiled at me. “Welcome back Mum, I am so glad to see you,” I said as tears started flowing down my face, as the nurse dashed out of the room.
“What happened son, and where am I?” Mum asked weakly, “You are in the Trauma Unit in Perth, you were in a very bad car accident, and… and Dad has passed away… I was told that it was almost instant, I am sorry Mum,” I said.
“I am glad that it was instant, we had talked about this sort of thing, and neither of us want to end up vegetables and live crippled… I will miss your father very much,” Mum replied, as she too began to cry, and together we held each other and cried.
“Sorry to interrupt, but I need to do some checks on your Mum, if you would mind waiting outside,” a lady in a white coat asked, who I presumed to be a Doctor, “The kids are they ok, did they get hurt?” Mum asked urgently and in a shocked manner.
“They are fine mum, the accident happened while you were heading north to Port Hedland, not south towards home, we all flew down yesterday afternoon in the Twin Otter, and we are staying at the Parkinson’s holiday home in Swanbourne,” I replied.
“Oh thank goodness for that,” Mum replied, “I will go and get some sleep and a shower, and I will come back with them in a few hours time when visiting times are on,” I said before giving Mum a short wave and leaving the room.
“Thankyou for allowing me to stay longer than permitted, I do appreciate that,” I said to the nurse, “That is fine sir, it was Dr Green who authorised for you to stay, now from what I hear you have siblings to take care of, so go and do that, your mum is in good hands,” the Nurse said to me and I smiled before exiting the trauma unit.
“It was just after 7 am by the time I entered the house, and I was making a cup of tea when Mary entered, “Where have you been all night?” she said to me sounding concerned, “Sitting with Mum in Hospital, she woke up about an hour ago, and I have told her about Dad, and we had a good cry together,” I replied, “So she is going to be alright?” Mary asked me, “Yes little Sister, she will be fine,” I replied smiling.
After a cup of tea, I headed to the bathroom to have a long hot shower to iron out the kinks in my muscles from sleeping in a chair for most of the night, before dressing in fresh clothes, and heading back out to the living room, where everyone was awake and eating breakfast.
“How is Mum?” they all chorused as soon as they saw me, “She is awake and looks like she is going to heal, so once everyone has had a shower and finished breakfast, we will all go and see her,” I replied. It was then that I realised that we couldn’t take the car, as there isn’t enough seats, so I ordered a taxi to collect us at 8.30 am, to take us there.
When we arrived at the hospital, we were let into the unit, and told that only two at I time can be in the room, so I indicated for Mary and Wynn to go in first, then Rhodes and Julia could go in after they come out, and that they would only have five minutes each.
When the others had their turn of visiting Mum, I went into the room, and Mum looked fairly tired, “Are you ok Mum?” I asked as soon as I entered, “Yes dear, just tired, but it was nice to see all of the children, now I need to talk to you about a few things before I get too sleepy from all of these damn drugs they are pumping into me,” Mum began.
“Well you do have two fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and a bad case of seatbelt bruising on you, so they do have to make you comfortable,” I responded, having spoken to the Doctor while I was waiting for my turn to visit mum.
“And I have given birth to all of you five, which was far worse than what I have now,” Mum said which made me laugh, and when I saw her in pain I stopped and rushed to her side, “I’m fine, don’t fuss, it just hurts when I laugh, now let me say what I need to say.
When we last spoke to you about the possibility of selling up and moving north to you, and then changing our minds, we… that is your father and I and the Parkinson’s sat down and had a good long talk, and we decided to sell the two stations, and stay on at the Airbase as your caretakers, and reduce the number of visiting days down to four, from Friday to Monday, so we have three straight days off.
We also decided that before the stations are sold, that we would relocated the staff village and the camping ground to within the base grounds, and we were in the planning stage of doing this when the accident happened,” Mum announced to me.
“Yes Mum, Hedley and Joyce told me about this, and I think it is a good idea, but now that Dad is gone, maybe we should consider turning the airbase over to the Army,” I responded, “Yes well, that is something we need to discuss when I get out of here,” Mum replied.
“Excuse me, Dr Kendrik, I am your mother’s senior Doctor, I have a message for you, asking for you to arrange a time to go to the state mortuary to identify your father,” so we can release him to be taken care of,” the Doctor said to me.
“I would like to do that please, I need to say goodbye to my husband,” Mum said as she tried to sit up, but fell back in pain. “I am sorry Mrs Kendrik, but you ar not going anywhere, for at least a week, until most of your wounds have healed,” the Doctor said to Mum.
“Look, we will delay the funeral, until you are well enough to attend, then you can say goodbye to him, ok,” I suggested, and reluctantly Mum agreed. Once outside the room, I gave Mary the house keys and fifty dollars for taxi fare, as told her to take the others back to the house.