Brad promised his wife Kendra that he would love her unconditionally until there are no more tomorrows. His promise would be tested over and over as newly commissioned FBI analyst Kendra Deacon uses her youthful appearance to embed herself undercover into the criminal world of child trafficking and child exploitation, but at what cost to her marriage and promise of unconditional love until there are no more tomorrows? Can Brad forgive Kendra for using her youthful appearance and her body as a tool to accomplish her undercover mission to save the missing and exploited girls? Find out what unconditional love really means and see if there will be a tomorrow.
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I received a telephone call advising that Kendra was being transported by medivac to Mercy General Hospital. All I was told was that Kendra was badly injured and I needed to be at the hospital without delay. I called my neighbor, Margo, and she agreed to watch Cassandra, our three year old daughter while I raced to the hospital, consumed by my fear and trepidation of not knowing what happened to my young wife.
It had been close to seven months since I last saw, much less heard anything from or about Kendra. The last time she was home, she had completed an undercover operation as a FBI Analyst and she appeared happy to be at home once again. Kendra had received two commendation medals for her outstanding work and she promised me and Cassie that she was home to stay; at least for a little while. I asked Kendra, "Why only for a little while? You are my wife and mother of our child. How can you justify leaving so quickly, or expect that we will somehow understand what you are involved in?" Kendra explained that she would need to debrief her Ops, but that wouldn't take more than a couple days. I had to ask Kendra if there was someone else she had been living with, and if so, what was her intention as to her family that missed her so greatly. Kendra promised that there was no one else and she would love me until there are no more tomorrows. Kendra held me and said, "Please Brad, let me do my job and debrief my Ops and then I can tell you everything that I have experienced while being undercover. Until then, I am not at liberty to say anything without possibly compromising my criminal investigation."
Kendra was home for a few days when she received a call from Julie, the Deputy District Director's assistant asking Kendra to come in and debrief her Ops. The FBI District Headquarters was located twenty-six miles from our home and I offered to drive Kendra. She replied, "Thanks, but the office has two field agents that will swing by and pick me up on their way into the district office. I'm sorry Brad, but Chuck, the District Director, wants a full debriefing and I have to go in." That was the last time I had any communication with or about Kendra before receiving the telephone call that brought me into the hospital.
I arrived at the Mercy General Hospital Emergency Room entrance and parked my car in front of the double Emergency Room entry doors. I stepped out of my car and heard an attendant yell, "Hey, asshole, you can't park there!" I threw him my keys and ran into the ER asking for my wife. The charge nurse asked me to slow down and catch my breath, as she asked me the obvious question, "What is your wife's name?" I replied, "Kendra Deacon. I was told that Kendra was flown in today by a medivac helicopter." The floor nurse replied, "Oh! Her." She explained to me that Kendra was in the ER undergoing triage to ascertain the nature and extent of her injuries." I asked, "Do you know what happened to Kendra?" The nurse replied, "No. I have not heard anything. She was flown in and immediately moved into the ER triage unit." I asked, "Do you know what is wrong with her?" The nurse replied, "I will leave that up to Dr. Mott, the ER physician in charge tonight." I asked, "Where is Kendra - what room please?" Nurse Stevens said, "Room 8, but you cannot go in there. You must wait out here in the ER waiting room and the doctor will speak with you when she can."
Nurse Steven's limited knowledge left me wanting for so much more information about Kendra's well-being. I arrived at Room 8 and stared at the "No Admittance" sign as I pushed open the ER door and saw Kendra lying on a gurney. I yelled, "Kendra!", but she didn't move or respond to me in any manner. Her soft brown hair was soaked and matted in dried blood as was her dress and knee high socks. I noticed that Kendra's hair was in a ponytail; something I liked, but Kendra liked her hair loose. I loved watching Kendra shake her head and her hair would float through the air as each strand shined and glimmered in the morning sunlight. Kendra was beautiful, even now as she lay on the gurney unresponsive to my calls. I knew the real Kendra and I have loved her since childhood. I also noticed that Kendra's dress and knee socks were more akin to a junior high girl's peasant dress which was popular at one time. I had to wonder why Kendra would be dressed like that. To the best of my knowledge, Kendra didn't even own such a dress. I stood near Kendra and saw that her jaw was broken and she was missing several teeth as I stared at her blood stained face. I also observed bones protruding from Kendra's right leg and heard her gasping for air as she lay on the gurney. To me, it looked like Kendra had been hit by a large truck. I lost it and began to openly cry for my wife, asking, "What happened to my wife and who would do this to such a beautiful girl?"
I held Kendra's blood stained hand as Dr. Mott slowly fed a large tube down her throat and then turned on the respirator. Kendra appeared to be breathing better. I continued to hold Kendra's hand when Dr. Mott yelled, "Sir, you need to get out of this ER room immediately or I am calling security." I refused to leave Kendra and Dr. Mott had an orderly call security while she threw me a surgical gown and mask to wear temporarily. Dr. Mott asked me, "Who are you? Do you know this young girl?" I replied, "Yes. Her name is Kendra Deacon and she is my wife." Dr. Mott replied, "I doubt that. This girl doesn't appear to be much older than fourteen, maybe fifteen years old." I replied, "Kendra turned twenty-two last week. She is petite and very young looking. I have been married to her since she was sixteen years old and we have a three year old daughter at home."
Hospital security and a local police officer arrived at the ER triage room number eight. I was asked for identification and fortunately I always carried a picture of Kendra, me and our daughter Cassandra. Dr. Mott was satisfied, but said I needed to wait outside and let her team work. Security asked Dr. Mott, "Do we arrest him or release him?" Dr. Mott replied, "This is his wife. He is in enough distress. Please release him."
I kept hold of Kendra's blood stained hand and asked Doctor Mott, "What is wrong with my wife?" Dr. Mott explained, "Your wife is in a self-induced coma. Her left lung has been re-inflated, and as you saw, we have installed an airway to make breathing easier. We are waiting on a MRI scan of her body to identify internal injuries of the body cavity and brain. Some of your wife's injuries are visually obvious like the compound fractures of her right leg and her broken jaw and missing teeth. Although the breaks look bad, our purpose at this time is to determine what injuries your wife has incurred and then we will prioritize her treatment plan. Now, I need you to please leave the ER while we finish our immediate triage work." Dr. Mott promised me that she would fill me in after she learned more about Kendra's injuries. I got up to leave when Dr. Mott touched my shoulder and suggested that I be prepared to lose Kendra. She explained, "Your wife is in critical, almost grave condition and to suggest she will survive the night will be hopeful speculation at best." She suggested I seek pastoral help in the interim if I needed someone to talk too.
I heard a call come into the ER. A green light flashed and two orderlies ran in and quickly grabbed Kendra's gurney and left the ER. I panicked and asked, "Please, someone, tell me what is happening to my wife." Dr. Mott replied, "Kendra is going to radiology for the MRI scan I mentioned to you. When I receive the results, I will sit down with you and review the findings of the radiologist and discuss our treatment plan to address Kendra's injuries. Now sir, please leave the ER and sit in the waiting room. I will not ask you again."
Dr. Mott returned two hours and ten minutes later and sat with me as promised. She explained, "Kendra has a substantial skull fracture and four known intracranial bleeds, called subdural hematomas. There are multiple contusions or bruising on her brain. A neurovascular brain surgeon is in route to close off the bleeding and evaluate the extent of the blunt force trauma to Kendra's brain. Stopping the intracranial bleeding is our first treatment priority as Kendra will most certainly not survive the night unless the bleeding is stopped."
Dr. Mott went on to say, "Kendra is being prepped for surgery right now. Dr. Richards and his surgical team will be here in approximately forty-five minutes." I interrupted and asked, "Why so long?" Dr. Mott replied, "Dr. Richards is a brain vascular neurosurgeon on call over seven different hospitals. He is flying in from St. Elizabeth's." I asked, "What else is wrong with Kendra?" Dr. Mott replied, "The list is too long to go over right now. I can tell you briefly that she has a ruptured lung, spleen injury; a broken rib punctured her bladder, Kendra has 5 broken ribs, one of which missed her heart by inches, three compound fractures of her right leg and four bone fractures, a broken jaw and she is missing 5 teeth in her top left quadrant of her mouth. Kendra's cheek bone near the eye socket is broken and there is a substantial cut in her left breast from a sharp blow. On top of all of that, Kendra is comatose."
I asked Dr. Mott "Is there a chance that Kendra will come out of her coma?" Dr. Mott replied, "Kendra's coma is a method that her brain is using to stabilize her life functions and protect her from the horrific pain she would be experiencing if she were cognizant of her injuries. Right now the coma is a good thing and I want to keep Kendra comatose until we can fully repair her injuries. Whether Kendra ever comes out of the coma is best left to time and prayer because we have no control over her brain function."
I asked, "Do you know if Kendra was hit by a car or truck?" Dr. Mott replied, "No, her injuries resemble what would occur if she was struck with a club or bat of some sort. Your wife was brutally beaten by someone." I sat down and asked God, "Why did you let this happen?" I began feeling anger at the world?"
Dr. Mott turned to me and said, "Here is some good news. Dr. Richards just arrived and the surgery center is prepared for Kendra. I watched two orderlies wheel Kendra into surgery where Dr. Richards and his team worked on Kendra's brain for eleven straight hours. When he was done, Kendra was moved into recovery and Dr. Richards took five minutes to talk with me.
Dr. Richards explained that Kendra had experienced severe blunt force trauma to her head resulting in massive contusions to her brain. The impact of the blunt force object caused five blood vessels to rupture in Kendra's Brain. The technical diagnosis is intracranial hemorrhage or subdural hematoma." He further explained that he stopped the bleeding, but he could not state with any medical certainty if Kendra would ever return to a sapient state due to her traumatic brain injuries. I asked, "What do you mean?" Dr. Richards explained, "In my medical opinion, based upon your wife's extensive injuries, I believe that there is less than a ten percent likelihood that your wife will fully recover from her brain injuries. If she survives at all, she may experience difficulty with speech, memory and recall, motor skills, hearing, taste, smell, sight or the potential of partial or full paralysis. All this assumes that your wife even comes out of her coma. I'm sorry, but I think you need to hear it straight. Your wife is in critical condition and if she lives, it will be because of a miracle from God.
I have done all I can do as her surgeon. I promise to lift up Kendra before God in my prayers."
I asked Dr. Richards why no one was working on Kendra. He explained that Kendra needed a few hours of recovery and stabilization before being put under with more anesthetics. He indicated that the thoracic and orthopedic surgeons were in the surgery center ready to operate when your wife is ready. In the meantime, the rest will give the mended blood vessels a chance to close up which in turn will improve Kendra's chances of survival.
Dr. Richards looked at his watch and commented, "Your wife should be moved into surgery right now. I will check and see how she is doing." I asked Dr. Richards "Are you leaving the hospital soon?" He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Son, I am not leaving you, or your wife until she is in recovery and I have a CT scan confirming that her blood vessels are no longer bleeding in her brain. I am one of two neurovascular brain surgeons in this area. I never leave a patient unless I am personally satisfied that I can leave without endangering the patient. Now, I need you to relax as much as you can under the circumstances. There are chairs and coffee in our waiting room. If you dial 9345, you can order food from food services and have it delivered if you don't want to leave this area. However, if you remain in this room, you are not helping the doctors or your wife."
I thanked Dr. Richards and released Kendra's hand when I noticed that her wedding ring and expensive diamond necklace were missing. I asked an orderly, but he had no idea what I was talking about. One of the nurses commented that jewelry is typically removed and put into a safe under the patient's name until discharge. She suggested I check at the front nursing station.
I left the hospital room and checked with the charge nurse. She indicated that Kendra was admitted with one piece of jewelry, a small generic cross necklace. No other jewelry was identified or stored." Once again I was left wondering why Kendra wasn't wearing her jewelry.
I returned to my chair outside Kendra's ER door and placed my hands over my face. I couldn't stop crying as I thought about Kendra and our life together. Within minutes, two men showed up in dark suits, wearing ear pieces and stood outside Kendra's hospital room. They said nothing and refused to acknowledge me. I wasn't sure who they were and I knew that I shouldn't ask.
As I sat in the ER waiting room, word quickly spread that I was related to the badly injured girl in the ER. Kendra's injuries excited the local news media who confronted me when they learned that Kendra was my wife. I was asked questions that I didn't want to answer, or couldn't answer, given my lack of knowledge about Kendra's work as a FBI analyst. I wasn't even permitted to tell anyone where she worked, or what she worked on. All I knew was that Kendra left home pursuing her job obligations and I could do nothing about it. What I typically heard from Kendra is, "Sorry Brad, but I have to go."
I tried to avoid the media, but the news media pushed harder with their questions inquiring if Kendra would live or die. I screamed, "I don't know. Please leave me alone!" One man asked me, "If that girl is your wife, then why is she dressed like a young school girl?" I replied, "I don't know!" He replied, "I think I do. You are a damn pervert. How old is she, twelve or thirteen? Come on man, what's up with your so called wife?" A woman reporter yelled, "Show me your wife's identification if she is as old as you claim." I replied, "I am not showing you shit. Get out of my face now."
I heard, "Back off! You heard the man." One of the men in dark suits intervened and pushed back the reporters. Their cameras kept rolling as questions were tossed at me for a response. The man said, "Come with me and I will buy you a cup of coffee away from the reporters." I said, "OK". He instructed the other man to remain at his post. I stepped into the elevator and he kept the reporters out. Once the door closed, he identified himself as Special Agent Ted Rawlings. He showed me his FBI identification and shield and commented that I did right by saying nothing.
I asked Ted if he knew what Kendra was involved in prior to being beaten by someone. Ted replied, "All I know is that Agent Deacon had been undercover and she was called into district headquarters to debrief her Ops. I asked, "Did she get there? She was picked up by two field agents." Ted replied, "That was the first thing I looked into. Agent Deacon signed in the entrance log at 13:40 hours. Next to her name and shield number was listed 'Debrief' under the purpose of visit." I replied, "Then you are saying she did arrive at district headquarters." Ted replied, "Yes". I asked, "Does the log book have a sign-out feature?" Ted replied, "I checked that too. Someone signed out for Kendra at 16:45 pm. That was the last log entry concerning Kendra."
Excerpted from "Until Tomorrow"
Copyright © 2017 James A. Gauthier, J.D..
Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
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