IT'S a grieving mother's last wish for her beloved first-born.
"I can only hope that whatever happened it was very quick and they didn't know."
The heartbreaking message comes from Irene Burrows, whose eldest son Rodney and his wife Mary were aboard the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The final glimmer of hope for Irene and husband George was extinguished when Malaysian Prime Minister Najiv Razak announced the fate of the plane in the early hours of yesterday morning.
"It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean."
The poignant statement brought to an end one chapter of an aviation mystery that had baffled authorities for more than two weeks.
Rodney and Mary were headed for a three-week holiday in China when they boarded the flight bound for Beijing on March 8.
They were set to return to their Brisbane home early next month to be greeted by their first grandchild.
Speaking from her Biloela home, Irene found it hard to muster too many words but it was clear that she drew comfort from the fact that Rodney and Mary were together.
"I haven't really had time to think too much about it," she said yesterday morning. "The family is coping as best they can."
Irene had been watching the latest developments on television until she went to bed about 10pm on Monday.
A phone call after midnight stirred her from her restless sleep.
It was a reporter from New York, who broke the devastating news and wanted a comment.
The comforting voice of her daughter Kaylene came in a call just minutes later.
Irene said she was unsure if any family members would travel to Perth to be closer to the search site.
Rodney's sister-in-law Sandra Burrows said the family had been overwhelmed by the messages of support from all quarters, even from strangers, during the 17-day ordeal.
"I take my hat off to everyone who has been taking part in the search. They have been incredible," she said.
"We had suspected this and our worst fears have been confirmed but it will at last give us some closure."
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