For five years Joyce had been battling cancer travelling to Brisbane from her beloved home on Mt Tamborine for treatment and surgery and to visit her daughter Annette and grandson Ryan. Earlier this year the time came when Joyce required palliative care.
Joyce’s husband Hank had witnessed the extraordinary in home care Karuna had provided his own mother in her last few months so he arranged for Karuna to do the same for his dear Joyce in Annette’s home in Brisbane.
Described by Hank as a daughter any mother would be proud of, Annette was determined to honour and protect her mother in her final days. Annette together with Karuna, set up the ground level of her home for Joyce to be cared for surrounded by family, friends and not to be forgotten – her faithful dog Bundy!
Bundy never left Joyce’s bedside ever watching and supervising the nurses and visiting friends and family.
“Having Mum cared for at home meant her favourite people (and animals) in the world could be with her, sitting with her, reading to her, even stay the night with her,” said Annette.
“Not only did Karuna provide daily, expert medical care the nurses and volunteers counselled Hank and I as well as relatives interstate on Mum’s final journey and what we should expect. Karuna also helped us liaise with the medical practitioners and even organised things like a hospital bed and wheelchair – Karuna thought of everything.
“This support made this heart wrenching time bearable and allowed us to focus entirely on Mum.
“I feel that looking after Mum at home in her last few weeks gave her the dignified death she deserved. As sad as it was, we have no regrets and we know that at my home she was surrounded by love and the memories of her wonderful life,” she said.
Hank said Karuna made it possible to grant Joyce’s wish to stay at home and pass away peacefully.
“I can’t thank the Karuna nurses and counsellors enough. I also thank Annette for her complete dedication to her mother in her final days,” he said.
But the association with Karuna hasn’t ended with Joyce’s passing. As part of the healing process for the family Annette has taken her 5 year old son Ryan to Karuna to make a Memory Box about his Nana. Ryan decorated a box which he filled with things that reminded him of Nana Joyce – their favourite chocolate treat, the tickets from the last movie they saw together, special drawings he did of his grandmother.
Annette, Ryan and Hank also hope to catch up with some of the nurses and counsellors when they attend the Karuna Christmas Market in late November.
“My experience with Karuna was so positive and profound that for the first time in my life I have a personal connection with a charity and I am committed to helping it. These wonderful people are now an ongoing part of our lives,” said Annette.