Dear Karuna Friend,
Thanks to the kindness and generosity of supporters like you, Karuna has been able to help thousands of families just like Gino’s over the past 25 years.
We may be small, but our clients tell us the impact we have on their lives is transformative. We still exist because you help us.
Today the demand for our services continues to grow and is far greater than the government funding provided. We work hard to look after as many families as possible, however our limited resources often means we have to refer some families elsewhere. This is always very disappointing to us as everyone who approaches Karuna usually does so because they have heard of Karuna’s care and want similar care for themselves or their loved ones.
We need your continued help not only to operate, but also to grow our capability to help more people and make sure they don’t miss out on the choice to remain at home.
“I wish everyone facing what we faced could have Karuna by their side, but there is a limit to the number of people they can assist because they are relying on donations and bequests.”
With your support of our service families won’t have to face this daunting journey alone. Please give generously so we can be there when families need us the most.
With heartfelt thanks,
P.S. Your generous donation will help more people fulfil their wish to die at home surrounded by those who love them best. Life is our most treasured possession, its loss our most difficult experience.
by Maria Grazia Tagliaro
In May 2014 my husband Gino was diagnosed with a terminal illness known as Mesothelioma. The specialist told him that he probably had at a maximum 14 months to live. As time went by and he was feeling more breathless and tired our daughter-in-law contacted Karuna and in March 2015 we started our journey in their care.
Gino was a bit reluctant initially because none of our friends accepted that he was dying but when the nurse came for the first time and asked him if he knew he was going to die, he smiled at her and said, “Yes.” That visit was so easy; it helped us relax and feel confident that we could fulfil our wish for Gino to die at home. From that day Gino would wait excitedly for the nurses to come every week and he would greet them with a big smile. For Gino, the time spent with the nurses not only supported him with physical aspects of his care but lightened his spirit because of the way the nurses were able ‘to be with him’ during their visits. During this time they laughed and cried with Gino and I and Gino came to love the nurses as if they were his other daughters.
Karuna’s support made our journey as a family so much easier, as Gino became more accepting of his death and I, (Maria Grazia) grew in confidence that we COULD help him stay at home to die. This growing acceptance of his dying, his faith, being at home with us and Karuna’s home nursing care provided Gino with a sense of peace so he could live fully every day, plan for and organise his funeral and to be able to speak openly to our friends and family about dying.
The nurses also encouraged Gino to write his biography and to write letters to our three children, which he did. The biographer would come every week and the end result was amazing; it also helped him share his wishes for us all when he wasn’t going to be with us anymore.
As Gino’s condition deteriorated there were three things he was hoping to experience before he died: his last Christmas with his family, our youngest son’s wedding and my birthday.
The first was wonderful with our three children and their families all with us. When our youngest son got married in July, the nurses came in the morning to make sure everything was going to be ok for the day and checked in with us at the end of the day. What a joyous occasion it was for all of us. The third occasion, my birthday celebration, we had to bring forward a week, because Gino was very ill. Having achieved all three of these important milestones Gino was then able to ‘let go’ and died at home a week later.
The Karuna nurse was with us leading up to and at the time that Gino died but in a way that felt as if she was part of our family – guiding, caring and sharing that amazing experience. I’m sure this was only possible because of the trust, care and understanding that had been built up between us all over our previous five months in Karuna’s care.
I would never have thought I would have been strong enough to provide the support for Gino to stay at home to die but with Karuna’s help and support he was able to be in our home with all his familiar comforts, including our friends and family coming in as they would usually do. I feel this would not have been possible in a hospital situation. Our family will be forever grateful for Karuna’s support, love and care.
This care was given from their hearts with such kindness; the nurses were never in a hurry and always had such respect for our individual circumstances. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Maria Grazia Tagliaro