The following account was written by Joanna’s brother, Bernard Bruford. Video vignettes created by Michael LePage.
16 March 1941 – 20 May 2016
Many of the Baba Family were surprised by the swiftness of events leading to Joanna being freed from her ailing body. For those who seek more, here is an overview of what transpired.
Lovingly, Bernard Bruford, Avatar’s Abode 23 May.
Over the last year or so Joanna had been battling along, with the need for some home help and being mostly driven to appointments. For over a year her main difficulty was living with severe nerve pain round one eye from shingles. In early April Joanna had a 10 day stay in hospital with a UTI and lung infection. These were successfully treated, but during that hospital stay a bone biopsy indicated leukaemia. The haematologist suggested a conference with Joanna together with Jo-Anne and myself to explain the options. His recommendation was a treatment involving 7 consecutive days of injection each month, with any benefit to be monitored, and the treatment to be repeated for as long as any benefit continued. With this treatment the 1 year prognosis could be extended to 3 years. Joanna asked what he would recommend if it were his own mother. He said he would want to give it a try, so Joanna said she would like to go ahead with it.
On 30 April dear sister Joanna decided she was not well enough for me to bring her to the family home at Avatar’s Abode for our weekly evening meal together. It was agreed that I would phone at frequent intervals to check on her. Later that evening I judged that I should go to her, and decided to call an ambulance which transported her to Nambour Hospital. There was another infection, and it was soon apparent that her overall health had noticeably declined, and even after the infection cleared she would need to be permanently on oxygen supply.
Seven days ago [from 23 May 2016] there was another family conference with her two medical teams. They carefully explained the options for the future, and it was agreed that Joanna was no longer strong enough to withstand the treatment that had previously been recommended. With palliative care her prognosis was expected to be about three to six months. She understood that she would need residential care. She made it very clear that she did not want medical intervention to extend her life if it would mean the constant discomfort with breathing and lack of mobility.
Plans were successfully for admission this week to residential care. David Bowling was able to expedite the arrangements. Joanna was very satisfied with the plans, including the visiting palliative care team, and she was pleased with the description of the room location with its green vista.
Despite fluid retention becoming an increasing problem she remained perfectly coherent. Joanna was concerned that she would be letting down her Beloved Lord if she did not remain cheerful for visitors. Six hours before she died she conversed with her nephew Aidan about the pruning and growing of a particular tree type. At about 11 pm on Friday I left her side believing she had settled comfortably for the night. We parted with us exchanging a loving Jai Baba and she then repeated His name and back to sleep.
At approximately 4.15 a.m. on Saturday I had the phone call from the hospital to say that Joanna had passed away. and I immediately went to spend some final time with her. A very sweet young nurse of Indian background was with her when she passed. We had a very comforting conversation with this nurse, who had held her hand as she passed, and another one who was called in and who also held her hand. They said that she had been very comfortable and peaceful during the hours preceding her passing, there had been frequent checks on her but she had not needed to call on the nurses other than for sips of thickened water a couple of times.
Jai Meher Baba!
Below is the funeral notice to be published on Wednesday with most of the details. For those who wish to have a last goodbye at the Funeral Parlour, Noon till 12.30pm on Friday.
Lovingly, Brother Bernard
BRUFORD, Joanna Bews
Of Kuluin. Died peacefully 21/05/2016 and now released from pain and safe in the arms of her Beloved Lord, Avatar Meher Baba.
Much loved and loving daughter of John (Decd) and Joan (decd); Sister and Sister in Law of Bernard and Jo-Anne; Aunt of Shakira, Leander and Jacqui, Aidan and Fleur; Great Aunt of Adalya, Rose, Jasper, Vida and John. Dear Companion of Cecily (decd). Much loved friend, helper and mentor to many.
Relatives and Friends are respectfully invited to attend Joanna’s Graveside Service to be held at the Woombye/Palmwoods Cemetery, Woombye at 2.00 pm on Friday 27/5/2016 followed by a commemorative gathering at 3.00 pm at “Avatar’s Abode”.
Drysdale Funerals, 33 National Park Road, Nambour, Ph 5441 1366 www.drysdalefunerals.com.au