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Figuring It Out

Jul 18, 2019

But what if we could enhance the quality of our life today by confronting our own mortality and shifting the way we think about death?

Death or dying may feel dark and strikes up a mix of emotions for many of us. 

There’s the fear of it happening; the anxiety of the unknown; and sadness for those that we’ve lost. 

After my conversation with today’s guest Mary Jones, I’ve been thinking a lot more about how I think about death and how I want to leave the world. This process has helped me reflect on my own values and identify the things that are really, truly important to me.


Mary Kelly Jones is the Director of Family Support Services for Hospice & Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley in Potsdam New York. With over 25 years’ experience at Hospice, Mary manages Hospice Chaplains, Social Workers, Volunteer Manager and Bereavement Staff. Mary is passionate about educating Hospice staff and the St. Lawrence County community in all matters related to end of life. 


She has written over 30 grief publications for hospice families and community. She has served as a member of the Professional Education Committee for the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization.


In addition to her role at Hospice, Mary is an adjunct instructor at SUNY Potsdam in the Public Health and Human Performance department. Mary has taught Death & Dying, both fall and spring semesters, for the last twelve years. Mary also serves as the chair of the St. Lawrence County Suicide Awareness Coalition and currently chairs the St. Lawrence County Community Service Board.

Mary and I talk about: 

  • How you fundamentally shift as a person being in the room when someone is near the end of life.
  • How changing the way we think about death can help us heal and die well. 
  • How Hospice as opposed to the traditional medical system focuses on the quality of life instead of trying to lengthen their life as patients near the end.
  • That death is inevitable so instead of trying to stop death we can focus on enhancing our lives. 
  • Why there’s no right way to grieve except to make sure that you do. 
  • How a death and dying course taught a group of college kids what it means to live. 
  • Four simple phrases—“Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “Thank you,” and “I love you”—carry enormous power to mend and nurture our relationships and inner lives. 
  • And how our legacies and the legacies of the ones we love will always be carried on.