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Home » Lessons from the Dying: Marie-Jo Cleghorn (Transcript)

Lessons from the Dying: Marie-Jo Cleghorn (Transcript)

Marie-Jo Cleghorn at TEDxQueensU

Here is the full text of Marie-Jo Cleghorn’s talk titled “Lessons from the Dying” at TEDxQueensU event. In this talk, she discusses three lessons that have given her a unique perspective on why your words matter and how sometimes there is no tomorrow.

Notable quote from this talk: 

Life is not a competition. Life is not trying to hide your flaws and your faults and pretending to be something that you’re not, so that you look better compared to somebody else.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:


Hi, my name is Marie-Jo. And I guess this is a bit of a confessional for me.

I’m a wife, I’m a mom, I’m a nurse, and oh yeah, I’m turning 50 this year.

If you were to ask me to describe my professional self, I would tell you I’m a palliative care nurse. This despite the fact that I’ve been away from the bedside for nearly two years.

I’ve worked both in the community and in the hospital setting. Palliative care is where my heart lies. It’s where I feel most at home as a nurse, and it’s probably where I’ve done my best work.

If you don’t know what palliative care means, it means I chose to specialize with working with the dying. The patients I’ve worked with… well, they’ve taught me more than any textbook could ever impart. These patients… they raised me as a nurse.

Three years after I graduated, someone I thought I knew, someone I’d gone to high school with, someone I found myself working alongside had died. Carolyn died suddenly and she died tragically. She wasn’t a palliative care patient.

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