Survival of the Kindest: Mary Lou Kelley – Make the Path by Going
Julian talks to Canadian academic, community development pioneer, and palliative care expert Mary Lou Kelley. Fighting the excessive damage of colonialism she sought to reintroduce dying at home in remote first-nation communities, and with her co-pilot Holly Prince they created and implemented one of the most ambitious community development projects around death and dying.
Their work addresses the disruption of colonisation on (amongst other things) traditional practices, on parenting, on education, on intergenerational communication, on end of life practices, and colonialism’s continuing legacy.
Mary Lou’s career led her from an undergraduate degree in English Literature where she learnt to observe people’s stories, to delivering pioneering palliative care projects, focused on bringing dying at home back to communities to an area the size of France in remote Canada. Mary Lou and Holly’s work was community development in its truest form. Giving up control of the project and asking the communities what they needed lies at the crux of the success of their work, where the project bends to fit the community that it is in and not vice versa.
Julian finds out about how the work came about, how it worked, and what happens next for community care for death and dying.