On Death revisited, again

This past December, I put On Death on hiatus. The interview series, released every other week, had been going strong since inception in March 2016. Originally every week, I extended the releases to every other week to better balance the medical student with the interviewer.

Then last winter right after the solstice, I decided to introduce a seasonal break until the spring. I wanted time to focus on other pursuits rather than scheduling the next interview. I wanted time to bank up interviews, so that when I resume regular releases, I can enjoy a buffer of a few weeks rather than constantly interviewing and releasing.

I wanted to enjoy this project again. With the Annual Assembly of Hospice and Palliative Medicine two weeks ago, I got the chance to talk with folks about the podcast. Every single person that stopped to discuss my poster thought that this project should continue. I could see the realization in their eyes, the moment when they stop listening to my spiel because they are imagining the possibilities and the value of these collected interviews.

When I saw this look, I stopped and asked what questions they had for me. Sometimes, they’d ask what value I thought the interviews held. Other times, they wanted to know if I had metrics on conversion to palliative medicine after the interviews. The questions lit a fire under me, reminding me that this is a project of love.

This is a project that I love.

With the Vernal Equinox and thus the start of spring this past week, I will begin to release new interviews this week. I’m looking forward to this season of interviewees. I have seven banked up, bringing me deep into the summer weather of June. Already planning the next half dozen.

I will bring you one guest who found out at 24 that she is BRCA1 positive, meaning that she will likely develop ovarian or breast cancer before her mid-thirties. She’s also an artist and writer, who gives thoughtful responses to the four prompts.

I will bring you another young guest who survived a horrific car accident with a broken back. He wants to get back to climbing trees. For now, he’ll settle for loving his person.

I will bring you a guest that is transitioning from a mentor to an elder, who has built a primitive skills community in Maine. He made a strong impression on me when I visited his school before starting my medical education. I’m incredibly eager to bring his wisdom and story-telling to you.

I will bring you a guest that creates with love, who has written a children’s book that focuses on adventure through empathy and vulnerability. We had such a fun conversation, ranging from race and identity to his own journey in love. Afterwards, he called me the Asian Oprah.

I will bring you a guest that hunts. He builds his own tools for the hunt from the landscape. He also teaches, through his own podcast and through a university. He hunts for deer and for lessons within himself.

I will bring you a young guest that has trouble remembering. She suffered a severe concussion in high school and developed numerous coping mechanisms to address her poor long-term memory while studying in college. I find her inspiring, between her ability to remain positive and to see the best in the world.

And I will bring you a guest that has recently become a father. His work as a teacher and transformational retreat leader shows in the lively conversation. I ended the interview with a big smile on my face, and I hope that you will, too.

Sixty interviews released so far.

Another seven waiting off-screen.

I’m excited to see how far we go.

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