2018 Retrospective - 20181221

This week, I reflect on the first discrete season of the On Death Podcast!

During this solo-cast, I review the 19 wonderful and intimate interviews that comprised this 2018 Season. Then, I provide some sneak previews into the 2019 Season ahead.

Happy Winter Solstice! I hope that your year dies gracefully and your year begins well.

Becky Orton On Death - 20181206

Becky Orton! Becky is a 45yo mother, CrossFitter, and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I met Becky while coaching at CrossFit Juggernaut in NH before entering medical school: she and her daughter would workout together and I initially thought they were sisters! A testament to her energy and love of life.

During this conversation, we discuss motherhood and the story of her eight children (four biological and four adoptive), the experience of losing Ben, and the rewards of fostering medically fragile children.

I hope you enjoy!

Becky is…
a 45 year old wife of 25 years,
a mother to eight children,
a CrossFitter,
a member of the Church of Latter-day Saints,
and a joyful person.

Before Becky dies, she wants…
to serve a humanitarian mission with her husband,
and to travel to see her children.

When Becky dies, she wants…
to leave behind a legacy of love.

After Becky dies, she wants…
to see her children continue that legacy and just be good humans and make the world a better place.

In conclusion, Becky says…
“There are so many children that need homes. So many children. Especially with this drug epidemic. So many babies are being taken away.

Obviously I wouldn’t go back and change my biological children, but had I known sooner I maybe would’ve adopted in between having biological children. The need is just so great and it is the most rewarding experience that you can have. And I say that 100%. I don’t know what could be more rewarding than taking in a child that needs a home.

I encourage people to do it!”

Jerel Mair Once Again - 20181122

Jerel Mair Once Again! Jerel is a 30yo follower of Christ, soon-to-be physician, and black man. Since the initial interview two and a half years ago, Jerel has joined the workforce and is currently preparing for the MCAT to enter medical school.

During this conversation, we discuss the trap of the greasy rope, why he revels in talking to other humans, and what he learned from the deaths of his grandparents who served as his parents.

I hope you enjoy!

Jerel is…
a follower of Christ,
a student of wisdom,
and black.

Before Jerel dies, he wants…
and a clear definition with his family.

When Jerel dies, he wants…
to leave behind a legacy.

After Jerel dies, he wants…
to be with Jesus.

In conclusion, Jerel says…
"I hope that my life was an instrument of God's design and that my life left no doubt about what I was called here to do. My hope is that you will find the same calling for Christ and follow that same direction."

Camille Imbo Once Again - 20181108

Camille Imbo! Camille is a 26yo OB/GYN resident physician and suicide survivor. Between the August 2017 initial interview and this conversation, Camille has finished medical school, attempted suicide, and begun her intern year of residency. We discuss the challenge of asking for help when you know how the system works, why the two interviews feel like two separate people, and how she has grown so much in only a year.

I hope you enjoy!

Camille is…
an intern,
and growing.

Before Camille dies, she wants…
to live,
to feel like she gave it her all,
her little sisters to be self-sufficient and to have learned everything they could have learned from her,
to love and to be loved,
and to be in a space where she can provide love without the fear that she’s suddenly going to take it away.

When Camille dies, she wants…
to have lived a full life,
and to have not gotten in her own way.

After Camille dies, she wants…
to continue to be present for people that need her.

In conclusion, Camille says…
“Take each day as it comes and to really value every positive moment that happens. You don’t need to stop yourself from enjoying what you can enjoy.”

Randall Sheffield Once Again - 20181025

Randall Sheffield! Randall is a 29yo doctor of physical therapy, yogi, and friend. Since our previous conversation about 18mo ago, Randall has graduated from PT school, developed himself spiritually, and stepped into his role as a speaker and teacher. During this conversation, we discuss how Gainesville, FL kicked off his spiritual journey, why he hasn’t touched a barbell in weeks, and Randall relates a recent brush with mortality off the beach of Costa Rica.

I hope you enjoy!

Randall is…
this being,
this energetic source,
and here right now living the best life he can.

Before Randall dies, he wants…
to affect a million people,
and to go to a slackline festival out in Utah.

When Randall dies, he wants…
it to be peaceful,
and to be with his family and friends.

After Randall dies, he wants…
to be buried with the trees.

In conclusion, Randall says…
“To anyone listening that may be dealing with something that they have weighing on their heart, I would tell them to run at it head on, to go for it, to take the risk, because you never know until you try.

Yes, it may be scary, it may be frightening, there may be a whole lotta fear.

But in essence, you looking at it and you just being, 'alright yeah this is scary, but this is what I feel like I’m here to do,' and by acting out of courage or faith, whatever you want to call it, taking that initial step, the universe will back you up and will help you get you to where you need to go.”

Ashley Caron On Death - 20181011

Ashley Caron! Ashley is a 36yo Burly human, athlete, and badass mom. I met Ashley through her spouse, Michael, a previous interviewee on the podcast who is equally motivated and inspirational. During this conversation, we discuss the challenges of motherhood at 26 versus 36, the early death of her uncle, and why she wants desserts on her deathbed.

I hope you enjoy!

Ashley is...
a badass mom,
funny to a fault,
very efficient,
a hot mess express,
very passionate,
and generous.

Before Ashley dies, she wants...
her kids to feel completely empowered in life,
to go to Switzerland,
to Get Burly,
and to have one whole vacation with her and her husband.

When Ashley dies, she wants...
a peaceful environment,
and a lot of desserts.

After Ashley dies, she wants...
to be able to look down and look at this earth and be like, “ya’ll are doing great, everybody is getting along, nobody’s picking fights, nobody’s trolling anybody, and everybody’s getting burly.”
people to be thankful they knew her
people to be happy they know about Get Burly
and them to have that long-lasting fire in them.

In conclusion, Ashley says...
“If you’re listening to this and you’re a new mom, you’re a veteran mom, or you’re a woman and you have any inkling or any desire to do something completely out of your comfort zone, you have no experience you don’t even know where to start, but you’re thinking about it.
If you’re thinking about it, do it. Because you will spent the rest of your life thinking about it until one day you spent the rest of your life regretting that you didn’t do it.
It’s now or never.
Put in the work. Put in the freaking work.
If you have a why, a strong enough why, if your why is so purposeful, the how is so easy.”

John Foley On Death - 20180927

John Foley! John is a 29yo athlete, brother, and lover. I met John the first weeks of freshman year at Tufts University, over a decade ago, and we have been close friends ever since. During this conversation, we discuss his combative relationship with religion, the roast of his grandmother at her funeral, and why he is learning statistics on his commute to work.

I hope you enjoy!

John is...
a salesperson,
a family person,
a middle child of three,
a son to an amazing mom and dad,
a boyfriend to this incredible weightlifter,
a doggy daddy,
29 years old,
and engulfed in his current career.

Before John dies, he wants...
to be able to establish a new home,
and establish some kind of legacy.

When John dies, he wants...
to take that last breath and know he lived a life well-lived.

After John dies, he wants...
people around him to be happy.

In conclusion, John says...
"Something that was immediately apparent in thinking through the third prompt of ‘When I die, I want…’ is that I haven’t been thinking about my own mortality and I joke with people about a little trip to the ER or some kind of medical thing that comes up, i’m just ‘like aw no it’s okay i’m just getting older’. But that just getting older isn’t gonna stop and that is eventually going to become either you’re sick or just a limited expiration date on you.

It is a good thought exercise to go through.”

Alex Szymanski On Death - 20180913

Alex Szymanski! Alex is a 19yo leader, athlete, and Catholic. I met Alex four years ago while coaching for the high school rowing club in New Hampshire. Because of me, he performed many burpees. During this conversation, the importance of sharing experiences, we discuss why he does not fear death, and why respect is the cornerstone of leadership.

I hope you enjoy!

Alex is...
a role model,
a leader,
a good friend,
and an athlete.

Before Alex dies, she wants...
to have an impact,
to serve his community,
good relationships and a family that cares about him,
and to do all the things he wanted to do.

When Alex dies, she wants...
to take that last breath and know he lived a life well-lived.

After Alex dies, she wants...
to be remembered for the merits of his actions.

In conclusion, Alex says...
"Every decision we make is your decision and every action we take is your own.

Don't be stupid.

I do believe that is one of the better pieces of advice that I've been given. We will seldom find ourselves in a hard place."

Tasia Percevecz On Death - 20180830

Tasia Percevecz! Tasia is a 28yo athlete, coach, and believer. Tasia recently competed in the 2018 CrossFit Games and placed first with the CrossFit Mayhem Freedom team. In this conversation, we discuss the High, Low, Buffalo of the CrossFit Games, how an abusive relationship now allows her to connect with fellow humans, and her single mother’s strength as she mourned the death of her siblings.

I hope you enjoy!

Tasia is...
a believer,
an athlete,
and someone who believes that her destiny is too spread love throughout the world.

Before Tasia dies, she wants...
to continue to be happy,
to live out her purpose,
to travel,
and to start a family.

When Tasia dies, she wants...
to be at peace,
and to not be in fear.

After Tasia dies, she wants...
to be remembered for good things,
and to be remembered for spreading love and joy.

In conclusion, Tasia says...
“Just remember you're capable of anything you want to do in life and happiness can be just right around the corner cause it's found within you.

So remember whether you are in a hard time or a high time, that joy can be found in each day and it's really important to prioritize that over money and fame and all those things because love conquers all.

Joy, love, spread those things in the world as much as you can. And hopefully goodness will come from it.

20180816 - Jim Goodreau On Death

Jim Goodreau! Jim is a 71yo retired vascular surgeon, Air Force brat, and grieving father. I met Jim as a coach for my medical school program, SELECT, and I’ve been itching to sit down with him to dig through his rich and profound life experiences. During this conversation, we discuss his time as a Naval surgeon covering a huge swath of patients, his two strokes, and the immense losses of two of his sons.

I hope you enjoy!

Jim is...
an Air Force brat,
a Roman Catholic,
a physician,
a husband,
a father,
a grandfather,
and a coach.

Before Jim dies, he wants...
to see his seniors and juniors graduate and be a part of their lives,
to enjoy his grandchildren,
to somehow solve the problem of his disabled brother and disabled sister in Chicago,
to take on another class,
to the see world come to a sense of peace,
to lose some weight,
to get back to playing golf,
and to walk in the Out Of The Darkness walk.

When Jim dies, he wants...
to not be a burden to anybody in the closing moments of his life,
to go out quietly, maybe not wake up tomorrow with his kindle by the bedside,
to be remembered as someone who tried to do the right thing,
to not die in the hospital,
and to write a letter to the medical students that will dissect him.

After Jim dies, he wants...
his children and their children to live in a world where they can prosper.

In conclusion, Jim says
“There’s a quote and I’m gonna say it wrong, and it comes in three parts:

Whatever happened before, you can’t change it. You can learn from it, but don’t wallow in it. Get over it. It’s done.

Whatever we’re doing today, do the best you can do. Think it through. That’s the big thing. Just think it through and try to do the right thing. And of course we can argue about that.

And the other is: Don’t be afraid of tomorrow. It’s coming, but prepare yourself.”

20180803 - Alana Karma Once Again

Alana Karma Returns! Alana is a 22yo survivor, phoenix, and hyperdimensional immortal alien. Since our last conversation 16mo ago, she endured a horrific car accident that left her in a coma, without the use of her left side, and memory issues because of massive brain swelling. Now, just under a year since the crash, she is recovering function and learning new skills.
During this conversation, we cover the long road between the accident and now, why these events might turn her into a better teacher, and how she has learned to appreciate her left side glitches.

I hope you enjoy!

Alana is...
definitely a hyperdimensional immortal alien,
surviving everyday,
taking it one day at a time,
and a phoenix.

Before Alana dies, she wants...
to see the world evolve and make significant progress toward advancing as a community,
and to accomplish getting more skilled at silks and firespinning than she was before.

When Alana dies, she wants...
to have inspired people that knew her to be the phoenix versions of themselves,
and to gracefully walk forth into it.

After Alana dies, she wants...
people to be influenced by her story,
to have some impact on individual souls in this way,
for the earth to be revived,
and for the earth to transcend its current state.

In conclusion, Alana says…
“I just want to thank you all for doing your thing and living and existing. I truly hope that maybe today or maybe tomorrow you decide to be the better version of yourself and make the best choices and make the choices that benefit the greater whole not just yourself.
Make better choices, basically.
Feel better, do good things, give to somebody, tell somebody you love them, tell them your feels, pursue happiness, remember that today or tomorrow might be your last day. You don’t really know. And may Mother Gaia bless your experience on this earth.”

20180719 - Hunter Frost On Death

Hunter Frost! Hunter is a 20yo tree climber, country boy, and survivor. He is also my brother-in-law and we sat down for this interview 2mo after a horrific car accident in which he fractured his L1 vertebra. During this conversation we discuss the challenges of tree climbing, the shifts in a 4yr relationship that began at 14, and the harsh perspective of breaking your back in a motor vehicle accident.

I hope you enjoy!

Hunter is...
Hunter Frost,
a country boy,
a tree climber,
a ginger,
and a boyfriend.

Before Hunter dies, he wants...
a nice piece of property,
a nice little house,
to move up in work,
to have his life set,
and to travel at some point.

When Hunter dies, he wants...
to be cremated,
it to be painless,
and to die in his sleep.

After Hunter dies, he wants...
his family taken care of.

In conclusion, Hunter says
"Oh man, I don't know what to say, to be honest."

20180621 - Jen Rudolph On Death

Jen Rudolph! Jen is a 39yo journeyer, mother, and wife. During this conversation, we discuss why she tries to withhold judgment on other minivans, the peace she felt when her grandfather died in his sleep, and why the death of two cousins serves as a reminder to stay present.

I hope you enjoy!

Jen is…
on a journey,
the director of precollege opportunity programs at Cornell University,
a mom of three great kids
a wife to a great stay at home dad,
an organizer of people,
a systems thinker,
a sister,
a daughter,
and a grand daughter.

Before Jen dies, she wants…
to soak it all up,
to learn as much as she can,
to understand and embrace her journey,
to help her kids grow their confidence,
and to not worry about money.

When Jen dies, she wants...
to ultimately realize what happens when she dies,
to understand what it's all about,
and to be celebrated.

After Jen dies, she wants…
to fully embrace what comes next.

In conclusion, Jen says…
"On death, on living, on perspective in life, look at it always and sideways and figure out what makes the most sense right in that heart center.”

20180621 - John Giacalone On Death

John Giacalone! John is a 34yo husband, coach, and observer of patterns. I met John through mutual friends when I tweaked my neck after moving up to PA. Here, he is known as the Mobility Doc and the founder of the Lehigh Valley Barbell Club.

During this conversation, we discuss his vision for the future of both physical medicine and the world at large, speaking with his dying grandfather on the day of his wedding, and why he wants to be the guy that nobody knows.

I hope you enjoy!

John is…
a husband,
a coach,
and an observer of patterns.

Before John dies, he wants…
to make sure that everyone he cares about is secure for the rest of their lives.

When John dies, he wants...
people to continue as normal.

After John dies, he wants…
people he cares about to continue on.

In conclusion, John says…
“Find something that you care about so deeply that it causes you to be emotional, something that you connect with so strongly that no matter what it is, make that the thing that you do for the rest of your life”

20180607 - Ayden LeRoux On Death

Ayden LeRoux! Ayden is a 29yo artist, writer, and BRCA1+ human. I’ve known Ayden since my grade school days where we won a swing dancing competition together and we haven’t spoken for almost half a decade, this interview served a chance to catch up and see where life has taken us. During this conversation, we discuss the intertwining of science and magic to predict her future health, Land Art installations as spirituality, and how a partner changes our plans for death.

I hope you enjoy!

Ayden is...
A writer,
An artist
An assistant director of a company that studies one person's experiences
A lover
A reader
In love

Before Ayden dies, she wants...
To write another book, at least,
More humans to encounter their own humanity,
To Continue to travel,
To show some of her artwork in galleries,
To have a home,
People to think differently

When she dies, she wants...
To feel at peace,
It to be a moment of acceptance

After she dies, she wants...
All her loved ones to be healthy and happy,

In conclusion, Ayden says…
“I hope [your listeners] can be curious about the world around them.”

20180524 - Eric Garza On Death

Eric Garza is a 41yo professor, hunter, and suicide survivor. I met Eric online through primitive skills and ancestral plant groups, and his podcast A Worldview Apart caught my interest for his unique decolonization perspective. He speaks like a professor and as you’ll learn during this interview, has many diverse interests and skills from bow-making to inner tracking.

During this conversation, we discuss hunting as connection to landscape, pushing ourselves to take the shot and learn the skills, and the near death experience of his suicide attempt.

I hope you enjoy!

Eric is...
a lot of things,
a professor at a university,
a hunter,
a suicide survivor,
and a loving friend to a lot of people.

Before Eric dies, he wants...
to raise a family,
and to kill a deer with a bow he made himself.

When Eric dies, he wants...
it to be a learning experience for those he is close to.

After Eric dies, he wants...
to have a better understanding of how the universe works and what his place in that was,
to know if there's this reincarnation thing,
and people who are close to him and had a chance to know him to continue on with their lives as if they matter.

In conclusion, Eric says…
“I got a podcast, it's called a worldview apart, you can listen to it on most podcatchers. I have a website, EricGarza.info you can find ways to connect with me on social media if you go there my handle on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter is ericgarza76.

I live in the northeast, so if people are around and ever feel like looking me up and going to a workshop or something like that, always happy to meet folks and chat in person.

Online is wonderful in that it creates opportunities to connect with people who are far away, but have to face conversations are always a whole lot nicer.”

20180510 - Kristin Clague Reihman On Death

Kristin Clague Reihman! Kristin is a 47yo physician, healer, and mother. She serves as a coach for students in my medical school program, and that’s how I met her during first year. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation, which we recorded in the room she birthed her fourth child. In this interview, we discuss the death of her mother when she was eighteen, her own near death experience fraught with pain, and how her spirituality is connecting with others.

I hope you enjoy!

Kristin is…
A being of light having a human experience moving through the physical plane and figuring that whole thing out,
A human,
A mother,
A daughter,
A sister,
A friend,
A doctor
A witch doctor according to some people,
A teacher,
A healer,
A learner,
A gardener,
A singer,
An aunt, 
A cousin

Before Kristin dies, she wants…
Surf and play guitar
See all of her children unfold for as long as she can,
To travel again with her husband,
To bounce more,
And to stay in connection with her intention.

When Kristin dies, she wants…
No pain,
To be in a place that is her home at the time,
To host a giant party,
And Everyone to be cool with it,

After Kristin dies, she wants…
People to awaken to their divinity,

In conclusion, Kristin says…
“To the humans, I stuck around for fun and to co-create something really awesome. And I don’t really know what that is yet, but I really want to be part of a planet where we are all looking for the things in life that allow us to cultivate bliss. 

If you want to play in that playground with me, let’s think about that together. Let’s shine our light and do the things that we love, make choices that bring joy to ourselves and those around us because how fun would that be?”


20180426 - Michael Caron On Death

Michael Caron! Michael is a 40yo father, coach, and motivator. I met Michael while at a yoga teacher training and we have kept in touch ever since. I chose this time to interview him because of the recent birth of his son, Stadler, who was 1mo old at the time.

We dive deep into one of the hardest months of his life, with the death of a life-long friend as a result of brain cancer and the loss of his matriarch grandmother. He read the eulogy at both services and I’m sure the stories will leave an impression on you, like they did me.

Additionally during this energizing conversation, we discuss his formative years through a semester at sea, the wonder of being a new father while being present for a stepdaughter, and his philosophy on leadership and self-development.

I hope you enjoy!

Michael is…
Truly grateful and honored to be on this podcast right here in this moment,
An incredibly proud and fortunate husband, father, and son,
Someone who is compelled and acts on being the change they want to see in this world,
Ready to lead and ready to follow,
A servant leader

Before Michael dies, he wants…
Be the best husband and dad that he can be,
Create experiences for his children that enrich their lives in the most authentic way possible,
To be A great friend
To be A great uncle,
To be a great son,
To continue to honor the friendships and the family ties that he has,
To continue to be gracious and to have gratitude for all those that he comes into contact with,
To motivate, encourage, and inspire as many people as he possibly can to be the best versions of themselves

When Michael dies, he wants…
To be surrounded by his family
To be with his family

After Michael dies, he wants…
To be with any of his loved ones that has passed before him,
People to say, if they've met him or if he's impacted them in some way, that he made their life better

In conclusion, Michael says…
There are three cornerstone values and principles


20180412 - Caroline Wilson On Death

Caroline Wilson! Caroline is a 19yo college student, positive human, and survivor of a traumatic brain injury. I met Caroline while coaching crew in New Hampshire for Great Bay Rowing, and she served as a right-hand coxswain for the team. During one of our dryland practices, she fell and hit her head on cement. This caused a 2wk-long Elmer Fudd stutter and a long road to recovery. Luckily, she had her grandmother nearby, who underwent chemotherapy at the time.

In this lovely conversation, we discuss the plastic nature of memories especially when you have impaired long-term memory, how a positive reframe of a situation can change your outlook on life, and the nature of social crutches and how they help us function.

I hope you enjoy!

Caroline is…
from Durham,
a student at UNH
and a kind person.

Before Caroline dies, she wants…
to make other people happy,
to be happy herself,
and to travel.

When Caroline dies, she wants…
people to remember the positives,
and to not be sad.

After Caroline dies, she wants…
people to look back at the memories,
and people to be kind to each other.

In conclusion, Caroline says…
“Be a kind person. Go out tomorrow and make someone happy because it’ll make you feel better as a person.”

20180329 - Rashad Davis On Death

Rashad Malik Davis! Rashad is a 26yo creative, lover of stories, and story-teller. I met Rashad during my undergraduate years at Tufts University, and I’ve quietly kept tabs on him ever since. He recently published his first illustrated children’s book, Carefree Like Me!, one that I highly recommend reading as he promotes empathy, compassion, and diversity through a heartfelt story. In this conversation, we discuss the painful genesis and healing journey of his book, his deeply rooted spirituality, and the importance of representation in the stories that we tell.


I hope you enjoy!

Rashad is…
a creative,
a story-teller,
and someone who loves big.

Before Rashad dies, he wants…
his own TV show,
his own cartoon,
and his own studio.

When Rashad dies, he wants…
to have left behind something that made the world better,
and to be surrounded by love.

After Rashad dies, he wants…
the people that rely on him to be set up,
and his people to know that he’s okay.

In conclusion, Rashad says…
“I’m going to speak to the people who are at the precipice of change but are afraid to take that next step off. For all of you, who are on the edge of their dreams and are very afraid to take that leap, that next step past their comfort: I will let you know that where you are comfortable, the ground is not fertile.

What I mean by that is when we get stuck in a sense of comfort, there’s no growth. Growth comes out of us being willing to step past our comfort zone and being willing to step past what makes us complacent

I want to challenge you to take that leap past the infertile ground and to take that step into the unknown because the unknown is where you’re forced to make change and forced to adapt and forced to excel in whatever you’re doing because you don’t know what you’re doing and the process of not knowing is so important because we can’t know everything and those times when you don’t know, that’s when you grow the most. And that’s where you find the richest rewards because you’re now relying on faith.

Faith allows you to move into such beautiful opportunities that you will not have imagined in your comfort zone.

So take that next step over the grass.”