Welcome to “Matters of Life and Death,” a podcast that explores death and how it fits into our lives.

Besides being born, dying the most life-changing thing that happens to us. And I want to understand it. It’s this intimate, ultimate mystery that none of us can really grasp, by virtue of the fact that we’re still alive. But how close can we get? That’s what I want to figure out.

To do so, I spoke to a couple people who have experience at different ends of death: a hospice nurse and someone who’s had a near-death experience. My hope is, by talking to them and ultimately others, to get an idea of how to have a good death, to learn how best to talk about and prepare for this thing we all have in common—dying.

These episodes represent the first two interviews of a series examining just that. In each case, I recorded phone interviews, and added some narrative context. Music courtesy Free Music Archive, used under Creative Commons licensing.
freemusicarchive.org/music/The_Ligh…s_morning_edit ).

I’m starting with someone who’s around death a lot, a hospice nurse named Carmel Brown.

What happens after we die? It’s a question around which religions have been formed, one that plagues a lot of people, or at least it plagues me. But who could I ask?

Andrea Curewitz is the director of the Greater Boston International Association for Near-Death Studies, or Boston IANDS. It’s a group for people who’ve had near-death experiences, or who want to learn more from people who have.

Or, as they explain it in their mission statement, their goal is to “provide a forum for experiencers and scientists to converge and explore evidence of the afterlife and discuss how to integrate the knowledge to live more consciously.”

I contacted Andrea because, frankly, the trouble with trying to learn anything about death is that most people who have experienced it aren’t alive to talk about it.