Having built a career in hospice care, Hajime Issan Koyama, known simply as Issan, has many experiences with death, and with bringing comfort to people in their final moments.
He made his way into a caregiving role after he found himself at the epicenter of the 1980s AIDS epidemic in New York City, where he witnessed many of his friends and colleagues die.
But the experiences that laid the foundation for his concept of death and dying go back to his childhood growing up in Japan, and his favorite grandmother.
He came to StoryCorps July of 2015 with his husband, Paul Boos, to share those memories.
Paul Boos and Hajime Issan Koyama at their StoryCorps interview in New York City on July 17, 2015. By Mitra Bonshahi for StoryCorps.
Top Photo: Hajime Issan Koyama at his StoryCorps interview in New York City on July 17, 2015. By Mitra Bonshahi for StoryCorps.
Originally aired May 13, on NPR’s Morning Edition.