Grief and Bereavement
March 6, 2019

What’s New in Death and Dying?

A graphic with a quote from Katy Butler, saying she wants to "de-medicalize modern death and return a sense of the sacred to it."

Being Mortal. Final Gifts. End Game. How We Die. The Needs of the Dying. The Conversation. Knocking on Heaven’s Door. Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Books, articles—even an Oscar-nominated documentary—abound about how we live and how we die, about dying well, about having conversations about dying, about the people who care for the dying and about our goals near the end of life.

VITAS Healthcare has been caring for terminally ill patients and their families for 40 years, and the proliferation of media on the end of life in the last decade is heartening.

Achieving a Good Death

We know—and have been teaching others, from patients and families to physicians, insurance companies and the healthcare industry—that death is a part of life, that we all deserve quality of life until we die and that, yes, there is such a thing as a good death.

We welcome these authors and filmmakers, and the contributions they are making to popular culture, the interviews and stories that result, the social media and conversations around kitchen tables that are inspired by this new interest in death and dying.

The Art of Dying Well

The latest entry is The Art of Dying Well by Katy Butler, which was published February 19, 2019. In 2013, the author wrote Knocking on Heaven’s Door. She is a journalist, a speaker on end-of-life topics and a daughter who cared for both her aging parents. Both books are inspiring how-to’s on aging, navigating healthcare and living until you die.

VITAS applauds books like Butler's and the many creative talents who are helping people look at death and dying in new ways. We hope their followers are legion and that the result is thoughtful advance care planning and timely hospice enrollment for anyone who is eligible.

Read what VITAS has been saying for 40 years at

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