A “Good” Death

Oncologist and writer Ranjana Srivastava believes there is such a thing.

“Having watched countless people die, I do think that there are ways that you can make the end more peaceful for yourself and for those you love. I do think that there are better ways of dying.”

How often do you think about your own death?

Ranjana Srivastava is a cancer specialist and the author, most recently, of A Better Death: Conversations about the art of living and dying well. She sees a lot of death – and the ways that our tendency to avoid talking or thinking about death serves us badly.

In this conversation, Natasha Moore talks to Dr Srivastava about what the process of dying is actually like, what she wishes people knew about it, and what she’s seen religion do (or fail to do) for people at the end. 

Natasha also speaks with Anglican minister Andrew Katay about death at a funeral, and what it means to be “ready” to die.

“I think a good death is one when you’re ready to die. You can put that more strongly and say, it really is one of the core central purposes of being a grown-up person that your death doesn’t come as some kind of weird surprise to you. I cannot tell you the number of old people that I meet and talk with who are surprised by the reality of death.”

Read/find out more: 

Ranjana Srivastava, A Better Death: Conversations about the art of living and dying well

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Natasha Moore, “What does it mean to die well?”, ABC Religion & Ethics