From the archives: Sunita Puri on living — and dying — well

"That Good Night" by Sunita Puri
"That Good Night" by Sunita Puri
Photo courtesy of David Zaughn | cover courtesy of Penguin Random House

Even though Americans are living longer — the share of the U.S. population 65 and older has more than tripled over the last century — we are still profoundly uncomfortable with dying. In fact, the end of life is so medicalized, death is often viewed as a failure, rather than accepted as a fundamental stage of life.

Sunita Puri wants to change that. Her book, "That Good Night: Life and Medicine in the Eleventh Hour," is a masterful memoir of helping people to die — and live — well. It chronicles her journey of becoming a palliative care doctor near the end of her medical school training after she realized medicine had little to say about patients' suffering and mortality.

It mirrors thoughts shared by author and sixth-generation funeral director Caleb Wilde in his new book, “All the Ways Our Dead Still Speak.” Wilde’s tender and personal reflections on what it’s like to grieve loved ones and grapple with death will be the conversation on this Friday’s installment of Big Books and Bold Ideas.

Until then, enjoy this throwback from 2019 with Puri about how we need to rethink death so we can truly live well.

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  • Sunita Puri is a practicing palliative medicine physician and the author of “That Good Night.”

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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