Big Books & Bold Ideas with Kerri Miller

Alua Arthur says facing death is the key to living well

side by side of a woman and a book
Alua Arthur is a death doula — but don't wrinkle your nose. In her new book, "Briefly Perfectly Human," she says being mindful of mortality can make us more joyful, connected and present.
Photo courtesy Yeofi Andoh, book cover courtesy Harper Collins

What do you imagine your death will look like?

It’s not a morbid or depressing question to Alua Arthur. She’s a death doula, and she firmly believes that giving thought to that question is the key to living a meaningful life.

Arthur herself thinks about dying a lot. As she tells Kerri Miller on this week’s Big Books and Bold Ideas, she has detailed plans for what she’d like her deathbed to be like. But more importantly, she says living with an awareness of mortality helps her live with intention.

“Every day that I live is a day that I can get closer to the life that I actually want,” she says.

Arthur’s new book, “Briefly Perfectly Human” is both memoir and a surprisingly joyful treatise on why facing mortality is the key to living well. Don’t miss this wise, tender and inspiring conversation.


  • Alua Arthur is a recovering attorney and the founder of Going With Grace, a death doula training and end-of-life planning organization. Her new book is “Briefly Perfectly Human.”

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