Author Explores Why Dying With Dignity Is So Difficult

Nov 28, 2014

Katy Butler
Credit Cristina Taccone

  Journalist Katy Butler’s father was vibrant and healthy when he had a crippling stroke in his late 70s. She chronicles her father's subsequent slide into dementia, near-blindness and misery in her book "Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death." She and her mother sought to give him a peaceful death against a battery of medical technologies, including a pacemaker. The book began as a story in the New York Times magazine and became one of the most downloaded articles in the publication's history. Part memoir, part medical history and part spiritual guide, it's also an exploration of the systems that brought us collectively to a place where such a natural death is very difficult to achieve. 


In this Web extra piece, Katy Butler talks about the last chapters of her book, which serve as reference resources for those dealing with end of life issues.