Making Friends with Death: A Guide for Your Impending Last Breath


A slightly irreverent (but always respectful) look at befriending the inevitable

We all enjoy denial, and who could blame us? Mortality salience is a strange thing! And yet. Many of us accept that we’ll die someday, and we do want to talk about it, do want to prepare, do want to get our things in order.

I believe that when the time comes, most of us care to do it right. With our chins up! Our hearts brave! If we can make friends with death—even a bit—well, we will have done ourselves (and others) a great service.

So, welcome to Making Friends With Death . . . a spunky, practical, and honest talk, book, and support system dedicated to helping us journey into the final frontier. And . . . why me? Because I’m just a mere mortal, and I paused my usual career of writing fiction and reporting to write a book and speak about the thing that I needed to face.


the book . . .

Making Friends with Death broaches the sacred and the scary with warmth, research, and humor. Interspersed with a variety of workbook-like exercises, this book will prove to be the go-to companion for anyone who would prefer to greet death as an old friend, rather than a spooky stranger. 


What Others are saying . . . 

"Pritchett’s stories and exercises were very enjoyable to read, often funny, always open and sincere, and written to put the reader at ease. Even without the guided exercises, one might enjoy simply reading her stories.  But don’t just read this book!  Use the guide, take control of the one thing we can all count on (dying) and plan your death and your life accordingly. Write your own story and you will have made a new friend." --Dr. Sanders Burstein. Read the whole thing here

“As a practicing clinical psychologist, I exhort all my patients to confront their fears and adversities head-on — rationally, courageously, with grit and determination. This is exactly what Laura Pritchett does in her much- needed self-help book, Making Friends With Death. She shares a veritable cornucopia of personal experiences, strategies, perspectives, and workshop-like exercises to demystify, intelligently prepare for, and gracefully manage this most daunting of all of life’s challenges — our passing. Written in an accessible style fused with warmth, humor, and wisdom, it should be on everyone’s got-to-read list and part of every clinician’s library.” ---- Russell Grieger, Ph.D., author of The Couples Therapy Companion, Unrelenting Drive, and a memoir, The Perfect Season.


“Wow. While I’ve read my fair share of advice and research on dying, sat with dying patients, and experienced my own mortality at a young age, nothing could’ve prepared me for this book. The emotions surrounding death – from catapulting hope to bottoming out grief – are captured in such a succinct and artful way that is at once both fearfully honest and – dare I say – entertaining. Laura Pritchett has assembled a true workbook for the one course none of us want to take. Astonishingly, I feel I may have been given the key to a good death.” ---- Laura Katers, Physician Assistant, Inpatient Pain Management, University of Washington Medical Center


“Death, that universal experience that is rarely discussed at parties, is now made accessible to all of us.  Laura Pritchett has provided us with an intricate road map for the exploration of our death so that we can get on with the business of joyful living.  This book is truly a gift to humanity.” ----Dr. Tim Flynn, Physical Therapist and International Expert in Chronic Pain Management


About Laura pritchett . . . 


Laura Pritchett is a mere mortal who will someday die. She’s also the author of five novels: Stars Go Blue, Red Lightning, The Blue Hour, Sky Bridge, and Hell's Bottom Colorado. She's the recipient of the PEN USA Award, the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, the High Plains Book Award, the Willa Award, and others. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, O Magazine, Salon, High Country News, The Millions, Publisher’s Weekly, Bloom, The Sun, and others. She holds a PhD from Purdue University and teaches and speaks around the country—as she happily prepares for her death. You can find out more at

talks and workshops . . .

Death is serious business. Getting bad news hurts. And coping with fear is no laughing matter. And yet. A little humor, and a lot of practical advice, and some serious wisdoms -- well, that can help.

In Pritchett’s spunky talks, she explores the uncertainty that precedes the final certainty. Her talks offer a compelling mix of practical how-to advice, personal narrative, and wisdoms from around the world. Based on Pritchett's own quest for a peaceful death at a time when it felt very near, her talk encapsulates all she learned over years of research, interviews, and plain-and-simple crazy questing to make some sense of our greatest quest—to die with our chins up, our hearts brave, and our souls at peace. 

Contact Pritchett directly for speaking engagements at

To watch Pritchett's TEDx talk on this subject, click here: TEDx "Making Friends with Death? Heck, ya!"

To watch a recent Channel 9 interview, click here:

upcoming yearlong book class in fishtrap, oregon


Calling all those who have ever wanted to finish a book (fiction or nonfiction) and want a writing community . . . Registration is now open for Fishtrap Yearlong Program with Laura Pritchett. You can find out more by emailing or clicking here:

Recent reviews, posts, and radio . . .  

"The Edge: Holistic Living" magazine for good winter reads:

Christine Sneed blog:   post:

KGO San Fran Radio:

WMJI Cleveland:

Peter Solomon, Philly:

Making Friends with Death/KAHI

KABC (starts 8:08 in)

Making Friends with Death/WPHM

Making Friends with Death on WIP


PBS called The Blue Hour "One of the books that will make you think about what it is to be human" - read more here

And she's recently been called one of the "Bad Ass Women Writing the West" and you can read more here

Find her on Facebook at

Follow her on Twitter at @Authorlaura 

Or Instagram at laurapritchettauthor

Nature photos by Gene Dodd. Black-and-white artwork by Leslie Patterson, and if you should need her awesome talent, contact her at