The VSED Handbook

Hi all. I’m back with another new book. I’ve actually been in a good writing rhythm the past few months, despite falling while trail running and breaking my wrist at the end of February. Here’s a PSA (public service announcement) that you probably don’t need: Maybe don’t trail run down a rocky mountain trail after a fresh snowfall… It was beautiful–up until the moment I slipped and fell onto my dominant hand. Doh!

Fortunately, my children taught me to use the Dictate function on Word, and here I am: a new book (The VSED Handbook) out and another nearly done (Ends of the Earth, book three of the Galaxy Girl trilogy). If you subscribed to my Patreon (hint, hint), you could read the first chapter of Ends of the Earth right now. Just saying. 😉

Anyway, the organization I work with, VSED Resources Northwest, has a blog post about the new book. Rather than recreate the wheel, I thought I would re-blog it here. Let me know if you have any questions about VSED or the book. I’m happy to pass along any information or help that I can.

Happy spring, and happy reading.


Novelist Kate Christie, whose mother Jane used VSED in early 2020 to escape the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, has released a new book, The VSED Handbook: A Practical Guide to Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking. A combination instructional manual/personal memoir, The VSED Handbook provides detailed instructions for planning and carrying out VSED while offering glimpses into one family’s experiences with the process. Nancy Simmers, co-founder and current Coordinator of VSED Resources Northwest, wrote the foreword for the book, which she describes as “a worthy guidebook for contemplating your own end-of-life choices.”

Christie’s impulse for writing the book was, as she notes in the introduction, “to provide an actionable model for how to go about planning for and carrying out VSED, with the aim of achieving the type of peaceful passing my mother did.” In just under 85 pages, Christie provides a step-by-step guide to preparing for VSED, an overview of what the process itself entails, and information about the legality of hastening one’s own death. She supplements the process-oriented sections of the book with relevant examples from her family’s experience, highlighting tips that she would have found useful while helping her mother Jane prepare for and carry out VSED. In addition, the book’s appendixes offer a VSED timeline, a sample VSED statement, a medical values worksheet, and a list of additional resources.

While VSED is a widely available end-of-life choice, it remains relatively unknown and can seem daunting for those just learning about the process. This book seeks to change that. Through examples drawn from her family’s experience, Christie seeks to demystify VSED. With an emphasis on the importance of planning, palliative care (including medication to ease the dying process), and a broad support network, Christie describes the stages of VSED in clear, concise language, and highlights the challenges and unexpected gifts of accompanying her dying mother on her final journey.

Written with Jane’s encouragement, The VSED Handbook—available in e-book and paperback—offers a way out for those who are suffering from a terminal condition but do not qualify for medical aid in dying (MAID), either due to geographical location or because their condition doesn’t meet the strict requirements for MAID. As Christie notes, a peaceful death free of suffering like the one her mother achieved with VSED is possible—but only with planning, perseverance, and the support of a trusted team.

To order your copy of The VSED Handbook, visit the VRNW Reading List page or buy directly from Amazon.

About Kate Christie

I'm a lesbian fiction author currently residing in the Pacific Northwest. To read excerpts and more of my novels, visit
This entry was posted in Illness, Nonfiction, VSED and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The VSED Handbook

  1. lily says:


    Congratulations on this book on VSED! I want a copy, and will order it soon. I’m leading a panel discussion on VSED–4/21–sponsored by my partner, The Peaceful Presence Project. Nancy is one of the panelists. Small (tiny!) world!

    If you want to know what we are up to, or are interested in coming:

    I’d like to offer the book as a resource at the end of the panel discussion. If you are open to that, would you permit me to use a photo of the cover along with a link to where to purchase it? Are there outlets other than Amazon? If so that would be great–if not, that’s okay, too.

    I just downloaded the photo of book cover from your post and can use that, but if you’d like to send me a higher resolution version, that’s good too.

    Again, big congrats on this amazing project. It’s a big deal!

    Warmly, Lily

    Lily Myers Kaplan Director, Spirit of Resh Foundation PO Box 1119 Jacksonville, OR 97530 510.390.1098

    To learn about personal retreats for grief, loss, or spiritual growth visit:

    “There is a crack, a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen


    • Hi Lily. Wow, tiny world indeed! I knew about the Peaceful Presence panel discussion; I just didn’t realize your involvement. Of course, you are more than welcome to mention the book. I would appreciate it very much! I’ll email you a higher resolution copy of the cover. And yes, the book is available elsewhere. The e-book is live on Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and other digital retailers, while the paperback has been enrolled in Amazon’s Expanded Distribution channel, so it will soon be available for bookstores and libraries to order (if it isn’t already). As a self-publisher, however, I receive a higher royalty from paperback books sold on, so I prefer readers purchase copies there. Amazon gets the same amount of $ from self-published paperback book sales either way, but bookstores (who often refuse to keep titles from self-published and minority authors on their shelves) receive a chunk of the indie author’s profit, a fact of which I think most people are unaware. Thanks again for reaching out, and good luck on April 21! – Kate

  2. ranger says:

    How great! One of my friends is teaching a philosophy of death course soon. I’m going to recommend this to her.

    • Awesome! Thanks, Ranger. How’s spring treating you? We’re finally warming up here.

      • ranger says:

        Spring is mostly over here in Houston, but it’s one of our last beautiful days. It was the perfect day to read your book, which I did while waiting to be called/dismissed from jury duty. Just posted my goodreads review! Hugs to you and the fam.

      • Hi! Thanks for the review on Goodreads. Means a lot. And yes, I wish for you that this had been a better known option for your family, too. Sometimes just knowing there is an alternative to memory care can bring relief, even if your loved one doesn’t choose it. Hugs to you as well.

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