This review compares and contrasts the major reoccurring themes in two sources of research literature – social studies of dying and human suffering. The purpose of such a comparison is to employ the major insights of each field as a useful method of critically evaluating the insights of the other. Critical exchanges and comparisons between the research area of dying studies and on human suffering have been modest to date. This article will explain that the experience of dying benefits from being situated and analysed in a broader context of cultural experience, as suggested by the theory and study of human suffering. Conversely, the theory and methods involved in studies of human suffering can gain from a mortal view of vulnerability, grief, social ambiguity and identity changes characteristic of experiences at the end of life.