New HBO Documentary to Feature a San Antonio Family's Novel Approach to Death


  • Courtesy of HBO

Later this month, the documentary Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America will premiere on HBO. The film chronicles evolving attitudes toward death by following the end of life journeys of six different people across the country, including San Antonio man Guadalupe Cuevas.

Instead of waiting to hold a memorial service after his death, Cuevas and his family planned a “living wake” so that the family could come together and celebrate his life with him in attendance. At a gathering featuring plenty of food and music, Cuevas had the unique opportunity to hear tributes from his family that would normally be presented as eulogies. Cuevas’ son Guadalupe Jr. said that their choice to memorialize his father a bit early came out of the desire to make sure that “the guy who’s leaving knows he’s loved.” Cuevas succumbed to terminal cancer on July 7, 2018 at the age of 80.

The documentary also features Barbara Jean, an Austin woman dying of pancreatic cancer who planned a green burial at the Eloise Woods Natural Burial Park in Cedar Creek, Texas, and Leila Johnson, who travelled to the Gulf of Mexico to lay her father’s ashes to rest in a memorial coral reef.

Alternate Endings debuts exclusively on HBO on August 14.

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