Lorena Alvarez Ruiz: Conversations on Death
Lorena Alvarez Ruiz has been interested in topics on death and the afterlife since she was a kid; an interest that she inherited from her dad. As she grew up, she explored this passion by volunteering in hospices and nursing homes. She knew that she eventually wanted to work in death education, to help break down the discomfort that generally comes with topics surrounding death.
About a year and a half ago, a friend of Lorena’s passed away. Rather than turn her from the subject, it served to water Lorena’s curiosity on death. Her friend was young when he passed, which made Lorena realize that she needed to take hold of her interests, and do what she’d been considering for years. Following the advice from a friend, in April 2020, Lorena created Conversations on Death, a podcast that explores death, and the subjects that surround it.
Launching her podcast during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic gave Lorena more time to devote to her podcast.
“Being home definitely helped things,” she recalled.
As her podcast grew, and she interviewed more people, Lorena discovered just how diverse the death-care community is. She was excited to find a variety of interesting businesses, from virtual living funerals, to a death-themed card game.
By hosting her podcast, Lorena is able to satisfy her curiosity, as well as allow her to connect with new people. In addition, it fulfills the podcast’s mission: to make the topic of death more relatable and less stressful. Lorena is able to accomplish this with her laid back attitude, giving the podcast a feeling that resembles a roundtable discussion instead of an interview. This makes guests feel comfortable enough to be their true selves, and let their personality shine. Creating such a personable podcast grants the podcast its authenticity, and adds color to its episodes. It also lets them talk about death and its surrounding topics in a more lighthearted way.
Lorena hopes to be a part of what changes the stigma around death. “I would love for it to be less of a taboo,” she said. “Many of the people who I reach out to are already in this space, but I want to reach people outside of the space. I want to bring everyone into this space.”
Lorena's suggested literature:
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End Book by Atul Gawande
Holding Space: On Loving, Dying, and Letting Go Book by Amy Wright Glenn
A Beginner's Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death Book by BJ Miller and Shoshana Berger
Knocking On Heaven’s Door by Katy Butler
How to get in touch with Lorena:
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/conversationsondeath/