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It’s been two years since the death of Lisa Marie Presley’s son, Benjamin Keough, but even with the passing of time, Presley continues to live “in the horrific reality of [grief’s] unrelenting grips.” In honor of National Grief Awareness Day, Elvis’ only daughter Lisa Marie Presley penned a raw and emotional letter about her experience with grief following the suicide of her 27-year-old son in 2020, hoping to help others who are coping with similar situations.
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In a first-person essay published by People, Presley writes, “Death is part of life whether we like it or not — and so is grieving… Grief does not stop or go away in any sense, a year, or years after the loss. Grief is something you will have to carry with you for the rest of your life, in spite of what certain people or our culture wants us to believe. You do not “get over it,” you do not “move on,” period.”
She continues to express that grief is an extremely lonely experience in which friends and family “go on with their own lives and they kind of expect for you to do the same, especially after some time has passed.” Presley passionately advocates for support groups, sharing that the withdrawal of her loved ones caused her to seek out others who have experienced a similar loss, saying, “Nothing, absolutely NOTHING takes away the pain, but finding support can sometimes help you feel a little bit less alone.”
Presley also opened up about the difficulties of losing a loved one in a “premature, unnatural, or tragic manner,” explaining, “You will become a pariah in a sense. You can feel stigmatized and perhaps judged in some way as to why the tragic loss took place. This becomes magnetized by a million if you are the parent of a child who passed. No matter how old they were. No matter the circumstances.”
She goes on to divulge that she understands this perspective because, prior to the loss of her own child, she had been on the other side of the coin as someone who would “[avoid parents she knew who lost a child] after and never bothered to follow up with them because they quite literally became a representative of my biggest fear. I also low-key judged them, and I swore I’d never do whatever it was that I felt they either did or neglected in their parental actions and choices with their child.” Now recognizing her own pitfalls after experiencing the tragic death of a child herself, Presley uses her prior misconceptions as examples in hopes that others will learn from her actions and be present with those who are experiencing loss in their lives long after the initial shock of death.
Presley acknowledges that even though she’s dealt with death and grief since she was 9 years old at the time of her father’s passing, coping with “the death of my beautiful, beautiful son? The sweetest and most incredible being that I have ever had the privilege of knowing, who made me feel so honored every single day to be his mother?” has been like nothing she’s ever had to overcome before.
Although she struggles with the loss of her beloved son daily, Presley shares that she tries her best to move forward for her other children, daughters Riley Keough, Finley Aaron Love Lockwood, and Harper Vivienne Anne Lockwood, who Keough “absolutely adored… and they him.” She continues to allude that she and her daughters lean on one another to cope with their collective grief, writing, “My and my three daughters’ lives as we knew it were completely detonated and destroyed by his death. We live in this every. Single. Day.”
She closes with a harrowing but candid message: “Just know after this day passes, for all your friends who have had a loved one die, every day is grief awareness day.”
Before you go, click here to see Elvis & Priscilla’s family in photos.
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