Lisa Marie Presley says son's suicide 'destroyed' her
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Lisa Marie Presley has admitted that her son’s death in 2020 ‘destroyed’ her, but she vowed that she’d keep on going for her other children afterwards.
Writing an essay in PEOPLE for National Grief Awareness Day, Presley outlined how her whole life has been tinged with grief – starting with the death of her father Elvis Presley when she was a child.
The 54-year-old singer revealed how her son Benjamin Keough’s death by suicide in 2020 at the age of 27 left her in the ‘unrelenting grips’ of grief, and described how friends and family left her alone after the initial impact of Keough’s death had subsided.
However, she resolved to continue on for her three daughters, and hopes that her words now will help others.
Please note, the essay contains difficult and potentially triggering subjects for some readers, particularly discussion of loss and suicide.
Describing grief as ‘something you will have to carry with you for the rest of your life’, Presley wrote: “You do not ‘get over it,’ you do not ‘move on,’ period.”
She continued: “Despite people coming in the heat of the moment to be there for you right after the loss takes place, they soon disappear and go on with their own lives and they kind of expect for you to do the same, especially after some time has passed.
“This includes 'family' as well.
“If you're incredibly lucky, less than a handful will remain in contact with you after the first month or so. Unfortunately, that is a cold hard truth for most.
“So, if you know someone who lost a loved one, regardless of how long it's been, please call them to see how they are doing.
“Go visit them, they will really really appreciate it, more than you know…”
Presley went on to claim that if the loss is ‘premature, unnatural, or tragic’, sufferers can become a ‘pariah’.
She added: “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.
“I already battle with and beat myself up tirelessly and chronically, blaming myself every single day and that's hard enough to now live with, but others will judge and blame you too, even secretly or behind your back which is even more cruel and painful on top of everything else.
“This is where finding others who have experienced a similar loss can be the only way to go. Support groups that have your specific kind of loss in common. I go to them, and I hold them for other bereaved parents at my home.
“Nothing, absolutely NOTHING takes away the pain, but finding support can sometimes help you feel a little bit less alone.
“Your old ‘friends’ and even your family can and will run for the hills.”
Despite her horrific loss, Presley has vowed to carry on regardless. Still, for any parent the death of a child is hard to comprehend.
Presley wrote: “Obviously, no parent chooses this road, and thankfully not all parents will have to become a victim to it – and I do mean VICTIM here.
“I used to hate that word. Now I know why.
“I've dealt with death, grief and loss since the age of nine years old. I've had more than anyone's fair share of it in my lifetime and somehow, I've made it this far.
“But this one, 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? Who was so much like his grandfather on so many levels that he actually scared me? Which made me worry about him even more than I naturally would have?
“No. Just no ... no no no no ...
“It's a real choice to keep going, one that I have to make every single day and one that is constantly challenging to say the least ... But I keep going for my girls.
“I keep going because my son made it very clear in his final moments that taking care of his little sisters and looking out for them were on the forefront of his concerns and his mind.
“He absolutely adored them and they him. 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 concluded: “I'm saying this, in the hopes that it helps someone who is suffering as I and my children suffer.
“In the hopes that maybe today or as soon as possible, you can reach out to someone who is grieving someone they loved and lost.
“Whether they lost a child, a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a fiancé, anyone.
“Ask them how they're doing, ask them to talk about their person, yes! We DO want to talk about them.
“That's how we keep them alive in our hearts, that's how they don't get forgotten, that is what keeps us alive as well.
“And do me a favor, don't tell them that ‘you can't imagine’ their pain.
“The truth is, oh yes you can, you just don't want to.”
The essay ended with a link to Grief.com, where support and advice can be found on the issue.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123