Riley Keough becomes a ‘death doula’ eight months after suicide of brother Benjamin

Daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and granddaughter of Elvis wrote she was previously ‘very ill-prepared’ for death

Benjamin Keough death: Son of Lisa Marie Presley and grandson of Elvis dies, aged 27

Riley Keough has completed her training as a “death doula”, eight months after the suicide of her brother Benjamin.

The American Honey actor, who is the daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and the granddaughter of Elvis Presley, announced on Instagram that the role had helped her become more prepared for the inevitable.

“I just felt like writing such a deep thank you to this community who are teaching and training people in conscious dying and death work,” Keough wrote. “We are taught that it’s a morbid subject to talk about. Or we’re so afraid of it that we’re unable to talk about it... then, of course, it happens to us, and we are very ill-prepared.”

A death doula, or a death midwife, is someone who specialises in end-of-life care.

Keough continued: “I think it’s so important to be educated on conscious dying and death the way we educate ourselves on birth and conscious birthing. We prepare ourselves so rigorously for the entrance and have no preparation for our exit. So I’m so grateful for this community and to be able to contribute what I can.”

Kough also shared a quote by Rumi that read: “Be a lamp or a lifeboat or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”

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Keough’s brother Benjamin, 27, died by suicide in July 2020, with the actor writing in a statement that he was “too sensitive for this harsh world”.

In October, Lisa Marie Presley memorialised her late son on what would have been his 28th birthday.

“The depth of the pain is suffocating and bottomless without you every moment of every day,” Presley wrote on Instagram. “I will never be the same. Please wait for me my love, and hold my hand while I stay to continue to protect and raise your little sisters and to be here for Riley. I know you would want that.”

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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