Riley Keough revealed that she is working toward becoming a death doula eight months after her brother, Benjamin Keough, died by suicide.
“Today I finished my Death Doula training, on The Art of Death Midwifery training course by @sacred_crossings so I guess I’m an almost certified death doula now hehe,” the Golden Globe nominee, 31, wrote via Instagram on Sunday, March 21. “And 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.”
Death doulas are professionals who help people at the ends of their lives, just like birth doulas who help at the beginning of life. They also provide support to families who are coping with the losses of their loved ones.
“We are taught that its a morbid subject to talk about. Or were 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,” Riley continued in her Instagram post. “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.”
The Runaways star added that she feels “so grateful for this community and to be able to contribute what I can.”
Riley dealt with a loss of her own in July 2020 when Benjamin fired a shotgun into his mouth at their mother Lisa Marie Presley’s Los Angeles home. He was 27.
Lisa Marie’s rep told Us Weekly at the time that she was “entirely heartbroken, inconsolable and beyond devastated but trying to stay strong” for Riley and the singer’s twin daughters, Finley and Harper, now 12. “She adored that boy. He was the love of her life,” the rep added.
After Benjamin was laid to rest in the Meditation Garden of his late grandfather Elvis Presley’s iconic Graceland estate in October 2020, Lisa Marie, 53, spoke out for the first time about her only son’s death.
“My beautiful beautiful angel, I worshipped the ground you walked on, on this earth and now in Heaven. My heart and soul went with you,” she wrote via Instagram later that month on what would have been Benjamin’s 28th birthday. “The depth of the pain is suffocating and bottomless without you every moment of every day. 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. Happy Birthday my sweet sweet Boy. You were much too good for this world.”
Riley, for her part, has also shared several tributes to her brother via social media in addition to getting his name tattooed on her collarbone weeks after his death.
Lisa Marie had Riley and Benjamin with ex-husband Danny Keough and coparents Finley and Harper with estranged husband Michael Lockwood.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).