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Lisa Marie Presley has shared a raw essay about the "horrific reality" of living with her son's death in the hope of helping others grieving the loss of a loved one.
The daughter of music legend Elvis Presley wrote a guest essay for People on National Grief Awareness Day on Tuesday in which she described how she was "destroyed" by the loss of her son, Benjamin Keough, who died by suicide at 27 in 2020.
"Death is part of life whether we like it or not — and so is grieving," wrote Presley, 54. "There is so much to learn and understand on the subject, but here’s what I know so far: One is that 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."
Presley also described grief as "incredibly lonely," noting how many friends and family move on with their lives.
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Presley also wrote bluntly about how a person can become "a pariah in a sense" and "stigmatized" if the loss of the loved one was "premature, unnatural or tragic," as in the case with her son's suicide.
"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," she wrote.
However, she admitted that she has faded out of the lives of others herself after they faced a similar situation.
"I can recall a couple of times in my life where I knew parents who lost their child and while I could be there for them when it happened, I avoided them after and never bothered to follow up with them because they quite literally became a representative of my biggest fear," she wrote. "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."
Presley also has three daughters, including actress Riley Keough, 33, one of her two children along with Benjamin with ex-husband Danny Keough. She shares twin 13-year-old daughters, Finley and Harper Lockwood, with ex-husband Michael Lockwood.
"I keep going for my girls," she wrote. "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."
She also urged others to use support groups of people who have experienced similar loss to help "feel a little bit less alone."
Presley wrote on Instagram in May that she will "forever be mourning" the loss of her son.
She also marked the two-year anniversary of her son's death in July with a poignant Instagram post showing matching tattoos of Celtic eternity knots on their feet.
"We carefully picked it to represent our eternal love and our eternal bond," she wrote.