Riley Keough is continuing to open up about the loss of her younger brother Benjamin Keough a year after his death. In a candid interview with The New York Times, the Zola actress, 32, described "a year of feeling like I was thrown into the ocean and couldn’t swim" after Benjamin died by suicide in July 2020 at the age of 27.
Opening up about her grief in the months that followed her brother's death, Keough revealed that for "the first four or five months," she "couldn't get out of bed." Benjamin passed away in Calabasas, California, with an autopsy report finding that he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The autopsy also noted that the 27-year-old had a history of depression and had attempted suicide five to six months before his death. Keough said her brother's passing left her "totally debilitated" and she "couldn't talk for two weeks."
Throughout the past year, Keough said she has relied on her friends and family as she continues to navigate through her grief. Keough, who is the daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and granddaughter of Elvis Presley, said she made sure she didn’t avoid her grief, as she "wanted to make sure that I was feeling everything and I wasn't running from anything." The actress added that becoming a death doula, or a person who assists in the dying process, is "really what's helped me, being able to put myself in a position of service. If I can help other people, maybe I can find some way to help myself." Keough shared in March of this year finished training to become a death doula, writing that she believes "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."
Now, a year after her brother's tragic loss, Keough admitted that she still finds it difficult to cope. She said that "it's very complicated for our minds to put that somewhere because it’s so outrageous. If I'm going through a breakup, I know what to do with that and where to file it in my mind, but suicide of your brother? Where do you put that? How does that integrate? It just doesn't." She said Benjamin's death gave her a new outlook on life, explaining that "there's this sense of the fragility of life and how every moment matters to me now."
If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.