Riley Keough went through one of the hardest losses last July when her younger brother, Benjamin Keough, died by suicide after struggling with depression and addiction. Yet she found a beautiful way to deal with her grief and help others along the way with training in a specialty that many people probably don’t know exists: death doula. That might sound a little too new-age for some, but listen to the words Riley shared on Instagram — it actually sounds like a beautiful way to cope with death and it makes a lot of sense.
“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. We are taught that its a morbid subject to talk about,” she wrote about completing her death doula training from The Art of Death Midwifery course. “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 nor her mom, Lisa Marie Presley, has been shy about sharing how shocking his suicide was. Riley told her social media followers after his death that “mornings are the hardest” to deal with and Benjamin’s passing has been “true heartbreak” for her. So finding a way to channel that emotion and preparing others for the unexpected is a wonderful way to give back.
“I think it’s so important to be educated on conscious dying and death the way we educate ourselves on birth and conscious birthing,” she explained in her death doula post. “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.” The actress makes a great point about all of us being educated on bringing life into the world, which brings us joy, but we ignore the end-of-life stage that can brings us sadness.
The term death doula might take a little getting used to, but Riley is on to something that often gets ignored — and that’s our mental health.
Before you go, click here to see celebrities who have struggled with drug or alcohol addiction.