What Lisa Marie Presley Told Us About Grief

A young Lisa Marie Presley with her father Elvis

Being royalty doesn’t shield you from pain or a broken heart.

We’ve been learning that from Prince Harry. Now the King of Rock and Roll’s only daughter Lisa Marie Presley has tragically died. The cause of death was termed cardiac arrest but it’s entirely possible she died of a broken heart.

Grief takes its toll. When it is the suicide of a child it is only intensified.

“I’m so Lonely I Could Die”

In her final Instagram post, the singer-songwriter shared a screenshot of a PEOPLE essay she penned about grief. The post includes a photo of Lisa Marie sitting on a sofa as she rested her head on Keough, who died by suicide at age 27 on July 12, 2020.

Even as we grieve the untimely death of this 54-year-old singer/songwriter we can learn about the grieving process from her.

Poignantly her final two Instagram posts written 5 months before her death on Thursday were tributes to her late son Benjamin Keough who died by suicide at age 27 on July 12, 2020.   Writing it on National Grief Awareness Day she tried to help shed light on the too often misunderstood process of grief.

Hi. In honor of it being National Grief Awareness Day, I wrote an essay about Grief which was posted today on @people. I thought I’d post it here in the hopes that anyone who needs to hear all of this it helps in some way,” she wrote in the caption of the Aug. 30, 2022 post.

The post linked to an essay she wrote in People in which she spoke candidly about grief and death.

In her own words, she wrote: “Death is part of life whether we like it or not — and so is grieving. 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.”

Going into her own experience after the death of her son, she added, “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.”

Good Grief – Give It Time

If there’s any way for any of us to honor Lisa Marie Presley’s memory, it may be to never ever underestimate the experience of grief and grieving and to learn how to simply listen and offer compassion and love.

Most of us have difficulty grasping and dealing with grief- our own and others.

We are awkward.

We live in a culture that doesn’t understand grief. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. And there is no expiration date though so many of us feel as though we must adhere to a strict timeline.

Grief is not linear. There is a beginning, but there is no set end.

Grief is not a problem to be solved or resolved. It is processed it is a process to be tended to and lived through no matter how long.

No Expiration Date

“You can’t hurry love,” Dianna Ross sang and you can’t hurry grief.

Never ever tell anyone grieving to ‘move on.’ That’s not how it works. Judging someone’s experience of living with a shattering loss adds insult to injury.

The process can’t be rushed by friends or family however well-meaning they are to relieve the griever’s anguish. There is no pre-ordained timeline in the form of expression. We all love in our own unique ways so we mourn their loss in ways that cannot fit into a single mold.

Do Not Dismiss

Pain can’t be fixed.

Of course, family and friends want you to feel better so often pain is not allowed to be spoken or expressed.

But unacknowledged and unheard pain doesn’t go away.

I know this deeply. After the death of both my parents, I had been unwittingly silenced by well-meaning friends and it is, simply put devastating. The way to survive grief is by allowing pain to exist, not in trying to cover it up.

You can’t cure pain, but you can minimize their suffering which often happens when we feel dismissed or unsupported, or unacknowledged in our pain

You never move on but with loving support, you try to move forward.

Let us learn from Lisa Marie’s words and take them to heart.

Even when we are heartbroken ourselves.

Copyright (©) 2023 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved

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