Riley Keough is opening up about love and loss as she remembers brother Benjamin Keough ahead of the one-year anniversary of his death.
“I’m really consciously trying to be present, and not use anything as any kind of escape, and be cognizant of when I’m doing that,” the California native, 32, said in an interview while discussing her grieving journey.
“I’m just generally trying to be grateful for everything at the moment, trying to operate in love, and keep my heart open, and give and receive love. And not in a woo-woo way, because I definitely have hard days, and all kinds of pain and suffering and all that.”
In dealing with the tragic loss of her brother Benjamin, who died by suicide at age 27, Riley shared that finding moments to smile about in her everyday life has been a helpful process for her.
“I think when you realize that’s part of it, and your expectation isn’t to just be feeling joy, that’s been a real shift for me in finding those moments and things to smile about,” the actress told InStyle.
The actress continued, “Once I’ve started doing that, I can kind of find more joy in the little things, and smile at cups of coffee and flowers. It’s much easier for me.”
Benjamin died in July 2020, and Riley posted an Instagram in memoriam of her late younger brother at the time.
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“Mornings are the hardest. I forget you’re gone,” she wrote at the time. “I can’t cry because of the fear that I will never stop. A pain that’s new to me. You. There are no words for you. Angel is the closest I could think of. Pure light. Baby brother. Best friend. Wild man. Intellectual. Witness to my life. Twin soul. Protector. Too sensitive for this harsh world.”
The Zola star continued in the post, “I hope you give me strength to endure the giant hole you’ve left in my heart. I hope you give me strength to eat. I hope you’re cradled in love. I hope you feel my love. I hope you feel god. You are god. I can’t believe you’ve left me. Not you sweet Ben Ben. Anyone but you. I guess this is true heartbreak. I hope we meet again”
The Golden Globe nominee went on to tattoo “Benjamin Storm” on her collarbone to honor her baby brother.
Riley just recently finished training to become a death doula, someone to help others with the end-of-life process.
“I just felt like writing such a deep thank you to this community who are teaching and training people in conscious death and dying work,” Elvis Presley’s granddaughter wrote via Instagram in March.
“We are taught that it’s 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. 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.”