Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters, please call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to connect with a trained counselor or visit the Lifeline site.
Lisa Marie Presley loved being a mother to her “cubs.”
That’s how the singer-songwriter who died Thursday at the age of 54 referred to her four children, daughters Riley, Finley and Harper, and her son, Benjamin, in a 2019 post on her verified Instagram account.
Her love for her children was palpable. In a 2012 interview with The Guardian, Presley noted that “having all my children” was the happiest time in her life behind growing up at Graceland, the only child of superstar Elvis Presley.
Which is why she said she felt shattered when Benjamin died by suicide in 2020 at the age of 27.
Presley’s last post in August 2022 directed her followers to an essay she had written for National Grief Awareness Day that was published by People magazine “in the hopes that anyone who needs to hear all of this it helps in some way.”
In the essay, Presley wrote that she had “been living in the horrific reality of [grief’s] unrelenting grips since my son’s death two years ago” and went on to share her thoughts about grief and loss.
“Death is part of life whether we like it or not — and so is grieving,” she wrote. “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,” Presley added. “You do not ‘get over it,’ you do not ‘move on,’ period.”
Benjamin was her son with her first husband, musician Danny Keough, who is also the father of their daughter, Riley, 33, a successful actress.
Twins Finley and Harper, 14, are by Presley’s last husband, musician and producer Michael Lockwood, whom she divorced in 2016.
“I keep going for my girls,” Presley wrote in her essay.
“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 wrote. “My and my three daughters’ lives as we knew it were completely detonated and destroyed by his death. We live in this every. Single. Day.”
Presley leaned into her relationship with her daughters, writing in a post in honor of her February 1 birthday last year, “Like everyday, I couldn’t have made it through without these three by my side,” featuring a photo of them together.
Her beloved son was never far from her thoughts, however.
In July 2022, she shared a photo of matching tattoos she and Benjamin had on their feet.
“Several years ago, on Mother’s Day, my son and I got these matching tattoos on our feet. It’s a Celtic eternity knot. Symbolizing that we will be connected eternally,” the caption on her Instagram photo read. “We carefully picked it to represent our eternal love and our eternal bond.”
Presley told The Guardian in 2012 that she most feared death. After she was gone, Presley added, she wished to be remembered, “As a good mum mostly, and a pretty OK singer-songwriter.”