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Riley Keough Reflects on ‘Hard Days’ 1 Year After Brother Benjamin Keough’s Death

In memoriam. Riley Keough opened up about her grieving journey ahead of the anniversary of her brother Benjamin Keough’s death.

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“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 actress, 32, told InStyle on Tuesday, June 29. “[I’m] 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.”

Riley Keough Reflects on ‘Hard Days’ a Year After Brother Benjamin Keough’s Death
Riley Keough attends a special screening of A24’s “ZOLA” in Los Angeles on June 29, 2021. Blair Raughley/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

The California native noted that her “expectation isn’t to just be feeling joy,” adding, “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. … That’s been a real shift for me in finding those moments and things to smile about.”

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Benjamin died by suicide in July 2020 at age 27. Riley posted a touching tribute to her late brother days later in an Instagram post.

“Mornings are the hardest. I forget you’re gone,” the Zola star 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. I hope you give me strength to endure the giant hole you’ve left in my heart. I hope you give me the 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.”

Elvis Presley‘s granddaughter went on to tattoo “Benjamin Storm” on her collarbone in her younger sibling’s honor.

Three months later, on what would have been the singer’s 28th birthday, Riley honored the “beautiful angel” via Instagram with throwback photos.

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The Golden Globe nominee plans to become a death doula, which is a professional who helps people at the ends of their lives and provides support to families who are coping with the losses of their loved ones. Riley finished her training in March.

Riley Keough Reflects on ‘Hard Days’ a Year After Brother Benjamin Keough’s Death
Riley and Benjamin Keough. Courtesy of Riley Keough/Instagram

“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,” the American Honey star wrote via Instagram at the time. “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.”

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