One of Lisa Marie Presley‘s last conversations is haunting to look back on now…
For this week’s People cover story, several of the 54-year-old friend’s opened up about her devastating loss and what some of her last moments were like. One was her dear friend David Kessler, an author and grief expert whom she’d grown close to after the death of her 27-year-old son Benjamin Keough in 2020. The pair were together on the night of January 8th following a celebration at Graceland for her father Elvis Presley‘s 88th birthday.
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After the party, during which she delivered a heartfelt speech, Lisa Marie took David to the property’s Meditation Garden, where Elvis and Ben are buried. It’s where she will also be laid to rest — something she brought up during the ominous conversation. David recalled on Tuesday:
“We sat there mostly in silence by Ben’s grave. She showed me where she’d be buried someday, right across from her father’s grave. I said, ‘Not for a long time,’ and she was like, ‘Nope, I got a lot to do still.’ She was very excited about what was coming up. She had such a challenging first and second act of life, and she was about to take on this third act that was so much about helping people.”
Whoa. Life is so fragile. You just never know when someone’s time has come. Five days after that conversation, Lisa Marie’s life was cut short when she suffered cardiac arrest in her Calabasas, California home, dying in the hospital on Thursday. So, so sad… Made even more tragic since she was so excited about what was to come…
Lisa Marie stayed out of the public eye for quite some time following the loss of her son, but was just beginning to step back out into the spotlight. In August, she opened up about her ongoing grief, writing in an essay for People:
“Grief is something you will have to carry with you for the rest of your life. You do not ‘get over it,’ you do not ‘move on,’ period.”
She began to reemerge publicly in the last few months to promote Elvis, including appearing at the Golden Globes alongside the star, Austin Butler, just days before her death. Her longtime friend, Guns N’ Roses star Axl Rose, told the outlet:
“She was very nervous at first of how the public would react to the film because it was so important to her to do right by her father.”
But in her spare time, she was also busy helping others work through some of the pain she had experienced in her own life. According to Kessler, she began co-leading grief support groups with him, often at her home. He shared:
“She had x-ray vision for other people’s pain. When you were in her gaze, no one else existed. She was focused on you. She talked about turning her pain into purpose.”
What an incredible thing for her to do!
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One of her most recent trips to Graceland included a lengthy sit-down with a grieving mother, he added:
“She sat down with [a newly bereaved mother] for two to three hours and told her what to expect on this journey. I just sat there watching how far she had come in her own pain. Her heart was still broken around Ben, but her heart was also healing around Ben.”
Whether it was coping with grief, overcoming numerous battles with addiction, or dealing with several divorces throughout her life, she had survived so much. No matter what hardships she was facing, she always looked out for her loved ones, including putting her kids first even when she was shattered by the loss of her son. David noted:
“With Riley and her [younger] girls, she was a lioness. It was amazing to see her with her family.”
So heartbreaking that she was taken so soon from her children’s lives. Her twins, Harper and Finley Lockwood, are just 14 and Riley is only 33. Oof. All three of Lisa Marie’s daughters have now inherited Graceland via a trust. Plans are set for a public memorial service at the Memphis, Tennessee estate on Sunday morning. Continuing to mourn her life, Axl told the outlet he hopes she is in a better place now, saying:
“Who knows what comes after life, but I’d like to think they’re together, Lisa Marie, Ben and her father, in some way. Lisa, and the most important men in her life, happy together.”
Sending our love to all of Lisa Marie’s family and friends as they process this sad turn of events. She really did have so much to look forward to.
[Image via Daniel Tanner/WENN & Lisa Marie Presley/Instagram]