I have been so fortunate to have Lisa Marie as a friend. Her bold, authentic personality made her a loyal daughter and devoted mother. The loss of her son inspired her to work toward becoming an advocate for those who are struggling with the heartbreak of grief

I met Lisa Marie after her son Ben died. She wanted to talk to me, not because I was a grief expert, but because I was someone who also had a child die. It became an improbable friendship but that is how grief works. Grief is one of those worlds where strangers can become instant friends.

I first visited Graceland with her when she was laying her son to rest across from her father Elvis. Our friendship continued to grow from there. Last weekend, she asked me to go with her to Memphis for her father’s 88th birthday celebration. She had countless invites for the weekend, but for her, there were only three important ones: being at her father’s birthday celebration, spending time at her son and father’s grave after the tours left Graceland, and meeting with a recently bereaved mother. They had known each other in their childhood and now were reunited in grief.

I watched how Lisa Marie tenderly talked to this heartbroken mother about what to expect in grief. That’s what interested her most these days, helping others in grief.

She had her challenges but always faced them. She was in my grief educator program and many who met her and chatted with her on Zoom had no idea who she was. To them, she was a mother, whose son had died and wanted to turn her pain into purpose. She also co-led grief groups with me for the past two years on Sundays at her home for other bereaved parents. We were planning on doing a podcast about grief together. Her family, love for music, maintaining her father’s legacy, and helping others became her priorities. Those were the things that mattered to her these days.

Last weekend was so much fun and she was optimistic. Graceland was her happy place and the employees who all knew her shared that she was looking so much better. She looked more at peace and was so proud of the Elvis movie.

Saturday night we sat at the graves of her father and son. We talked about the heartbreak she grew up with and the more recent devastation of her son’s death. She showed me where she would be buried someday. I said a long time from now …and she said yes, I have so much I still want to do.

Rest in peace with your father and son, Lisa Marie.

I’m sharing a picture taken of us last weekend at #Graceland. #LisaMariePresley#LMP

written by David Kessler