Priscilla Presley and Riley Keough, the mother and daughter of the late Lisa Marie Presley, shared emotional tributes Sunday at the Graceland public memorial service. Lisa Marie, the only daughter of Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley, died last Thursday at 54.
Priscilla first addressed the mourners, reading a poem that was penned by Keough. “I’m going to read something that my granddaughter wrote for all of you,” Priscilla said before turning to Keough’s words.
“I have no idea how to put my mother into words. Truth is there are too many. Lisa Marie Presley was an icon, a role model, a superhero to many people all over the world, my superhero. But mama was my icon, my role model. Even now I can’t get across everything there is to be understood and known about her. But as she always said, I’ll do my best.”
Priscilla then read the poem, which was titled “The Old Soul”: “The old soul in 1968, she entered our world — born tired, fragile, yet strong. She was delicate, filled with life. She always knew she wouldn’t be here too long. Childhood passes by with a glimpse of her green eye.”
The poem then touched on the death of Lisa Marie’s son Benjamin Keough, who died by suicide in 2020. “She knew it was close to the end. Survivor’s guilt some would say, but a broken heart was the doing of her death. Now she is home where she always belonged,” Priscilla read. “But my heart is missing her love. She knew that I loved her, I fear I’ll never touch her, but the old soul is always with me.”
Keough, presumably still too heartbroken by her mother’s death to speak publicly, instead wrote a letter addressed to Lisa Marie that was read by her husband Ben Smith-Petersen.
“A letter to my mama — thank you for being my mother in this life. I am eternally grateful to have spent 33 years with you. I’m certain I chose the best mother for me in this world and I knew that as far back as I remember you and I remember everything,” the letter said.
“I remember you giving me baths as a baby and I remember you driving me in my car seat listening to Aretha Franklin. I remember the way you would cuddle me at night, and the way you smelled. I remember you taking me for ice cream after school in Florida. I remember you singing me and my brother lullabies at night. I remember how you would lay with us until we fell asleep.”
Keough’s letter continued, “I remember how it felt to be loved by the most loving mother I’ve ever known. I remember how safe it felt to be in your arms. I remember that feeling as a child and two weeks ago on your couch. Thank you for showing me that love is the most important things in this life. I hope I can love my daughter the way you loved me. The way you loved my brother and sisters, thank you for giving me heart, strength, empathy, and courage, my sense of humor, my manners, my temper, my tenacity. I’m a product of your heart. My brother is a product of your heart, my sisters are a product of your heart. We are you, you are us… I hope you finally know how loved you were here. Thank you for trying so hard for us. If I didn’t tell you every day, thank you.”
The Graceland public memorial for Lisa Marie also featured musical tributes by Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan, Alanis Morissette, and Axl Rose, who both shared a heartfelt eulogy and played a solo rendition of Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain” in memory of his close friend.