Benjamin Keough was just 27 when he took his own life, and in an interview with The New York Times, the actress discussed how she struggled to process his passing at first.
“It was like I was thrown into the ocean and couldn’t swim,” she told the outlet, revealing her family was a constant source of comfort, but she needed more. “The first four or five months, I couldn’t get out of bed. I was totally debilitated. I couldn’t talk for two weeks. It’s very complicated for our minds to put that somewhere because it’s so outrageous.
“If I’m going through a breakup, I know what to do with that and where to file it in my mind, but suicide of your brother? Where do you put that? How does that integrate? It just doesn’t.”
Accordingly, Riley decided to use the tragedy to inform and help people, and now, has the skills and knowledge to help guide others through the pain of a loved one’s death.
“That’s really what’s helped me,” the 32-year-old explained. “Being able to put myself in a position of service. If I can help other people, maybe I can find some way to help myself.”
Earlier this month, Riley paid tribute to Benjamin as she marked the first anniversary of his death.
“Today has been a year without you baby brother. I miss you endlessly every day,” she wrote alongside a photo collage.