I was out of town on vacation when I saw that Joan Rivers was in a coma. I said a prayer for her and hoped that all would be okay. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. I received a text letting me know – since I was essentially off the grid for a week – that the Wisconsin ban on gay marriage was ruled unconstitutional and Joan Rivers had passed away. Joy and sorrow mixed.
I can hear her voice in my head. I watched her on Johnny Carson – stayed up past my bedtime to watch her own show, saw her stand up routines, cried when her husband, Edgar, killed himself.
Her daughter, Melissa, isn’t much younger than I am. I’m sorry for her loss. I know what she’s feeling, having lost Mom just last year. It sucks.
But, I smile, too. I smile at the thought of what Joan Rivers meant to me. How she would practically scream, “Can we talk?” Her “Oh, oh, oh!” Amazing!
In high school, I was given an assignment where I had to pick a living woman whom I admired and write a paper about them. A mini biography, if you will. I had wanted to write about Kate Hepburn, but someone had chosen her first, so I picked Joan Rivers. I was told by my writing teacher that Joan Rivers was too vulgar and she wouldn’t accept a paper written about her. I ended up writing about Lillian Gish. But, I wished I had brought out my inner Joan and written about Mrs. Rivers. What a paper that would have been.
Joan Rivers offered what Minnie Pearl and Phyillis Diller didn’t – she was relateable. I understood her. I got her and she got me. To me, she was amazing. Growing up different and weird was just made easier by women like Joan Rivers, Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin.
But, Joan, more than any of them, stood out to me. She spoke to me.
So, while I am saddened at her passing and wishing I had seen her live, I’m smiling as I remember the laughs she gave so freely and the confidence she showed me.
Thanks, Joan! May God hold you in the palm of His hand.