With all the series of celebrity deaths and really terrible social news we’ve been hearing over the years and more specifically lately, I sometimes go completely numb. It’s like a weird defense mechanism—I hear so much bad news that when more comes I’m not nearly as shocked as I used to be.
I also understand that it can seem a bit “weird” to “mourn” the death of someone you never knew and that “regular” people die everyday but celebrity death is magnified because it’s talked about so much more because of social media. I cried for WEEKS when Michael Jackson died. I wept in my hotel room when I was finally by myself after finding out Whitney Houston died while I was on a flight to LA. But after that I felt like I became numb to every other death—I’d of course think it was sad, but the extreme reactions just weren’t there because I’d become used to it. I swear I’m not a cold-hearted shell—I’m actually really sensitive to the feelings of others but as I get older, somehow death while still very scary becomes more commonplace so to speak. The greats in entertainment are aging and many of our faves have passed and many more will pass.
But after hearing that Joan Rivers passed, that numbness went away and it became real. I ugly cried several times and will probably do it more as more specials air. Joan was a majorly influential person in Hollywood—she broke down barriers for our gender and will forever be an icon. Life wasn’t always easy for her but it was her “I have no effs to give” attitude that made us feel like we could get through just about anything. And yes, sometimes her jokes were WAY off the cuff, but Joan was Joan.
The most admirable thing about Joan Rivers to me (and there are SO many) was the relationship she had with her daughter. Like any mother-daughter relationship it wasn’t always perfect but they loved each other. They completed each other.
Joan’s own mother died without her mending things after they had an argument and in an interview with E! in May 2012, she tearfully told cameras that after finding out about her mother’s death, she declared she’d never have an argument with someone she cared about without making up with them that same day.
In a clip I found in an article on The Daily Beast…
Rivers told me in both 2010 and 2014 that, when thinking about dying herself, she fretted most about her daughter Melissa. “We’re very close. We have nobody else: she has me and I have her. I think it’s going to be very difficult when I die, very hard for her.”
Rivers told me she worried about dying and leaving Melissa alone, especially as the pair had endured and survived the suicide of Edgar Rosenberg, Rivers’ second husband and Melissa’s father, in 1987. “I want to marry her off, so I know she’ll be taken care of. I’m worried about her,” Rivers told me.
“Your child is never not your child. You can be 90 and your mother 120, but your mother is still worried about you. I worry about Melissa. I look at everyone who she dates and think, ‘That one’s not right, that one’s not right.’
The essence of that excerpt is the thing that brings Joan’s death so close to home for me and I think so many of us. It makes us think of our own relationships with our mothers. And it also brings the realization of something many of us are rightfully scared to even think of: our mothers will die.
“If anything happens, Melissa,” Joan Rivers told her daughter just before another plastic surgery procedure, “I’ve had a great life. If I died this morning, nobody would say ‘so young.’ You’re a terrific person, Cooper’s fine. … I’ve had an amazing life, if it ended right now — amazing life! You’ve been wonderful and we’ve had a great ride together.”
Source: ABC News
I LOVE my mother more than words can describe. When I was a child I was SUPER sensitive and would let any little thing kids would say to me hurt my feelings and everyday I’d come home from school to cry and my mom was always there to comfort me and also to tell me I needed to toughen up more…lol. There isn’t a moment in life that I can pinpoint when she wasn’t there for me. I’m brave now because she was brave for me. I’m the woman I am because of her and I’m scared—TERRIFIED of what will happen the day she dies. It’s one of my biggest fears—more so than my own death. What will I do when she dies? This is something I would think about but then quickly try to get my mind on something else because deep down I—we—feel like our mothers are immortal.
When my friend Ty from Gorgeous in Grey would share her emotions and processes as her own mother was dying of cancer, I admired her strongly for it. She was SO brave. I remember one time I was lying in my bed one weekend afternoon thumbing through my Instagram timeline and came across a picture of Ty holding her mom’s hand while she laid in her hospital bed. It instantly made me cry—and I mean UGLY CRY. It was that moment where I said I’d have to better the relationship I have with my mom. It’s not perfect because I’m not perfect (ok and neither is she…lol) but bigger than my fear of her dying is my fear of her dying and not feeling how much I love her.
Like Ty did, I, too started to document our special moments (I recorded a video of her just so I’d have something to watch so I can see her face and hear her voice when she’s no longer here).
I don’t have the answers. We can’t avoid it—death is a part of life. But what we can control is the moments we have while we’re here.
RIP Joan Rivers.