Joan Rivers: “Too Soon, Joan…Too Soon”

Joan Rivers: “Too Soon, Joan…Too Soon”

“Joan Rivers is dead!!!” my daughter texted me. Shock. We knew she was hospitalized in very serious condition, but dead? Total shock. And yet, why? Joan Rivers was 81 years old so it shouldn’t really be shocking.

My daughter and many others knew that I idolized Joan Rivers, not because I was a fan of her comedy, although it did make me laugh, but because I admired this woman who was unstoppable, who succeeded against all odds and came back from every adversity. The award-winning documentary that gave us a glimpse into her workday was really inspirational to those of us still in the workforce at an age when we’re supposed to be sitting in a rocker on the porch. Seeing her energy, her quick mind and her attitude made us think we could do it, too. And in high heels!

This is a smile nobody will ever forget, nor should they.

This is a smile nobody will ever forget, nor should they.

So around my house, no one was surprised that I actually felt a loss for a woman I didn’t know, but imagine my surprise when the entire country responded the same way. A special edition of People Magazine. A memorial service that so many turned out for. Media coverage everywhere. Yes, she was a celebrity but this was beyond just celebrity memorial.

Joan, it turns out, was an inspiration to thousands; the multitudes who have experienced adversity, who have known what it’s like to be treated unfairly, had family tragedies, faced discrimination in the workplace, had children turn on them, spouses leave them, financial problems, and felt just plain tired and old at the end of a work day. She always came back and so we could, too.

But this time she didn’t come back. There’s a scene in her reality show where she’s talking to her daughter, Melissa, before going into yet more cosmetic surgery and she tells Melissa not to worry, that if she never woke up form the anesthesia and died at the age of 81, no one would say “too soon”.

But it was too soon. Because if Joan Rivers could die, so could we. In her death she taught us yet another lesson, as she often did throughout her entire life. “I’ve had a wonderful life,” she told Melissa. So her final lesson: let every day be part of a wonderful life.

Too soon, Joan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *