Joan Rivers passed away on September 4, 2014.
I am going to admit, upfront, I am a very, very big fan. She made me laugh like no one else and I always sensed a true and genuine kindness in her. Yes, even when she was on the red carpet dissecting a celebrity’s outfit – I never found her mean. It was always funny and in good fun – and I bet you everything I have she would say those same things right to a person’s face… not just behind the safety of a show or article. She never came across as putting on a persona to impress fans or the media. Joan Rivers was true and authentic and her generosity glimmer out from her very soul.
In the days since she fell ill I have read story after story on Facebook, on blogs, and in the comments sections of articles – one after the next they tell of Joan River’s unfailing kindnesses. People have taken to the web – to remember her and to grieve for her, swapping stories and sharing moments, most of which begin “I’ll never forget the time I ran into Joan…” And these accounts are not merely anecdotes of a chance encounter with a celeb who signed an autograph or posed for a selfie – they are stories of conversations, of shared jokes or of her parlaying her influence and clout to help groups and organizations when they needed a boost.
More than a few of these stories are being told by people I know. Yes, Men I know and trust to be honest and forthright. Some worked with her, some benefitted from her philanthropy, one just had a chance encounter. Over and over and over again I find myself blinking back tears at these stories because they keep shining a light on a very simple truth: Joan Rivers was every bit as amazing as I ever imagined her to be – maybe even more amazing than I could have imagined.
Yesterday I was speaking to one of these friends and I marveled at how I have not read even one single, disparaging word about her. Not one person has piped up to speak ill of her, or to tell of a Diva moment, a flash of unjustified anger or rage. In our times which seem so rife with negativity, Joan Rivers lived the miracle of Mark Twain’s advice. Yes, I am that sure even the Undertakers were filled with sadness at her passing. My friend’s response to this observation was quick and quiet and brought both of us to tears: “She wasn’t that kind of person. She was a just a great lady.”
Today I am renewing my vow to be the best version of myself I can be, in her honor and memory. Rest in peace Great Lady.