Incandescent: Meeting Joan Rivers

Several years ago, I wrote about my experience attending a fashion blog conference hosted by Lucky Magazine. I had the overwhelming privilege to spontaneously meet, chat, and receive a hug by the firecracker we know as Joan Rivers. You may not know this (I didn’t previously), but Joan was a huge advocate of suicide survivors–a term that describes the people left behind in the wake of a loved one taking their own life.

Joan and I had that in common–she lost her husband, and I lost my brother. When I shared this with her behind the scenes at that conference so many years ago, she gave me the biggest hug that any grown woman has ever given me. When I think of Joan Rivers now, one word comes to mind: Firecracker.

I’ll share my passage from that chance meeting so many years ago here:

I scurried out the back door and ran up to her in the hallway, where I shared [my story]. When one of her team [members] asked me kindly and with genuine enthusiasm for my information, I handed her my card and my mom’s blog address scrawled on a piece of paper.

She asked me if I was “mad” about my brother’s suicide (well, to quote her exactly, she exclaimed, “Are you MAD?!!!”) and I admitted that yes, I was, and still am. She feels it is okay to feel angry after a loved one takes their life – especially since it’s a natural emotion, a justifiable one to most, yet it is so taboo.

Then, she spontaneously gave me a hug.

I died.

Yesterday, the world lost another luminary: an incandescent force of nature.

Brace yourself, Heaven, I hope you’re ready for her.