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.

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  • melanieamoore

    Beautiful <3

  • Laurie

    thank you for sharing! love Joan! RIP

  • melanieamoore

    Beautiful <3

  • Laurie

    thank you for sharing! love Joan! RIP

  • Susan Mc

    Lovely tribute… I heard something Joan said after winning an Emmy after her husband’s death and it taught me so much… “My husband Edgar knew you can always turn things around… except for one terrible moment in a hotel room in Philadelphia he forgot that.” She was one of the first people to talk openly about suicide, she did so much more than make people laugh, thanks for sharing this story!

    • Yeah she was always so brave about it–another reason why I respected her so much!

  • Susan Mc

    Lovely tribute… I heard something Joan said after winning an Emmy after her husband’s death and it taught me so much… “My husband Edgar knew you can always turn things around… except for one terrible moment in a hotel room in Philadelphia he forgot that.” She was one of the first people to talk openly about suicide, she did so much more than make people laugh, thanks for sharing this story!

    • Yeah she was always so brave about it–another reason why I respected her so much!

  • Debbie

    This is such a lively post. She was fabulous. I can’t believe she’s gone. And you met her. How lucky you were. I loved her honesty. I suppose God had his reasons for taking her. I agree I hope he’s ready. The world lost a GREAT lady.

  • Debbie

    This is such a lively post. She was fabulous. I can’t believe she’s gone. And you met her. How lucky you were. I loved her honesty. I suppose God had his reasons for taking her. I agree I hope he’s ready. The world lost a GREAT lady.

  • Tracey Francis

    Thanks for sharing this personal post! I lost the ” love of my life” , Gerry 2 1/2years ago to suicide & I still miss him like crazy. He was ” the life of a party” type of person. I went to a Allison Dubouis event earlier in the year(my sister dragged me there & tried to get me to put my hand up) but just being there I learnt so much. He would have been 40 on May 30th this year & Allison said they love it when you celebrate their birthdays. I have so much guilt that I wasn’t there for him etc/then there are days like recently when I was sick and in hospital all alone & was so angry with him that he wasn’t here on this planet anymore. I’m going to stop rambling on-just wanted to say such a great tribute, Kristina & thanks for sharing. X

  • Guest

    Thanks for sharing this personal post! I lost the ” love of my life” , Gerry 2 1/2years ago to suicide & I still miss him like crazy. He was ” the life of a party” type of person. I went to a Allison Dubouis event earlier in the year(my sister dragged me there & tried to get me to put my hand up) but just being there I learnt so much. He would have been 40 on May 30th this year & Allison said they love it when you celebrate their birthdays. I have so much guilt that I wasn’t there for him etc/then there are days like recently when I was sick and in hospital all alone & was so angry with him that he wasn’t here on this planet anymore. I’m going to stop rambling on-just wanted to say such a great tribute, Kristina & thanks for sharing. X

  • You are so lucky to have met her…. as a comedian and fashion blogger, Joan really was one of my idols. I did a tribute to her as well on my blog and on YouTube. I only wish I had been lucky enough to meet her. Thank you so much for sharing your story
    Sarah
    http://everydaystarlet.com/
    http://youtu.be/9gesuVoaMm4

  • You are so lucky to have met her…. as a comedian and fashion blogger, Joan really was one of my idols. I did a tribute to her as well on my blog and on YouTube. I only wish I had been lucky enough to meet her. Thank you so much for sharing your story

    Sarah
    http://everydaystarlet.com/
    http://youtu.be/9gesuVoaMm4

  • I didn’t know much about Joan, but from what I’ve read both here and everywhere else, she sounds like someone I would have loved to know. Thank you for sharing this with us. <3

  • I didn’t know much about Joan, but from what I’ve read both here and everywhere else, she sounds like someone I would have loved to know. Thank you for sharing this with us. <3

  • lovely writing. She said what people were thinking but didn’t have the guts to say. Miss this icon! Fashion police and the red carpet will never be the same.

  • lovely writing. She said what people were thinking but didn’t have the guts to say. Miss this icon! Fashion police and the red carpet will never be the same.

  • “Joan gave you the biggest hug” I think you have fulfilled her dreams 🙂

  • “Joan gave you the biggest hug” I think you have fulfilled her dreams 🙂