Joan Rivers has died.
I wasn’t really a fan of her comedy, but her story is remarkable. She graduated top of her class at Barnard and made a name for herself in a male dominated industry. She was a trailblazer, a strong woman. I admire that.
Death is so weird. I remember when my grandmother died I was amazed that the next day everything was still moving, still living. She was gone and yet life moved on. I had to go to school, there was traffic, people were still making plans without Nanny.
My oldest has experienced her share of death at pretty impressionable ages, so we have this game. When someone’s passing is too much to take, when the sadness of the loss hurts to the bone, we send them to “the island.”
She lost her orthodontist, a wonderfully warm man, before she even had her braces taken off. She was confused and crying. It was awful. Once the initial shock began to wear off, we simply decided he was on vacation and we probably wouldn’t hear from him again. “Dr. Todano has retired, he’s living the life. He’s gone to the island,” we would say.
Then her freshman year in college, she lost a very dear friend quite suddenly. This one was much harder, took more time, but eventually we sent him to the island so she could keep him close. The loss was too great, so Pete is hanging by the pool, covered in cocoa butter and schmoozing the ladies.
We use “the island” for public personalities too, which is much easier simply because we never spoke to them in the first place. Robin Williams has recently moved to the island. I sent Michael Jackson and his music into retirement on the island a few years ago. Maya Angelou has a bungalow right next to Paul Newman.
It’s an odd system because some people die and we don’t send them to the island. We are sad, but it is bearable and they stay…well, dead. The people we clutch too, the ones that no matter what we tell our minds, can’t be gone, they go to the island.
Joan Rivers was 81. That’s a pretty good run and she seemed like a dynamic life. So strange how vibrant energy passes and the sun still rises. Hopefully Pete and Robin are thinking of Joan and enjoying a beautiful sunset with Elvis.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Thank you and Goodnight.