Melissa Rivers recently faced the most difficult decision of her life. Knowing that her mother Joan Rivers probably would not survive if removed from life support, Melissa also was aware that postponing the decision would make it more difficult for all who loved the 81-year-old comedienne. And in making that decision, Melissa Rivers took the step that hundreds of families make every year, reported The Huffington Post on September 5.
What’s involved at that stage of life requires emotional courage and strength. Melissa Rivers and Joan Rivers were more than mother and daughter. They were best friends, work colleagues and, together, formed one of the wittiest celebrity duos. To make her decision, Melissa Rivers had to evaluate the medical condition of her beloved mother.
What goes into an end-of-life decision such as Melissa Rivers faced? She had to ask the physicians for the truth about Joan Rivers. At 81, did her mother, with whom she had such a deep bond, have the ability to recover the full use of her brain and body? If not, to what extent would she be potentially incapacitated? The answers lie in Joan’s recent medical history.
When Joan Rivers was rushed from what was supposed to be a routine procedure on her vocal chords to Mount Sinai Hospital, she had stopped breathing. That event on August 28 was followed by a week of where she was unconscious, on life support, and listed as in critical but stable condition, reported USA Today on September 5. Melissa Rivers was there by her mother’s side throughout the heartbreaking situation.
And thus, after a week, Melissa Rivers made the decision to let her mother go. Her statement about Joan Rivers’ death reflects the young woman’s combination of sorrow and inner knowledge that she had made the right choice.
“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers,” Melissa Rivers. “She passed peacefully at 1:17 p.m. surrounded by family and close friends. My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother.”
Update: Melissa Rivers is sharing the loving eulogy that she wrote, reported Extra on Sept. 10. It is a tribute filled with humor, with love and with admiration. The note will be included in her upcoming book, called A Letter to My Mom.
“I know you are a true creative genius (and I am in awe of the depth of your instincts),” wrote Melissa. ” I love having you live with me, and I am grateful for every minute Cooper and I have with you. You are an inspiration.”
The warmth and wit that both Joan Rivers and Melissa Rivers evidenced throughout their lives also sparkled in the eulogy. And Melissa also showed that she is aware of how her mother maintained an active social life and friendships that belied her 81 years.
While I’m glad to see you’re socializing, you must refill the hot tub after your parties. In fact, you need to tone down the parties altogether. Imagine my surprise when I saw the photos you posted on Facebook of your friends frolicking topless in the hot tub.
I think it’s great that you’re entertaining more often, but I can’t keep fielding complaints from the neighbors about your noisy party games like Ring Around the Walker or naked Duck, Duck Caregiver.
Melissa Rivers now is left to continue her mother’s legacy of love and laughter. We wish her well.
[Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images]