Melissa Rivers: Anger, Grief, and Why Im Auctioning Joans Possessions

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In an exclusive, candid interview with Tim Teeman, Melissa Rivers exposes her fury over her mother’s death, how she and son Cooper have coped, and finding love with a new partner.”>

On September 4, 2014, in the Mount Sinai Hospital room just after her mother Joan Rivers had died, Melissa Rivers asked for some time alone with her mothers body.

I was just standing here, and laughed, Rivers remembers in an interview with the Daily Beast. I heard an uptake of breath behind me. A nurse had come in. She asked me if I was OK. I told her, I was just thinking: my dad is having a really bad day. I imagined him in Heaven, saying, Shes whaaat? Shes here? Heck. After all these years of not being yelled at.

Edgar Rosenberg committed suicide in 1987, after his wifes Fox chat show had been canceled and the couple had separated.

In interviews, Joan Rivers told me more than once how furious Edgars suicide still induced her, andin her last major interviewhow her friend and then-First Lady Nancy Reagan had arranged to have Edgars body moved home from Philadelphia, where he had killed himself.

In The Book of Joan: Narratives of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation, which she wrote after her mom died, Melissa recalls that her dedication was to her mom, whom I miss every day, and for my father who is no longer resting in peace.

As she looked at her moms dead body, Melissa guessed, Oh my divinity, my daddies having a fucking bad dayHes pissed. She imagines them expending the rest of eternity, pretending not to speak to each other.

Melissa is as sharp as her mother, and frequently segues in our interview from something deeply felt to a hilarious zinger in a beat.

This summer, she is overseeing two auctions of her mothers possessions: some ostentatious and very expensive, others less so. The first is at Christies on June 22, benefiting Guide Dogs For The Blind, and includes beloved Faberg items, a Tiffany dog bowl, fur, jewelry, and a silk pagoda puppy bed.

The second auction, of more everyday items, says Melissa, will take place at Litchfield County Auctions, July 19 -2 1, and includes more art, furniture and jewelry, with proceeds going to two of Rivers favorite charities, Gods Love We Deliver and Guide Dogs For The Blind.

Future auctions of her possessions will raise money for other Rivers-approved charities like the LGBT Family Equality Council, and Melissa hopes the gay community will come out in force for the auctions.

Obviously, its terribly emotional, going through my parents belongings and deciding what to sell. Its “re going through” their own lives, and deciding what pieces you want to keep. Everything has an emotion, a narrative and memory attributed to it. It hasnt been two years yet since my mother passed. Sometimes it feels like eternally, sometimes it feels like yesterday.

My mother loved her things. Faberg was such a passion of hers and for my father too. Letting run of some of that has been awfully emotional for me.

For Joan, Melissa says, her things were meant to be loved, employed, and enjoyed. My mom told me, Keep what you want, and sell the rest. Do some good with the money. Get something you love in the style you likewhich is a wonderful gift to leave.

I dont think you ever genuinely own these thingsyoure simply a caretaker of them while you have them. To put them in storage somewhere would be against everything my mother felt about them.

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