Melissa Rivers said goodbye to her beloved mother, Joan Rivers, Sunday in Manhattan with tears, some laughs – and great fanfare, as close family friends praised her for her strength and dignity in the days before and after her mother died.
“Melissa is amazing,” Margie Stern, one of the late comedian’s closest friends, tells PEOPLE. “I told Melissa, ‘Your mother would be so proud of you.’ She handled everything. She did everything exactly as her mother would have wanted.”
Rivers stopped breathing on Aug. 28 at Yorkville Endoscopy in Manhattan and had to be rushed from the clinic to Mount Sinai Hospital.
Melissa also took particular care to make sure her mother spent her final hours in comfort.
“That was hard. But she was in a room with flowers and music. It was fragrant. It was amazing,” says Stern, who was at the hospital “all day, every day” with Rivers and Melissa, adding: “Joan looked beautiful at the end.”
Rivers died at 81 on Sept. 4. And when it came time to plan her mother’s star-studded funeral at New York City’s Temple Emanu-El, Melissa made sure every detail was perfect, says Stern.
“I’m in awe of the way she handled everything,” she says.
Make ‘Em Laugh: Joan Rivers’s Best Lines