Bright. Vibrant. Colorful. And, most essentially, fun. The same words used so often to describe the enormously popular handbags designed by Kate Spade were an apt description of the woman herself.
And that only contributed to the sense of shock and loss upon hearing the news that Spade had taken her own life at 55.
Shocked. Stunned. Saddened.
Women around the world – from Chelsea Clinton and Ivanka Trump, to women in Europe shopping for a Kate Spade product – were stunned to hear that Kate was gone.
Fern Mallis, former director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), noted that the devastating news of Spade’s death came just the morning after virtually the entire New York fashion industry had gathered for the annual CFDA awards.
Nobody could have ever anticipated that the next day, this was the news that would be flashing on our phones,” she said. “You just never know the demons that people are dealing with.”
Spade’s tribe are brokenhearted because she was heartbroken and they didn’t know she was suffering.
So many people suffering from mental illness are silent and alone in their suffering because their illness isolates them from help. Like Kate, they fear rejection and feel shame because they can’t deal with their illness.
They may not even allow themselves to see the root of their suffering as an illness.
One admirer said, “I hope she knows how happy she made complete strangers.”
Clearly Kate wanted connection as much as she wanted profitability. Spade told Glamour magazine in 2002, “I hope that people remember me not just as a good businesswoman, but as a great friend – and a heck of a lot of fun.”
Life From Death
The concerned were quick to encourage other strugglers and their loved ones to break their silence and reach out for help.
Good conversations started across North America. Dialogue in my Wednesday morning book club centered around Kate Spade.
And like other concerned conversations, quickly moved to where help is available for those facing depression or mood disorders.
Mental Health Lasting Change
I serve on the Board of the John Cameron Changing Lives Foundation in Edmonton. Our objective is to create lasting change in the realm of mental health – one note, one song and one dollar at a time.
Everyone on our Board became a champion for this initiative because of a family member, friend, or someone from our community who faces mental illness or died by suicide.
Crescendo has become the signature event for changing the stigmas and raising funds to help the Kate Spades of greater Edmonton.
There is hope. And help.
APPLICATION: How is mental illness affecting you or your family? Please leave your comment below and share this post. Thank you.
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