I remember the first time I received one of your bags. It was Christmas a few years back and after opening it, I deemed myself fashionable, officially. I wore the bag everywhere I went and when my family saw how much I loved it, I received a few more for my birthday, plus a pretty cute wallet too. I have read the words “Kate Spade” over a thousand times when using your products and when venturing through malls, but I must confess... to me it was never a name. It was a brand. I didn’t connect a human, life, or story to it- I just correlated those letters with status and prestige. I didn’t bother to look deeper. I suppose I am not the only one that is guilty of this.
I first realized yesterday afternoon that you were so much more than just a trend. As your face started to go viral on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, I began to finally look up who you truly were and piece together your journey. You were a thoughtful friend, a dedicated mom, a loving wife, and a kick-butt entrepreneur that beat every single odd. Every odd, except for one.
I can’t relate to the fame and your lifestyle, but I can relate to the emptiness you must have felt because before finding my faith in God, I experienced it too. It was a pit of despair and hopelessness and I even made a video in the midst of my depression when contemplating to harm myself. Yet, I didn’t, though I didn’t have any money, fame, or children giving me “reason” to stay here. And you did hurt yourself, though you had all of those things that should have been your “reasons” to keep pushing. It doesn’t make sense to me or to the rest of the world… but it probably didn’t make sense to you why you felt like that was the only way out either, though you were surrounded by so much that was supposed to make you joyful. This world can be really dark sometimes. In that darkness, a lot of things can be hard to understand.
Losing you, though I didn’t know you personally, has been hard. It has been made clear to me, since your death, that nothing on this earth could ever be enough to make someone happy. No amount of money or success could ever be sufficient for a hurting soul, yet our society is always running to the next thing in hopes that it will fill them up. Maybe the way you ended your life will be a wakeup call to people reminding them to seek after things that aren’t so temporary. Even if your passing changes the perspective of the whole world, it wouldn’t justify the way your existence ended. We much rather you be here.
Your handbag line was all about happiness, femininity, and believing in ones dreams. We invested in your company with our money for our own selfish pursuits but did anyone think to invest in your life with their time, selflessly? Your weeks seemed to have been bombarded with fast paced work meetings and fashion consulting but did anyone pause to ask you how you were truly doing in the midst of it all? People looked to you for wisdom and advice, but did anyone notice how much you needed some? But I can’t say that I would have done any of that if I had known you. If I’m being honest with myself, I would have been clouded by the fame of your position, my own personal gain, and what I’d be able to get out of you. I wouldn’t have tried to think of ways that I could have contributed to your life. Thats a huge lesson for me and it should be a lesson for everybody too.
It doesn’t matter how filtered and fun a life looks from the outside, nobody should label someone “all together” just because they check off every box of what this generation would consider cool. We have to commit to digging deeper, fighting for vulnerability, and working through uncomfortableness to help others find healing. Let’s do it in the name of Kate Spade.
Many are probably seeing posts on social media now about suicide prevention and how people are eager to help those that are struggling. Usually, this lasts for a little while and then this important issue gets pushed aside to focus on something more relevant in the news. Kate, I hope whenever your fans begin to become complacent about this subject, we remember your life and even your death. I promise to not let my passion for this issue fade away when the media begins bombarding us with other things.
And in your own very words, Kate... "She leaves a sparkle wherever she goes"
Thanks for leaving us with your sparkle.
Rest in peace, Kate Spade.