4 Lessons Learned From A Life Lost

An outsider’s perspective on Kate Spade death

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

I don’t own anything of Kate Spade — no handbags, no wallets, nothing. I didn’t even know what she looked like before the news of her death hit the stands. But with yet another front page spread on a celebrity suicide, I felt this was an important issue to talk about.

I’m going to be fully transparent here:

  • I have never had a diagnosable disorder

So what gives me the right to write about the death of Kate Spade if I’ve never fully experienced or had real struggles with my mental health? Probably nothing. I guess my need to talk about this topic gives me the right to write about it.

As an outsider looking in, I don’t understand how “bad” it needs to get before someone decides to take their own life but I can understand that they are going through an internal struggle, one that I may never fully comprehend.

Which brings me to ask “What can I do?”

I don’t have the answers and but there are tons out there — each with their own perspective and opinion.

I don’t have any answers to this. I don’t know what I can do and although I am writing to talk about this very important issue, it is not within my right to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do because I have no clue.

All I can share with you are my lessons learned from her death and stories like this.

Appreciating the Strength in Art

Kate Spade’s bags are whimsical and colourful, yet she was battling an internal dark storm and it goes to show how much strength someone needs in order to create beauty and art when they don’t feel beautiful inside.

From Kate Spade’s website

It’s amazing to me that Kate Spade was able to create as much as she did when she was going through so much turmoil inside; much like how Robin Williams was able to keep people laughing when he was suffering.

There’s a strength in art that I’ve never noticed before and there’s even more courage and bravery in the person creating it.

Looking Past the Exterior

So often society judges a life based on material possessions or that person’s prestige.

Is that fair?

I don’t know. I don’t think so.

People will only let you see what they they want you to see. But when there comes a time when someone starts to open up to you, look past all of their worldly possessions.

When they tell their story, we may start to think:

“How can you be unhappy? You have so much money?”
“I would never be sad if I was that famous.”
“But you have such a great and supportive family.”

We need to put those thoughts behind us because those prizes that we put so much value on blind us to the person behind it all. Behind all that “success” is a life, a person waiting to be heard and understood. Consider it a privilege if they let you in.

Remember the Life

A life was lived and taken away.

When news of this magnitude hits, I find that the main media focus is how they died and why. There may be snippets of their lives or quotes from family in the articles but that is usually not the headline you see.

We mustn’t forget that a life was lived and shared with the world. Kate Spade brought joy to the people who were close to her and happiness to those who didn’t and that’s the life that should be remembered.

Don’t Forget The Meaning Behind It All

Mental illness and mental health awareness.

We can’t see it, we can’t touch it, and for those who have never really gone through it, we don’t understand it.

There is a bigger meaning to the lives of these celebrities and the non-famous who take their own lives (and sometimes even the lives of others). The issue of mental health will be raised this week, but what about the next, and the week after?

There is bigger meaning behind their deaths and one that should not be forgotten until a similar story shows up on our newsfeed.

I don’t know much about this issue and I don’t pretend to. I share this story with you because, I, myself have learned something from Spade’s death and these are my own personal lessons to myself; that strength and courage is needed to create beautiful things and to never forget the meaning behind it all.

Shoutouts:
To Shannon Ashley who inspired me to write this piece and for bringing much needed attention to mental health awareness through the power of her stories.

Living life imperfectly and as creatively as possible.

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