Young Adult Blog

A Lesson From Kate Spade

Written by Ellen Mills

Recent news of Kate Spade’s death showed that the perception and reality of her life were quite different. How might her death help us evaluate our own lives?

I own a Kate Spade watch. It is a simple, elegant gold watch—an iconic representation of the brand.

I received the watch as a gift several months ago. But this watch is no longer just a fashionable, functional accessory. It now symbolizes a vivid, constant reminder of a critical understanding.

A tragic death

Designer Kate Spade was found dead in her Manhattan apartment on June 5, 2018, at the age of 55. She left behind her husband and a teenage daughter, as well as numerous friends and family. Soon after she was discovered, her death was confirmed to be a suicide. Her death at her own hand left her loved ones and her fans reeling, while social activist groups responded with campaigns addressing suicide risk awareness.

Kate Spade’s death matters. It especially matters because of the impact that remains forever on her husband, daughter, family, friends and fans. However, consider another reason why her death matters.

Perception and reality

In the letters to the seven churches, Christ, through John, said to Laodicea: “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17, English Standard Version).

Kate Spade seemed to have it all—a fashion empire, a successful spouse, a beautiful daughter. But she was also ill. Friends and family have told the media that she suffered with depression and mental illness. Kate Spade, as perceived by everyone around her, was rich. But, deep inside, she was actually wrestling with depression.

The story of Kate Spade’s life and death shows just how vastly different perception and reality can be, similar to how Laodicea’s perception and reality were so vastly different.

Let’s use the wake of her death as a reminder of the need to ask ourselves, and to ask God in prayer, whether our perception individually and as a body is indeed reality and whether we are overdue for a serious shift in our physical and spiritual lives.

For insight into the issue of suicide, read "When Depression Turns Deadly: Understanding Suicide." 

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