In 1993, Kate Brosnahan saw a need for stylish, high-quality handbags that stretched beyond the plain and primitive qualities of handbags at the current time. With the $35,000 in her then-boyfriend Andy Spade's savings account, Kate launched her own handbag line that derived its style from her own mother's collection, which included a vast variety of colors and accessories while maintaining a high level of function and practicality.
Kate and Andy got married shortly after while their business quickly exploded. By 1995, Kate Spade & Co. was worth $1.5 million and opened its own store in New York City. After a few years, Kate Spade expanded into new markets and new locations by designing more than just handbags and even creating a men's line. In 2017, Liz Claiborne, the owner of the Kate Spade brand sold the brand to Coach for $2.4 billion. Kate Spade's personal net worth as of 2018 is around $150 million.
Kate Spade was found dead by suicide in her New York City apartment on the morning of June 6, 2018. The 55-year-old left behind her loving husband of 24 years, her 13-year-old daughter, her brand, her fame, her fortune, and anything else that the world had to offer her. You see, Kate Spade actually had everything she could ever want. Many described her marriage and family-life as perfect. She had more money than most could ever dream of, and a name that will be immortally associated with high-quality fashion.
So, how? How could a woman who had everything and more take her own life? Normally, we associate suicides with common, identifiable issues of depression such as inadequate financial stability, minimal family presence, stress, mental illness, bullying, etc., but Kate was different. The world offered her everything and she took it. By society's standards there were no holes or imperfections, but rather the pure bliss of the American dream lived out to its highest potential.
You see, Kate's unsuspecting suicide serves as a heavy reminder that the world can provide us with anything and everything and it still won't be enough. Infinite wealth and fame mean nothing if not they are not rooted in something greater… Something, eternal.
As I stated before, many suicides are credited to certain distinct issues within a given individual's life, but I would argue that you would be far-stretched to find a worldly need that Kade Spade did not possess in abundance. This leads me to one ultimate conclusion—Kate Spade's suicide was not the result of any shortcoming in her current life, but an emptiness in her eternal life.
I firmly believe that Kate Spade either chose to never address her eternity or came to a conclusion about her eternity that did not sustain her life here on Earth. I obviously never knew Kate personally, and fully understand that she probably dealt with a serious mental illness that we, as the public, simply never saw. However, based upon what I believe, there is one thing that can overcome any sickness, oppression, fear, or transgression, and that is a relationship with the God of the universe that extends far beyond anything the world can give us.
Unfortunately, I don't think Kate Spade ever had the chance to acquaint herself with God beyond a mild consideration, and for that, she was left empty behind a façade of endless possessions. In her suicide note, Kate explains to her daughter, "this had nothing to do with you," and I believe she's telling the truth. The suicide has nothing to do with her daughter who looked up to her, or her husband who loved her, but rather the absence of her eternal perspective.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. - Isaiah 40:28
You see, the reality of Kate's suicide is not a rarity but a commonality. Although many suicides are attributed to a lacking of worldly, physical needs, I believe more should be attributed to a lacking of spiritual necessities. How many more will take their own life before we start to get it? Counseling and therapy are great tools to recovery but will only get us so far. A new car, or a bonus check from work will lift our spirits for a few weeks or months until they fade back into normality.
Beloved, the world is fleeting. It comes and goes like the wind but never remains. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever," and he can be the provider of our strength for all of our days.
Please don't read me wrong. There are very valuable and practical ways to help prevent suicide such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, counseling, rehabilitation facilities, anti-bullying programs, and many more. However, that doesn't mean that we should place the ultimatum of life and death into the hands of these things that can help, but not support us entirely.
People who are contemplating suicide are encouraged to talk to a doctor or other health professional, spiritual advisor, or immediately go to the closest emergency room or mental-health crisis center for help. Those who have experienced suicidal thinking (ideation) are commonly directed to keep a list of people to call in the event that those thoughts return. In addition to mental-health treatment, other strategies include having someone else hold all medications to prevent overdose, removing any weapons from the home, scheduling frequent stress-relieving activities, getting together with others, writing down feelings, and avoiding the use of alcohol or other drugs. (MedicineNet.com)
If you need help right now, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.