Spade Style: Glamorous, Witty, Fun & Unique
The world of fashion is heartbroken this week with the loss of Kate Spade, the founder of a quirky, cheery, ultra feminine and incredible brand of apparel and accessories. I, like many others, were in shock upon hearing about her death. In fact, stunned standing at tennis and reading a text. I couldn't focus on the conversations around me. It was baffling. Yet, we continue on. Like many women, my closet is full of Kate Spade handbags, day-timers, iPhone covers and so much more. Yes, she sold her brand in 2006 yet the essence of her style remained forefront and center. Everyone I know has a something from Kate Spade's collections. The pieces were and are so uplifting and vibrant. Thus, it is hard to wrap my head around why she wanted to end her life. My mother always said, "You never really know what is going on in someone's life. Nor can you read another person's mind." Something to ponder.
I want to address the elephant in the room - mental health. This is a subject, near and dear, to me as I have dealt with someone in my family who has suffered from severe mental illness since I was a child. My mother. My mother can be charming, witty, hilarious and of course had incredible fashion taste. I always borrowed her clothing. On the other hand, she could be cruel, demeaning, demanding, very negative, competitive and a burden. However, to this day, I did not and have not abandoned her. She was one of the lucky ones to receive the right "cocktail" of medication and help from doctors over the years. When I was 18, my father, divorced from my mother, and her family had her committed. You could in those days and it was a blessing. She is one of the lucky few because the medication allowed her to work for the next 20 plus years in a demanding profession. After all, she was and is incredibly bright. Her behavioral issues remained scary for me and others but I remained at her side surrounding myself with amazing girlfriends and an amazing husband and daughter who gratefully listened to me. Today, she is in a nursing home and sadly unable to really be present. My point of all this is - you can survive with the right medication and treatment. It is possible especially if the person seeks out the help and can receive extensive long term care when required. My mother is a survivor and wanted help. Luckily, for me, I genetically took after my father and am blessed to be innately positive and upbeat on a daily basis. Of course, counseling for me also helped creating sense of all the chaos encompassing my mother. Depression and negativity is extremely difficult to understand and the people close to the person are often at a loss. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain and nothing to be ashamed of in this life. Learning to deal with my mothers situation gave me strength and courage to do and overcome anything in my path. Be a survivor, be a fighter and look for the positive and goodness of other rather than becoming a victim of circumstances.
Kate Spade, in the eyes of many, had it all. Fame, money, family, adoration from around the world, a devoted husband and a young daughter yet her inner demons got the best of her. How many others are suffering today similar to Kate without treatment? My bet are millions. Why even this morning another celebrity has sadly taken his own life, Anthony Bourdain. I am sure many of us are wondering why? Why didn't he get the right help? Which leads me back to the elephant in the room - mental health and illness. When are we as a country going to address this issue? What will it take? In the United Kingdom, The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry spearheaded
The Heads Together campaign in 2016 to end the stigma around mental health. After all, Princess Diana, clearly had issues. I am confident, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, will also join this campaign going forward.
It is time for everyone to wake up. Take a moment and try to really understand others, to be there for them and to listen. We can help. We must help. And the moment is now. There are too many people on the streets, too many under duress and too many that are afraid and silent. Let's end this and bring mental health to the forefront. Perhaps the wealthy with foundations can start the endeavor and be the faces of change in our own country. Build more hospitals, fill it with specialists and open the doors to those who need help. And, change the laws so that families can commit a family member before it is too late. Before more tragedies occur to innocent people or leave families bereft in grief.
Finally, let's remember, Kate Spade, for her beauty, kindness and efforts in the fashion world. Regardless of her personal issues, Kate Spade brought so much joy to all of us with her art and her passion. May she rest in peace. And, may her family in time find peace, understanding and acceptance. A bright light lost too soon.