On my birthday a few years ago, I was prompted by the news of designer Kate Spade’s death to write and share something very personal. A lot of people already knew this about me but I didn’t (and still don’t) really talk about it a lot. I had a fair amount of press at the time, which felt weird, but I rolled with it. I feel like I still have more to say on this subject, but I’m not entirely sure what that is just yet.
But I know that in sharing my story I’ve prevented many other daughters and sons and loved ones from being “left behind.” I know this because people told me that reading my words made them stop their plans. Knowing this helped me to overcome the weirdness I felt about being public with my private pain.
Because it can sound very easy and glib to tell someone to just, “Get help.”
Because finding help is not always easy. And because doing the work that help requires can be messy and painful.
But the getting and finding and work of help in the short term is a lot less messy and painful than the lifetime of guilt and heartbreak your loved ones will experience.
At the time, I received a number of requests from different media outlets to publish my post, but it just didn’t feel right. It has received over 12,000 shares, which is pretty big for a person’s personal Facebook update, but I often wonder if it could have had a greater impact if I’d allowed it to be published elsewhere.
So now I’ve decided to give it a bit of an edit and publish it here on Medium:
The news that designer Kate Spade was found dead by an apparent suicide popped up in my social feeds and I froze. Instantly the coverage turned macabre and focused on the why. She left a note.
I took a slow breath and decided to grab a coffee. I reached into my purse and pulled out my wallet. My stomach flip flopped when I noticed the designer logo: kate spade
You see, tucked inside my Kate Spade wallet is a photocopy of my mother’s suicide note. When we found her, the police had to keep the original note as evidence, before they could officially declare her death a suicide.
I know she wrote other letters to other people, too. But I can’t remember who they were or if they ever received them. I…