Top News

Lucy Maud Montgomery suicide revelation lauded


Elizabeth Epperly could have told you years ago that Lucy Maud Montgomery took her own life. But Epperly, a world-renowned expert on the famous author who penned "Anne of Green Gables," never wanted to be the one to make the shocking revelation.

Lucy Maud Montgonerys daughter-in-law Ruth Macdonald, left, and granddaughter Kate Macdonald Butler. Butler recently revealed the long-held secret of her famous grandmothers suicide. File photo/The Canadian Press

Elizabeth Epperly could have told you years ago that Lucy Maud Montgomery took her own life.

But Epperly, a world-renowned expert on the famous author who penned "Anne of Green Gables," never wanted to be the one to make the shocking revelation.

"No, I wasn't tempted to do that," said Epperly, a former president of the University of Prince Edward Island and founder of the L.M. Montgomery Institute.

"I didn't want to do that."

Montgomery's granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler, revealed to the Globe and Mail last week the long-held secret about one of Canada's most beloved authors.

Epperly described as fitting both the source and context of the troubling secret being brought to light.

Butler wrote that reading a series on mental health in The Globe and Mail during the summer inspired her to reflect upon her own family's history with depression. She said despite her grandmother's great success, it is known that Montgomery suffered from depression, that she was isolated, sad and filled with worry and dread for much of her life.

But family never spoke publicly about the extent of Montgomery's illness, until now. Butler said the author of Anne, 19 other novels, personal journals and hundreds of short stories and poems committed suicide at the age of 67 through an overdose.

"I am proud of her courage, given how isolated and lonely she must have felt during certain periods of her life," Butler wrote in the weekend newspaper article.

"I wish that her family or community had had some of the tools that are available today. I expect that most families continue to be bewildered about how to help loved ones who suffer from debilitating depression."

Epperly, who has spoken to Butler on numerous occasions, called her the moment she read the article.

"I said 'Kate, I love the piece, it is so beautiful. I'm so glad you did that. People need to hear that from the family."'

Recent Stories