Fireflies. Among the most mesmerizing creatures. Silver ones? Rare—if not altogether non-existent. On Facebook the late Bianca Felix is ‘Silver Firefly.’ To those who best knew and loved her she was as unique and captivating as her FB ID. Last week, 25-year-old Bianca took her own life. Like so many others I received the shattering news via Facebook, admittedly not always trustworthy. The headline: ‘Suspected Suicide in Trouya!’ I clicked on the link and there she was, absolutely lighting up my computer with the sparkle of youth, looking almost exactly as I remembered her when we were students of the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School. We were not ourselves close friends; but we had friends in common, which is why we nearly always acknowledged one another whenever our paths crossed. News of Bianca’s death hit me hard. I tried convincing myself the report might be a mistake. There could be no denying the sadness I felt. She was so young; younger than me. I tried in vain to imagine what might possibly have led her to take her own life at a time when she should’ve been busting with youthful ambition—looking with great optimism to the future. I thought long and hard about others before her, other young women, who had decided their lives were no longer worth living. I thought about those they had left behind: parents, close relatives, friends. Could it be possible that all of them had failed Bianca in one way or another? Not possible; it had to be something else.
I thought too about vivacious Alisha Hunte; a former carnival queen contestatant and aspiring model seemingly with so much to look forward to. I’d also known her for some time. Her naked body was found in her bathroom. She had been stabbed multiple times. The year 2011; Alisha was just 22. I was then the editor of this newspaper.
As I took in Facebook photos of the crime scene around Bianca’s home, I recalled the circumstances of Alisha’s murder in the same Trouya neighborhood. No one in the area had heard or seen anything unusual, despite that their homes were in some cases mere yards from Alisha’s apartment.
Everything had seemed so normal when I arrived at the crime scene. A nearby bar blasted karaoke. Birds sang their songs and dogs chased each other playfully while people went about their regular business. Everything appeared normal. Except that Alisha was dead.
I imagined it was also business as usual at the scene of Bianca’s death. I imagined, too, there would be the usual mindless gossip, the wild speculations and no serious action on the part of the authorities. I thought about Bianca’s relatives, their grief and their secret acceptance that there would be no answers as to what really had driven Bianca to do what it is claimed she did. After all, in Saint Lucia suicide notes are almost unheard of. Is it just possible declared suicides are actually cover-ups? Reportedly, on Wednesday, March 2 Bianca’s lifeless body was discovered hanging from a scarf attached to her ceiling. How dare people who had never known, let alone cared about the island’s latest suicide victim now post messages about her? You have shown little interest in the possible causes of this sudden spate of suicides in Saint Lucia. When you have spoken at all it was always with political tongues.
Shame on the hypocrites! As for the posted references to “support systems,”—what support systems? Unmanned so-called hotlines; hotlines manned by uncaring and unqualified personnel; stupid remarks from stupid politicians in campaign mode; that’s what passes in Saint Lucia for support systems while the people look on in sheepish silence.
In the comment sections of related news articles and posts I read supposed confessions from scores of people who claimed, for one reason or another, to have contemplated suicide but somehow found the strength to resist.
“Isolation is deception,” wrote one user. “Don’t let the darkness win. You are not alone, and you never will be. R.I.P Bianca.”
“I wish I’d known her . . .” wrote another. “I could’ve said something . . . done something. I would have. We need to do better as a people. We need to care more about each other than about the next viral Internet sensation.” In a post related to years of sexual abuse as a preteen, an unidentified woman confessed to twice having attempted suicide. She reached out to Bianca’s family; offered prayers on their behalf, and positive reinforcement to anyone else who might be thinking about giving up.
“Don’t!” she urged. “Talk to someone. Get a new meaning to life. Do something different. Get away from the things that are causing you pain. Find peace within your situation because no matter what it is, peace is there to be found. It’s not always going to be smooth sailing, but things will get better in time. I was delivered, and you will be too. May you see and be the light here on earth.” Yeah, right!