We would like to share this unpublished story by Letty Jacinto-Lopez about model, Helena Belmonte’s death .
As always, our thoughts to Helena’s family. Please feel free to share this story!
When the Heart Bleeds
In the following days, further details provided a personal connection. The young fashion model was Helena Belmonte. Her mother is Lorraine Belmonte, a woman with a winsome smile who shared my enthusiasm over Padre Pio, particularly the special relationship he maintained with our guardian angels. Lorraine also serves in the Board of the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (NGF), established by a mutual friend, Jeannie Goulbourn, to raise public awareness against depression and break the shame and stigma associated with it.
I immediately sent a message to Lorraine through Jeannie. Jeannie replied. “I’m with Lorraine, I’ll pass on your message to her.”
“Jeannie,” I continued. “I was extremely shocked and saddened by Lorraine’s loss. No one can imagine what Lorraine is going through, but you can, I know.”
What a blow to find two friends and two mothers who championed the same cause and moved in the same circle, to have to live through the same tragedy. For Lorraine, fresh and wrenching. For Jeannie, a replay of the grief and anguish that once tore her apart.
I googled Helena Belmonte and out came stunning photos of her taken from fashion magazines and photo shoots. Amazing how mother and daughter looked so much alike. There were other comments from bloggers and netizens that were both consoling and kind but also cruel and harsh. Among them:
*Para broken-hearted lang, nag suicide na? Sobra naman ang drama, hindi na uso yan.
*Spare the rod and you have an overprotected child who cannot handle rejection and disappointments.
*When you are in the middle of an episode of depression, you really feel like you are in the pits of despair at mahirap umahon doon ng ganon-ganon nalang. Wala ka nga in your right mind, that’s why she jumped to her death. RIP
*She had a chemical imbalance in her brain. Don’t ever judge a person why she did that. Don’t call her mababaw, baliw, sira ulo, weak. You don’t know what it’s like.
Helena was diagnosed with a bi-polar disorder.
There are many myths* surrounding this ailment. Unlike other afflictions where a combined treatment and prescription program can cure, if not arrest or control the illness, anything that involves the mind can be a shot in the dark. It becomes worse, if the patient feels the humiliation (like those malicious whispers spoken callously), the disgrace and the rejection that surrounds mental disorder. It leaves the person vulnerable. If those around the tormented person stay tight-lipped or dense, it can contribute to her steep descent. Not able to understand the root of her depression, including its symptoms and consequences, she convinces herself that the confusion will quietly go away. That she can zap out the furies, lift the gloom, rein in the blues without outside help or intervention.
Lorraine, it is not your fault. You have done everything in your command to give your Helena the best in life and of life. You will attempt to answer the questions flooding your mind, but even if you’re able to find some answers, you will still not reach any point where you would find comfort. The pain is too raw and too deep. If you can but freeze it so you go numb and deprive the heart of feelings, you would.
It is all right to miss Helena. You may even hark back to the past when she was like your little shadow, never leaving your side, sometimes, cloying like a baby koala.
We cannot turn back the time to undo the helplessness and misery that led Helena to her painful death, but we can help break the myths surrounding mental disorder and therefore mend wounded spirits and save fragile lives.
In time, in God’s time, the rain will stop. You will find the path to healing and acceptance. Believe that it is never, never too late. Become a symbol of hope. Lead many more to welcome and accept Life. It is still worth living, and loving.
You and Jeannie know. It really is.
GET HELP 24/7:
Natasha Goulbourn Foundation’s Hope Line:
(02) 804-HOPE (4673); 0917-558-HOPE (4673)
2919 (toll-free number for ALL GLOBE and TM subscribers); www.ngf-hope.org
*For the article on Suicide Facts vs. Myths by Kate Alvarez, email: email@example.com
Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM)
(02) 894-5932 or 34 www.cefam.ph