Mother who committed suicide posts photo showing her preparing to kill herself; family struggles to have photo removed
Pamela Bryce-Elarabi took her own life on June 23 in New Jersey hours after she posted a picture (not the ones above) showing her getting ready to kill herself
The family of a mother-of-two is absolutely livid that social media platform Facebook did not remove a disturbing photo of herself that she had posted moments before she committed suicide. (Editor's note: Meaww has chosen not to use the photos out of respect for her family and friends).
Pamela Bryce-Elarabi took her own life on June 23 in New Jersey hours after she posted a picture showing her getting ready to kill herself on her Facebook page. The picture was reportedly so disturbing that her sister Gillian Luchejko called their brother and asked him to go to her house at once and check on her. However, friends of the woman had already seen the post and sent the authorities and paramedics to her home in Hillsborough.
Elarabi, who was a yoga instructor, was taken to the hospital soon after the paramedics arrived at her home but died after the rest of the family made the decision to stop life support. Some of her closest friends had written in the comments section of her Facebook page that she had reportedly hung herself. Her sister told Market Watch that they were constantly receiving messages from worried friends who saw the image that the yoga instructor had put up online.
"People kept texting us, asking what was going on, and what the Facebook post was about. And I was thinking, 'I can’t answer you right now because she is dying'. Everyone felt helpless," she said.
The family said that they contacted the social media company many times to take down the image and there were reportedly 200 of Elarabi's friends who also reported it to administrators. The company, however, did not take it down. The image was at the top of the yoga instructor's page for almost three days after she died. Finally, her 26-year-old daughter hacked into her account and deleted the post.
Luchejko told the news outlet: "It was very traumatic for her. Her children are now traumatized because this is the last image they saw of their mom – they can’t remember her the way she was."
According to her, the comments section of the post was flooded with people supporting the family before it was removed. Others in the comments also criticized the family for not helping the yoga instructor through the divorce she was reportedly going through. Elarabi was also said to have been suffering from depression her whole life.
The sister said that one of the comments read: "Why wasn’t anyone there for you?" Another user posted: "We all let you down". Another post that Luchejko said was in the comments section was that suicide was a selfish choice. The sister said that some of the comments were particularly hard for the children to see. She said: "You don’t know what is happening off of Facebook. Facebook is not reality. Sometimes people don’t understand that. Obviously, if someone is suicidal, they have gotten to a point of no return, and it’s really hard to get them back."
The distraught Luchejko said that the social media website needs to have a more comprehensive way of allowing people to report disturbing posts and images on the site. She said: "They are looking at whether we get fake news or spam, not inappropriate posts or what to do in a situation that is dire. Why isn’t there anyone to contact directly? Why isn’t there a customer service phone number to say this is an emergency? It just shows Facebook does not care about their customers."
A spokesperson for the company told the Daily Mail that they could not talk about Elarabi's case specifically because the photo has been removed from Facebook. The Help Center on the site lists some steps that users should take if they or anyone they know is having suicidal thoughts. According to the guidelines, users are supposed to call the law enforcement immediately and then also call the person they are worried about.
According to Elarabi's Facebook page and what her sister has told reporters, some other posts from the day of the yoga instructor's suicide is still up on the page including one that she posted at 8:25 p.m. This was just 30 minutes before the woman took her own life. The post said: "F*** THIS". Earlier the same day, she posted another status which seems to speak to her friends and family.
It said: "I am trying to keep cool… I have never been this upset in my life… I’m at a complete loss." She had also put up multiple pictures over the course of the day with her trying out different yoga poses. She was also spotted at the Solstice Yoga Fest in New York City.
Many friends even commented on the pictures talking about how happy she looked. In an emotional post that she put up last month, Elarabi spoke of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade's suicide and she asked for anyone who was suffering from depression to get the help they need.
She wrote: "First Kate Spade… then Anthony Bourdain?!?! Take it from someone who suffers from Major Depression Disorder and Anxiety… there IS help for those days when you just can’t take it anymore. Those who know me well know that I’ve been that route and am currently suffering through a very bad part (in) my life, however, I refuse to be a statistic. Reach out for help… there are facilities everywhere! Contact me!!! Anything but the “easy” way out… please!! That’s never easy for anyone."
The rest of the family has said that they are not going to have a funeral for the yoga instructor. Instead, they are going to honor her in a private memorial on September 3, which was supposed to have been her 50th birthday. Luchejko said: "She never believed that she was loved, which I think was part of the problem. Now, there are a lot of people reaching out. It’s nice to know about all the people that loved her, the outpouring is just wonderful."