Writing for The Guardian, Vanessa describes her daughter Rosa as “fun, irreverent, stubborn, uncontainable, loving, garrulous, challenging, ingenuous”. She says her daughter had no filter, and always said exactly what she was thinking.
Rosa drowned, when she was just 19, after suffering a seizure while she was swimming.
Six months after her daughter's death, Vanessa found out that Rosa's boyfriend, Adam, had fallen in love with someone else.
While logged into Rosa's Facebook account - something she did to feel closer to her daughter - Vanessa stumbled onto a conversation between Adam and his new girlfriend, Lucie. Vanessa could tell from their conversation that they were in a serious, loving relationship and this just compounded her grief.
"I instantly felt the most unimaginable pain, as if my daughter’s life had meant nothing, as if she had already been replaced," she writes.
In the moment where grief met rage, Vanessa did something she instantly regretted. She quickly typed: "Don’t you think it’s a bit soon to fall in love again?” and hit send. The message showed up in Adam and Lucie's conversation stream as if it had come from his deceased girlfriend.
Vanessa panicked and knew she had done the wrong thing. That night she didn't sleep well at all, imagining Adam seeing this message from his girlfriend who had passed away six months previously.
The next morning she sent Adam a message to apologise: “I’m so, so sorry, I’m so ashamed".
But it wasn't until eight years later, when Vanessa invited Adam over to talk, that they both understood what each other was going through in that moment.
The Grief Episode on The Well. Post continues...
“I shouldn’t have been looking at your private messages. But I was in this weird state of needing a connection with Rosa and, seeing what I saw…the grief was overwhelming…it felt as if everyone was moving on and I was stuck. It was like: ‘Rosa is gone, I want everyone still to be grieving for her'", Vanessa explained to Adam.
Adam told Vanessa that it made him question his relationship, he felt guilty for moving on with Lucie so quickly. But that he never held it against her.
Adam added: “You’d done a Rosa! You jumped in without thinking of the consequences. That’s where she got it from!" and it was in that moment that Vanessa knew Adam had forgiven her.