My daughter’s death made me do something terrible on Facebook

Overcome with grief when her 19-year-old daughter died, Vanessa Nicolson sent a message to her daughter’s boyfriend that she regretted immediately. Eight years later, she invited him round to explain

How to sum up my 19-year-old daughter, Rosa? A “free spirit”, a “one-off”, “a character”, “she lit up a room”. These were the phrases most frequently used in remembering her after she drowned, following a seizure while she swam on a warm July morning in 2008.

She was indeed a one-off. Fun, irreverent, stubborn, uncontainable, loving, garrulous, challenging, ingenuous. She could be moody and withdrawn, too, but she always said exactly what she thought – sometimes to my acute embarrassment when she revealed things I had voiced in private that I didn’t want repeated. The doctors attributed her “disinhibited” behaviour to the way her brain was wired because of her epilepsy. She never thought: “Oh, I’d better not say that,” she just came out with it.

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