Loving, caring, outgoing, always thinking of others
Nessie always made others feel special and loved. At 4’11” she was small in size, but with a huge heart. She truly believed that all people deserved to be treated with dignity and respect and be loved unconditionally. She could not accept the bad things the world throws at people. She loved everyone, and they loved her back.
Family was particularly important to Nessie; she had an amazing bond with her mother, and she was her brother’s best friend. Her sister Rachel looked after her more than she knew, and they all miss her terribly. The family sometimes thinks they will wake up and find out it is all a bad dream and find that Nessie is fulfilling her desire of getting her yoga instructor certification and going to massage therapy school.
Nessie loved all animals and enjoyed being outdoors in nature more than anything. Even the smallest slimy garden slug that most gardeners try to get rid of, would not escape her care and concern. Her father said: “I sometimes think she could have picked up a rattlesnake and it would have instantly been her friend.”
When her father, Randy, was asked what he misses most about Nessie, he said: “her hugs and the way she said daddy, and actually… everything.” The most difficult part of living around someone suffering from addiction is “feeling absolutely helpless” and” like somehow you have failed your child.” It was hard to watch such a loving child turn ugly and hurtful when she needed or wanted drugs and know that was not at all our daughter.
Randy states that he had so many misconceptions about substance abuse disorders before living through it with his daughter and says “I have learned what addiction really is”, I have learned to look at the person, not the disease.
Now the family “draws energy from the happy memories, from those moments that let us know without a doubt, that she is still here with us.” They use that energy to spread the message that heroin can get in the way, that heroin can change families forever. They fight every day to end stigma and advocate for change as it relates to people with substance use issues. They continue to be inspired by Nessie’s passionate desire to help others and tell her story, hoping it will save others from the grief of heroin.
Vanessa’s father, Randy Abbott, provided the information for this narrative.
June 23, 1990 – January 31, 2015
Age 24 - Lived with addiction 3 years