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Rosemary’s Obit

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Rosemary, the queen of Halloween in her natural habitat (part of the garage converted to a dungeon the night of Halloween, 2015).

My mother-in-law passed away on Tuesday afternoon at the age of 76. She was a complicated woman. As I’ve alluded to in the past, her declining health was a factor in the summer-long hiatus of eWillys.

Between the pandemic, her cancer and her COPD, the last two years have been full of medical appointments, oxygen machines, 911 calls, drug management, and patient management. Two Christmas’s in a row have been interrupted with Emergency Room visits.

Much of the work (and frustrating grief) fell into the hands of my wife, Ann, who, through the deaths of her sister and father (both from Huntington’s disease years ago …. a terrible way to go), along with the deaths of several other relatives, has become someone of an expert in palliative (end of life) care, especially related to COPD and/or congestive heart failure. She was a huge asset to my father during his last years and I’ve learned a great deal from her about end of life issues.

My MIL was both grateful for our help and critical of our help during her ill years, because she could be critical of most anything. One of her favorite statements was, “whoever designed this [whatever it was] should be dragged out and shot.” We heard this more and more as she got more and more confused about technology and life; but she was certain she was right and the designer of said service/item was wrong. In fact, she was usually right about everything, whether she was actually right or not.

Her ability to rewrite history was one of her strengths. In 2017, we’d only been gone one day on our trip to Alaska when she burnt up the microwave by over-cooking a potato, which set it and the microwave on fire (she was a terrible cook). She called our neighbors for help, so they helped her get it unplugged and made sure it was safe. Despite the evidence (I had to replace the microwave when we returned home) and the witnesses, our neighbors, Rose would later claim, all the way to the pearly gates, that she never caught the microwave on fire. In fact, I suspect right now she’s arguing with God about that ….

She was not a touchy, feely kind of person. We didn’t hug. In fact, I hugged her for the first time last week when I had to pull her up from her bed and pivot her onto her commode. She struggled with interpersonal relationships, though for what reasons they were difficult for her I can’t say.

Instead of people, she like media and technology. She lived for years on her couch and ran her TV 24/7, usually staying up all night as she never had ‘normal’ life hours. She was constantly ‘working’ using her laptops or iMac, though ‘working’ consisted mostly of recording videos or playing games. I am typing her obituary on a brand new MacPro that she bought last year, but never used (she was too confused by that time to set it up). It has an 8 terabyte internal hard drive that she planned to use to store some of the movies and tv shows she’d recorded. She had four additional remote hard drives totaling about 20 terabytes that are filled with recordings. We are also awash in DVDs, video tapes, and other media she created (for which we don’t have any use). She put thousands of hours into recording shows, though we never understood why.

Among her favorite media tools was her DJI drones and her Osmo (a type of digital recorder), all of which seemed to give her more grief than pleasure. Now that she has passed, I can literally finally touch and use them (I didn’t dare touch them while she was alive; oh the grief I would have gotten if something went wrong). I hope to get them all working, especially her DJI Inspire, as that’s a professional quality drone. We can use them to make some great videos of our new place.

Rose also loved Halloween. Moreover, she loved to buy Halloween decorations. I kid you not when I say a fourth of our big storage area in the shop is filled with Halloween decorations. She had so many that we couldn’t put them all out at the old house. Her place became a favorite place to for the neighborhood folks to visit on Halloween. She spent hundreds of dollars on candy.

Of course, with Rose, there was always a catch. In this case, for years, she insisted that all decorations must go up the day of Halloween and come down the night of Halloween. Needless to say, we began to dislike Halloween more and more, because Rose did less and less to help us as she got weaker and weaker. Thus, when we bought the new place and learned the previous owners never got trick or treaters, Ann and I weren’t all that upset at the news. Apparently, the new owners of our old Pasco house really like Halloween, so we plan to see if they want to have the decorations. We think Rose would have liked that.

All the aforementioned said, one my MIL’s final acts was a generous one. When we found our new place and had a chance to move this spring, she knew it was time to make the move, despite the fact that she loved her house and that she’d paid it off. Though never stated, she understood that her house wasn’t Ann’s and my future, but that the new place in Prosser could be. So, she helped make our dream possible (and make caring for her a little easier, due to the one-level, no-step design). But, that didn’t stop her from complaining that none of the furniture we used in the living room was hers (except that the couch, table, side tables, chairs, desk, lamps, throw-carpet and two paintings were all hers … don’t try to make sense of any of that, we never could).

Rose was unforgettable in her own way, stubborn to a fault, immovable as granite, opinionated as they come. For the first time in our relationship, Ann and I are living without Rose. Our obligation to her is complete and now Ann and I can enjoy our relationship and our decisions about dinner, decorations, vacations, and changes without Rose’s ever present opinions. So, though we are sad for her and to see her life end, we are also excited about our future. The best is ahead of us. RIP Rose.


24 Comments on “Rosemary’s Obit

  1. Joe in Mesa

    My sincerest condolences to Ann and you, Dave. RIP Rose. Quite a complicated woman; thanks for sharing her story and your challenges. On a lighter note, I’m really looking forward to seeing drone footage of the new “Prosser Estate” (eWillys World Headquarters). Wishing you both all the best, peace of mind, and happiness moving forward, having done the best possible through a very tough time.

  2. Allan J. Knepper

    Dave and Ann…….our condolences for your loss of Rosemary……I’m sure this has been a very heavy journey for all of you. Your post was so well written that even as a reader……..much less a participant like you and Ann……I actually felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders !
    My brothers and I worked to keep our mother in our birthplace home until at age 100 she fell and broke her hip and went to assisted living. In that facility there was still a great burden for us as caregivers……..and this was all pre Covid.
    As I am typing this, I took a break from watching my wife get a blood platelet transfusion to continue her battle with advancing severe aplastic anemia. I am in the entry/lobby area of the medical facility watching literally a steady stream of people being unloaded and re-loaded by family and caregivers. We all need to make each and every day count…….get in that Willys …….get outside……..have some fun !!

  3. Stephen Lee Adams

    Dear Ann & Dave,

    Sorry for your loss, but really you both did your duty. Now Mom is released from duty as well and you will move forward in a different manner. Both of you are so loving. I know, according to your great obituary, that dealing with Mom was usually a struggle. Do attempt to remember to great things about Rose and leave the poor things in the past. For you both, lots of pain, suffering, and yet through the storms a bit of wonderment. And now with your new digs you seem to have the room to spread out a bit and follow your dreams a tad better. You have shared so much of your lives and I am a better person for that. Much love and admiration for you both and your ones who have passed on. S.

    Stephen Lee Adams

  4. David Rosenbaum

    Dear Dave and Ann,
    I am sorry for your loss and may Rose rest in peace (and perhaps soar without the limitations of life on Earth.)
    Your love and care are monumental.
    All best to you as your adventures together continue!

  5. JohnfromSC

    Dave, God bless you and Ann for your years of unselfishly supporting family members. You can live with peace now, never looking back and thinking “I shoud have” because you DID.

    I can relate because my wife unselfishly managed her very ornery and not loving father’s care for over 10 years after he had a stroke and until his passing. The irony is that this year, with my wife being 65 and many years after his passing with no living relatives, she discovered through DNA tests that he wasn’t even her biological father. Tough, but no regrets.

  6. Colin Peabody

    Dave and Ann-

    We send our deepest sympathy and condolences on the passing of Rose. I know you both did everything in your power to make her life as easy as you could. It seems that as we age, our minds work in mysterious ways, and we make life miserable for those who love and care for us. With the onset of dementia/Alzheimers, it becomes more noticeable and difficult to deal with. We have experience in that area with my father and Lillian’s mother. Her mind was still sharp, but she was a hypochondriac of the highest order, so everything was wrong with her physically until the end when she had a stroke 25 years ago. My dad had Alzheimers and got to a point where he only knew my wife and I but no one else and you didn’t dare disagree with him, as he would get upset. That is the way with those who have that disease. In their mind, they are right. Best not to disturb them in their “correctness.”
    While we love them and miss them, we will go on and you will find that you will miss her questionable habits, her critical attitude and other memories she made stand out in your lives, but you will go on to better lives for you and Ann as well as everything you do or plan to do in the future.

    Colin & Lillian Peabody

  7. Steve S.

    Dave & Ann,
    Sorry for your loss. You are in my family’s thoughts and prayers as you go through this difficult time. Mother’s in law are challenging in the best of times, you have articulated your loving relationship in spite of the worst of times.

  8. Ed Lee

    Dave. Both you and Ann have been Saints. As like most of us, I have followed along enjoying ewillys and sharing your life’s struggles with aging parents. Both of you should be proud of the way you kept your parents in the home and nurtured them until their time to pass came. The obit was very well written and is another example of why you have such a large following. Now begins a new chapter in your life.
    Ed Lee

  9. Michael Dreuth

    As always I enjoy your commentary on all things Jeep, and the aspects of your life. May your new life be filled with adventure and hapiness.

  10. SteveK

    We’ll all be there sooner than we imagine or hope for. Hopefully those around us will be understanding and compassionate with us too. RIP Rose, as you’ll be missed soon with the “memories” and “changes without you”.

  11. Searle Roscoe

    I am so Sorry for your loss .

    We just went through the Same thing with my Father and Step Mother in the Past year. I understand it totally with what we went through. It took our every waking moment and was very hard on everyone.

    It is Hard but it will get better.

  12. Marty Tilford

    Sorry to hear about her passing. You both are in our thoughts. Im glad that you were able to take care of her till the end at home. I think that is what most people would want.

  13. Mark

    Thank you for sharing your life and heart felt words on this site. Please except my condolences and prayers.

  14. David Eilers Post author

    Thanks for the kind thoughts everyone. It seems many of the eWillys readers are on the older side and are facing these challenges. It’s why I share my stories about them.

    Searle: Sorry to hear about your Father and Step Mother.

    JohnFromSC: Wow, that must have been a big surprise!! Life can be full of unexpected turns.

    Allan: I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. I hope the transfusions continue to go well.

  15. Mark Far

    My best to you and Ann, the loss of a loved one is very hard but as long as you remember her she will live through your memories. I hope you can remember the funny stuff and that you two can laugh together.

  16. Bob

    Condolences on your loss and to Ann too, sounds like her mother died way to young.

    I feel your pain on the parental thing, my parents are both 91. I have taken to answering the phone when my dad calls with “What is today’s complaint?” I love the old geezer but they can be hard on your psyche.

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