Below is Rose's eulogy written and delivered by her nephew Andrew Palumbo.
Good morning everyone, and thank you all so very much for being here today.
Rose Martino was born in Cosenza, Italy on June 10, 1953. She was the beloved daughter of Mario and Concetta Martino, a devoted and cherished sister to Sam and Mara, a caring sister-in-law to Albert and a remarkable and loving aunt to myself, and recently she gained a niece in my fiancé Angelica. Not to mention how much she absolutely loved the family dogs Frisco and Darcee.
To give you all a bit of background, my name for my Aunt Rose was Titia. This name arose because as a baby, I was incapable of properly pronouncing the word “Zia”, which in Italian means “Aunt”. I would say “Ti-Ti”, “Ti-Ti”, and from there onwards I always called her Titia, and I think she really liked that I had a special title just for her, as I was her only nephew. Being her only nephew, she spoiled me to no end, always defended me (even when I was wrong) and would sacrifice her life for me if she had to. She had a heart of gold and she was like a second mother to me and she definitely treated me like a son. It's not everyday that an aunt is responsible for providing their nephew with their first car, but in Titia's case this is just one of the many gestures whereby she treated me like her own son.
Titia worked for about 20 years as a dental assistant, and for the remainder of her career she worked as an office manager at a dental office. She was an extremely devout and faithful practicing Catholic that always found time for the Church regardless of the geographic limitations – whether she was in Toronto, Florida, Italy or elsewhere, she would always fit Sunday Mass into her schedule. She even taught me how to pray the rosary, in both English and Italian.
Titia had so many traits that made her a truly special person, and while the list is quite extensive, I'd like to touch on a few that made her very unique to say the least. For starters, she was genuine and honest to a fault, as she was incapable of not speaking what was truly on her mind. Whether you liked it or not, she told you how it was and called a spade a spade.
She was a woman that had incredible taste when it came to fashion and jewelry and she even knew my sense of fashion better than I did! There was only ONE TIME, just once, where she bought me a pair of Nautica jeans that I didn't like, but otherwise, for nearly 30 years she never EVER failed when it came to buying clothes for me. And let me tell you, she is responsible for about half my wardrobe if not more!
Like most women, Titia loved to shop! Every weekend, her and her sister (my mother, Mara) would go to Yorkdale AT LEAST once (their favorite store being The Bay), and they would also ensure to make other pit stops to stores like Shoppers Drug Mart, Michael's, Costco, Dollarama, Metro and anywhere else that had a sale. Her and my mother were best friends, and I know that shopping will never be the same for my mother ever again.
Much like myself, Titia was a person that loved to laugh! One story that immediately comes to mind, especially in consideration of the Christmas season coming upon us, was when I was about 7 years old and I desperately wanted to watch “Home Alone” on Christmas Eve, while everyone else wanted to watch “The Pelican Brief”. Titia made sure that I got to watch Home Alone and even watched it with me so that I wouldn't be by myself, and while everyone else was watching the very serious and intense Pelican Brief, all you heard were outbursts of laughter as her and I watched Home Alone in the basement. Seeing as we're also both very loud, everyone heard us despite being on another floor!
Along these lines, Titia was a very selfless individual and always put others first, especially her family and specifically her mother, my Nonna. She essentially devoted her entire life to taking care of my Nonna (who lost her husband at an age of 66) and not to mention, she also made sure to take care of my Uncle Sam as well, who reaped the rewards of her great cooking and baking. She was such a loving daughter and caring sister. Saturday mornings will never be the same for my Uncle Sam, as he will definitely miss her renowned cappuccinos and egg sandwiches.
The back to school season took on a whole new meaning for my family (and most Italian families I'm sure) – as this is tomato sauce season! A time of the year when Titia's competitive nature really came to the forefront. It was like an annual contest between her and her brother-in-law (that being my father, Albert), to see who can make the most jars of sauce from a single bushel of garden-grown tomatoes. And dad, I hate to say it, but most of the time you lost lol. I know that none of us will be able to look at the garden or a jar of sauce the same ever again.
My aunt was also a very feisty and determined individual that would always set out to do what her mind told her. Namely, she had an astounding ability to return any purchased items, regardless of when it was purchased – days, weeks, months, that didn't matter whatsoever. She gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “Call the manager!” I seriously think she succeeded at every possible return she attempted, and I'm not even exaggerating.
Not many aunts get to see their future niece-in-law make their bridal shower plans OR see them choose a wedding dress. One thing I am so grateful for is that Titia got to see my fiancé Angelica's bridal shower plans, as well as her wedding dress (and she even shed tears when she saw it), because unfortunately now she will not be present for either. Despite that it was a short duration, Angelica and Titia had such a special bond and it makes me ecstatic to know that Angelica met her approval and that she truly loved Angelica, referring to her as her niece to anyone she spoke to. And I know that this is true because she even gave Angelica permission to call her Titia, and believe me, that's a big deal.
Finally, Titia was a very combative person; a fighter that would never back down from something she believed in and would literally do anything for her loved ones. This combative spirit remained with her even in the last days and moments of her life. Her final struggle began with an incarcerated hernia, which then led to septic shock to her liver and kidneys. While she was recovering from the septic shock, she experienced a heart valve infection that she got from the hospital, which caused bacteria to spread throughout her entire body, leading to multiple organ failure and her ultimate demise. When people hear of the suffering that she endured, they are all in complete and utter shock and disbelief, including the doctors that tried to help her!
However, she definitely went down swinging and gave it her all, in spite of how weak she may have been. It was the most inspiring thing that I have witnessed and reminded me of my Nonna, as she went through a very similar fight to remain with us. When I paid tribute to my Nonna 4 years ago, I referred to her as the toughest person I've ever known, and now I definitely see where Titia got her fighting spirit from, as she effortlessly tried to extend her stay with us.
When I think of Titia, the first word that comes to mind for me is “Heroic” – despite that your physical presence with us is gone Titia, your spirit will remain with us forever, as you triumphantly enter the gates of heaven holding your head up high knowing that you led an exemplary life and that you gave it absolutely everything that you had right to the last second, despite your weakness and all of the suffering you experienced, which is no longer the case.
Titia, you are my Hero, and thanking you isn't enough, but keeping you in my heart and mind in all that I do is how I will thank you, by making you part of my life every single day.
I Love you so much and there are no words that begin to describe how much we are all going to miss you.
Dear Mara, Sam, Andrew and Albert,
I was shocked to hear of Rose's passing. I just fund out today. My deepest sympathy to your family. She was such a kind and caring friend. She will be greatly missed by all.
I lived with Rose just about my entire life. The reality still hasn't sunk in. I'm still expecting Rose to walk in the front door loaded with grocery bags yelling for help. I don't know if I'll ever adjust to life without Rose - as far as I'm concerned she'll always be close by.
Rose, I think of you every single day. You're missed, but certainly not forgotten.
I have known Rose for the past 14 years, and she was always kind and had a joke to tell. She brought alot of joy to those around her and the patients at the office. She always made sure that the flowers looked beautiful in the office....amongst many other things to make everyones day brighter. I will miss you Rose, God bless you and your entire family xxoo
I want to express my sincere sympathy to Sam and your family for the loss of your beloved sister Rose.