Maarten van Rossem: ‘Image of deceased sister still on my retina’ | show

Maarten van Rossem (78) was in the NPO Radio 1 program last night Our Man in Deventer extensively on the death of Mary ‘Sis’ van Rossem. He acknowledged that he regretted looking at her after she passed. “It’s much better to try to keep the last living image of a person in your head.”

Sis van Rossem passed away at the beginning of May. Together with her brothers, she was one of the faces of the TV show Here are the Van Rossems. Maarten van Rossem hinted in the conversation with Özcan Akyol that a restart is being looked at for the program. He doesn’t think his sister would mind.

The historian was very candid about her death. “Don’t look at the dead,” he said. ,,I made that mistake with my sister. She was laid off, as it is called. I had been there the last afternoon with her partner. It is discarded and a medical examiner appears. He must find that she is indeed dead. You just never know.”

At that moment Van Rossem is asked if he would like to have a look at his sister. He agreed. ,,Then I went with her partner to my dead sister. It had meanwhile been placed on her back. I didn’t like that. She looked amazingly dead. I also saw my father-in-law dead once. I shouldn’t have looked at that either. Those images stay with you very pregnant. So you’re much better off trying to keep the last living image of a person in your head.”

Then why did he go to see? “They asked that. I hadn’t given it much thought. I thought, why not? But I immediately regretted watching it.” Van Rossem still has that image on his retina, he indicates.


Both my father and my sister passed away unexpectedly

Maarten van Rossem


Van Rossem says: ,,My father also passed away quite suddenly. My mother had dementia for years. Then a heart still beats, but then someone is actually dead. Then when death is mentioned, thank the Lord that she is dead at last. But both my father and my sister passed away unexpectedly. That is a very long process before you get used to it.”

About his father: “I thought for a long time when the telephone rang, that is my father to report that he is not dead at all, but has temporarily gone to France to follow the trail of Van Gogh.” And about his sister: ,,I remember that with the audience of The Smartest Mens a man was wearing shorts. I absolutely hate shorts. I never told my sister that. We visited a museum together in connection with those recordings. And there was a man in shorts walking. And I say, ‘That’s terrible, a man in shorts. It is so distressing, unaesthetic and it should be banned immediately.’ And my sister burst out laughing and she thought the same as I did. Then you see a kind of wonderful totally irrelevant kinship, which is obvious.”

Van Rossem adds: ,,We were of course very similar. There is no one more like me than my sister. It’s also the one I’ve known the longest. Everyone else was already dead.”

Listen here the whole conversation between Maarten van Rossem and Özcan Akyol back.

Also listen to the AD Media Podcast. This week about Khalid & Sophie and Hlf8, good times for Good Times, Bad Times and Maarten van Rossem and Philip Freriks.

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