In December of 1961, Joseph P. Kennedy senior, the patriarch of the Kennedy family, suffered a stroke that left him virtually unable to walk, speak and perform basic tasks after he was left with the whole left side of his body paralyzed.
As he laid in bed, quietly receiving care and almost fully disabled, he revealed to his family a tragic story in which he, with unabashed cruelty, had played a part: the mental illness and subsequent disappearance of his daughter Rose Marie Kennedy, or put, Rosemary.
What the elderly Kennedy revealed in his sickbed shocked the present family, who hadn’t heard of Rosemary or seen her for the last twenty years.
In 1941, and to ‘heal’ her of increasingly intense mood swings and seizures, she had been subjected to a lobotomy (a procedure in which doctors opened a hole in her skull to operate directly on her brain), which was entirely unsuccessful and had left her unable to speak or walk, much as the Kennedy patriarch was now.
Now, almost sixty years after that day, this sad story of secret and medical malpractice is today much better known. Keep reading as we review ten incredible facts about the suffering life of Rosemary, the forgotten Kennedy.
10 Rosemary's Difficult Birth
In a gesture that would foreshadow her tragic life, things started badly for Rosemary right from the moment she came into this world, in 1918.
Although her mother, Rose, was not inexperienced and already had two other sons (Joseph Jr. and John), something different happened during this birth: a doctor was not immediately available, only a nurse.
She tried to delay the pregnancy until a doctor arrived, resulting in Rosemary remaining in the womb and suffering from moderate asphyxiation, probably causing her development problems later in life.
9 A Troubled Childhood
By the time she was eleven years old (we’re now in the year 1929), she still had trouble learning and mastering reading and writing basics.
This caused the young Rosemary much stress and frustration, frequently expressing her dissatisfaction with her progress.
Her concerned (or rather, merely ashamed) parents sent her to Pennsylvania, to a boarding school for the intellectually challenged.
This would mark the beginning of a long series of stays at similar institutions, dedicated as much to improve her status as to keep her hidden. Slowly, it seems, she was becoming the shame of the Kennedy family.