SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Lucille Arnold Miller “Gramma Cuz” Cousin

Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014

* My grandma died Sunday night. Grandma had been in a nursing home for several years after it became clear that she wasn’t safe living alone, even with family in the same small town and regular visits from a nurse.

I thought I had prepared myself. She was 93 and had been in hospice for over a year. But something has stuck with me from the phone call I got soon after Grandma died.

Grandma’s breathing was labored for a while, then she took a deep, final breath and tears rolled down her cheeks as she passed away.

* Grandma was a huge music fan and told me once that she saw Glenn Miller and his big band. I was blown away by that. I was just starting to get into that man’s awesome sounds (go watch “Orchestra Wives” and you’ll get a real sense for how the kids went crazy for Miller’s music), and Grandma told me how wild and loud the show was and how everybody was dancing their hearts out.

Grandma drove to Nashville numerous times to soak up performances at the Grand Ole Opry She saw everybody, everywhere. I’m convinced that she attended triple the concerts that I’ve ever seen. Grandma’s brother was a guitar player in a country/bluegrass band in Kankakee back in the day, and I’m pretty sure I get my love for music from her.

She loved to dance. And she could cut a rug with the best of them until well into her 80s. The woman stomped on the terra every day of her life.

* Grandma was constantly on the go and traveled all over the place. She came to my high school graduation in Germany. She visited us when we lived in Utah. She went out to California I don’t know how many times. And if she didn’t have a destination, she’d make one by driving around until she found something to do. Maybe a garage sale. Maybe an old friend.

Grandma traveled regularly to her original home near London, Kentucky to see family and friends. They lived in the hills, and Grandma rode a horse to school when she was growing up. She used to tell stories about wearing a buffalo skin blanket in the back of the family car.

She was an unbelievably good cook. I used to go to her house sometimes just so I could beg her to make me some liver and onions - something nobody else could do as well as her. The first time I ever ate rabbit was when grandma cooked it for me. She’d bought it from a co-worker at the General Foods factory in Kankakee.

Grandma worked hard at that factory, which made dog food. She worked hard her entire life, from Kentucky to Kankakee. But I never heard her complain and she made great friends at that factory. We’d always run into them when we went out on the town together. She was one of those special people who seemed to know everybody and everybody loved her. It was like hanging out with a working class celebrity, I kid you not. She had a real presence that everyone around her could feel. People were naturally attracted to her.

* Grandma loved to go out to the taverns with her friends. She wasn’t against going to the riverboats on occasion, either. She didn’t live in a big house, quite the opposite. She wasn’t into conspicuous consumption, except for making sure she always got her hair done just so.

Instead, she wanted to have fun. And, man, did she ever have fun. I once laughed so hard at one of her stories that I dropped my beer can on her floor, which made her laugh. She didn’t drop her beer, though.

* Grandma treated her 22 grandchildren like they were all her favorites. I was the oldest male grandchild, so maybe I got extra special treatment every once in a while. At least, I felt so.

I’m told I’m the one who came up with the “Gramma Cuz” nickname for her. All her grandkids and great grandkids called her that. She was married briefly after divorcing my grandfather and kept her second husband’s name Cousin for reasons I never really asked about. Some things, you just don’t discuss with a lady.

Grandma taught me how to crochet once. I was spending a Christmas break from college with her and we couldn’t go anywhere because the weather was bad. Some of my friends made fun of me when I told them what I did over break, but, truthfully, it wasn’t about the crocheting. It was about spending time listening to my grandmother tell her stories and feeling as close to her as I’ve ever felt to anybody in my life.

* I think I told you already that Gramma Cuz met John F. Kennedy. I believe it was 1959, and my grandfather was a Teamsters guy. He took Grandma to a union event in Chicago and Kennedy put his arm around Grandma, kissed her on the cheek and told my grandfather that he had a beautiful wife. To the day she died, nobody could ever say a bad word about JFK in front of Grandma. Ever.

* Years ago, we were in her kitchen in West Kankakee and we talked for the first and only time about growing old. Grandma got really angry as she explained how she absolutely hated the idea of slowing down with age. She wanted to grab hold of life by the throat each and every day and and have fun, damnit. No slowing down for her. That just wasn’t her way. Aging was an enemy, something to be fought.

Watching her slowly fade away, first at her house and then in the nursing home, broke my heart. When dementia finally occupied her almost non-stop, I had to force myself to go see her. But she always knew who I was, even at her most distant. Her eyes would light up when I walked in and she’d hold my hand. But she was soon gone again, lost in an incomprehensible world that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I knew she was suffering. I knew how much she despised the fate that ultimately overcame her. And so it was almost a relief when she passed. At least she will have peace, were my first thoughts.

But I haven’t been able to stop thinking about those tears running down her cheeks at the end. She’d lost her fight. The fun was truly over. No more traveling, no more new experiences, no more children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, no more crazy fun music, no more of life’s simple pleasures and beauties.

I’ve been haunted by those thoughts for days. But Grandma is indeed finally at peace and no longer suffering. So, I’m trying now to focus on how grateful I am for the love she gave her family, for the example she set of hard work and harder play and for always being there for anybody who ever needed her. She was one of the finest storytellers I knew. It’s not so much what she said, but in how she told those stories. I write a lot like she talked. I’ve been blessed to have her genes.

Grandma’s wake is Wednesday afternoon and her funeral is Thursday. So, don’t expect many posts.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


No Comments

Be the first to comment.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Question of the day
* Stating the obvious
* Oy
* US Chamber plots Zopp support, 10th CD intervention
* Today's quotable
* A $650 Million Day for Exelon
* Potential candidate: Unions "spreading propaganda" about Rauner
* Illinois Mayors Know What's Best For Their Communities
* First Lady's group blasts Gov. Rauner for "devastating policies"
* McCann: I was elected to serve my constituents, not Madigan, Cullerton or Rauner
* Arduin heads for the exit door
* Today's number: 1.1 percent
* Dealing with Pat Quinn's mess
* Today's must-read
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * How to delete individual iMessages or Texts in iOS 8
        * LG unveils unusual roll-up keyboard accessory ahead of IFA
        * Etsy adds local tab to help you discover and support nearby retailers
        * OpenFeint Founder Jason Citron Returns To A Familiar Place With Discord App For Gamers
        * Waiting for that OnePlus 2 invite? An “aggressive invite rollout” is coming
        * Sony Xperia Z5 leaked pics appear to confirm move to 23MP camera
        * Boostcase Review: Bloc Power Bank for Apple Watch Has Unique Built-In Battery, but Isn't Portable Enough

        * Rest of 2015 vital for Avisail Garcia's case for 2016
        * Red Sox 3, White Sox 0: Chris Sale can't do it himself
        * Sale sets career high with 227th strikeout
        * Cooper hopes stint with Sox never ends
        * Boston, Thompson share special bond
        * Sale's solid outing goes for naught vs. Boston
        * Sale sharp over 7, but bats fall silent in finale

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        August 2015
        July 2015
        June 2015
        May 2015
        April 2015
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * 8 treated for Legionnaires' disease at Quincy veterans home
        * US judge will privately review disputed Schock documents
        * Budget expert leaves Illinois without state spending plan
        * Jobless rates fall in all Illinois metro areas in July
        * Illinois State Fair manager: Past attendance data inflated
        * Suspect in Bloomington stabbings spits on judge at hearing
        * Diocese: Peoria priest removed for prior abuse allegations
        * Peoria airport aiming for more international flights
        * City of Chicago pursues case over painkiller marketing
        * SAFB Commander: Efforts to fight cyberattacks should improve

        * Budget consultant may get second contract extension from Rauner administration
        * Judge will privately review disputed Schock documents
        * Budget expert leaves Illinois without state spending plan
        * Gov. Rauner approves Springfield railroad oversight commission bill
        * Federal judge blasts Illinois for not making all ordered payments
        * Rauner approves rail commission bill
        * Illinois State Fair manager: Past fair attendance numbers were inflated
        * Buchen: Past state fair attendance numbers were inflated
        * Health Central makes preparations to open Springfield's first medical marijuana dispensary
        * State layoffs could shut down community garden at Illinois State Fairgrounds

        * Union wins closely watched labor case over who's the boss
        * Deal to develop parkland near Indiana Dunes riles conservationists
        * Rauner CFO leaves Illinois without state spending plan
        * What a Skyway strike could do to your Labor Day plans
        * Here are more details on the Michigan Avenue Uniqlo store


          * Chicago Catholic Schools names new superintendent
          * Second City performances canceled for Thursday after fire destroys offices
          * Emanuel says Biden needs to gauge 'emotional energy' for run
          * 3 wounded in South, West side shootings
          * Geneva man found guilty of killing wife wants sentence reduced
          * Chicago man accused of bomb threat against Concordia University
          * Plaintiff in Tinley Park water meter suit seeking class action
          * Derrick Rose accused in lawsuit of rape; spokeswoman calls move 'desperate takedown'
          * Emmett Till memorial to include family of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown
          * Antioch woman held on $250K bail in fatal motorcycle crash


          * Budget consultant may get second contract extension from Rauner administration
          * Judge will privately review disputed Schock documents
          * J. Fred Giertz: Illinois government: dysfunction by incompetence or by design?
          * Bernard Schoenburg: Tom Madonia Jr. may run against Rep. Sue Scherer
          * Write to us: Tell us your volunteer story
          * Eugene Robinson: How would market chaos affect the 2016 race?
          * George Will: The havoc that Trump wreaks
          * Gov. Rauner approves Springfield railroad oversight commission bill
          * Federal judge blasts Illinois for not making all ordered payments
          * Illinois State Fair manager: Past fair attendance numbers were inflated


          * PBL schools on soft lockdown after students hear possible threats
          * 08-27-15 News-Gazette Prep Sports Podcast @ngpreps
          * Police trying to help man with car discover gun, 30 pounds of marijuana, $21,000
          * Max Armstrong's Tractor Ride 2015
          * Ambulance workers accused of using credit card of patient being transported
          * Judge reinstates motion on evidence in Salaita suit
          * Shackelford not cleared to play
          * List limits booze sales for Illinois city's habitual drunks
          * Union, Mitsubishi negotiate in hopes of plant being bought
          * Peoria airport aiming for more international flights


          * Guatemalan prosecutors urge president to resign amid scandal
          * Stephanie Ready becomes full-time female NBA game analyst
          * Rays 1B Loney drops appeal of 1-game suspension
          * Wilson says he did not have a concussion in NFC title game
          * Arlington Heights District 25 welcomes students back to class

          * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
          * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
          * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
          * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
          * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
          * CBD Oil, and politics
          * Simon considering state Senate bid
          * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
          * Shutdown? State may not notice
          * Rep. Bob Dold

          * Bustos to back Iranian pact: 'best path fo......

          * An unrealistic plan for wastewater overflo......

          * Di Leo: Government's Wasteful Spending, from the Forest to the Trees
          * Senator Duffy endorses McConchie over Sauer to succeed Rep. Ed Sullivan
          * New study reveals that Illinoisans pay a second mortgage in property taxes
          * Multiple sex allegations ... and counting; Josh Duggar turns to Illinois for help
          * Q2, 2015 Top Lobbying Organizations
          * DuPage County Board member Tonia Khouri to challenge Foster for 11th CD seat
          * Televangelists Gonna Televangel
          * The [Thursday] Papers
          * Proft: Illinois By The Numbers: 66
          * Thorner: Illinois Forum prods Illinois Government in New Direction - Part 1


          * Governor Rauner Requests SBA Assistance for Grundy, Iroquois Counties - Declaration would help people and businesses affected by summer storms with low-interest, long-term loans to help with recovery
          * Respiratory Illness at Illinois Veterans’ Home-Quincy
          * Honoring Illinois' Fallen - United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Thursday, August 27, 2015 until Sunset, Saturday, August 29, 2015.
          * Honoring Illinois' Fallen - United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Friday, August 28, 2015 until Sunset, Sunday, August 30, 2015.
          * Governor Takes Bill Action




              Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller