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.


* Our historic year continues
* Just go away, already
* Question of the day
* A look ahead
* Rauner admin backs Senate Dems' federal approp bill
* Today's quotable
* *** LIVE *** Overtime session coverage
* This Just In: Exelon Profits Up 22.2 Percent in 2nd Quarter
* Today's most interesting read
* US Supreme Court agrees to postpone filing deadline in pension case
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser and event list
* Duckworth heads to Israel as hearing held on "whistleblower" case
* Senate moving bill to appropriate federal dollars
* Today's number: 2,000
* The big picture
* Recovering from surgery, Mautino responds to Rauner attack
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Good morning!
* 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

          
        * Moto X Pure Edition (2015) gets several new options on Moto Maker
        * Portable battery bank market expected to be worth nearly $18 billion by 2020
        * Parrot to sell Android Auto head unit to car makers instead of consumers
        * HTC angers users with Fantastic Four push notification ad
        * T-Mobile overtakes Sprint as 3rd largest U.S. carrier
        * Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 leaked ahead of New York City event again
        * Beautiful Galaxy Note 5 hands-on pics leak

        * Alexei Ramirez rises from the ashes
        * Bullpen allows Rays to rally late in opener
        * Ill-fated send home costs White Sox in ninth
        * Rays 5, White Sox 4: Hit 'send' to end
        * Strikeout artists Sale, Archer set to duel
        * Bullpen allows Rays to rally late in opener
        * Prospect Thompson called up by White Sox

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


        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


        * NRC inspecting Illinois uranium-conversion plant after leak
        * Indiana man charged with killing 2 in Chicago in 2013
        * Excerpts from editorials by Illinois newspapers
        * Ex-Rep. Aaron Schock spends campaign funds after departure
        * Dixon man pleads not guilty to murder-for-hire charge
        * Questionable computer files lead to priest's suspension
        * Forecasters confirm tornado struck Chicago-area on Sunday
        * Fireworks replace cannon at Northern Illinois football games
        * EXCHANGE: Uniform store founded by police officer expands
        * Illinois State Fair to host activities for senior citizens

        * Ex-U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock spends campaign funds after departure
        * Illinois Senate taking up plan to spend $5B in federal funds
        * Adult education funding cause for concern, Springfield school superintendent tells board
        * 'Fair share' court decision was a blow, but not a knockout, union says
        * Adult education funding cause for concern, Gill tells school board
        * Rauner declares 23 counties disaster areas, seeks FEMA help
        * Survey: 1/3 of Illinois human service agencies making cuts
        * Rauner signs bill regarding student concussions
        * Lawmakers evade pressure to buckle on budget
        * Statehouse Insider: What took them so long?

        * Baxter spinoff gets $30 billion offer
        * R.R. Donnelley to split into 3 public companies
        * McPier bondholders caught in state budget fight
        * Allstate’s quarterly profit slides 45% as auto losses rise
        * Allstate's quarterly profit slides 45% as auto losses rise


          * Widow of slain Chicago cop weeps as testimony continues at trial
          * Johnsburg man, 41, killed in pedestrian accident
          * Caretakers: Stolen dog found, returned in good health
          * Man armed with knife robs South Loop bank
          * Blagojevich's lawyers ask full 7th Circuit to decide his appeal
          * FBI investigating pair of Monday bank robberies in Oak Park
          * Filing lawsuit, Sandra Bland's family says it's 'possible' she did commit suicide
          * Update: Dog stolen from Heartland Animal Shelter found safe
          * Woman who is bipolar went missing from Gresham neighborhood
          * Fireworks replace cannon at Northern Illinois football games


          * Blagojevich asks full court to hear appeal
          * Ex-U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock spends campaign funds after departure
          * Illinois Senate taking up plan to spend $5B in federal funds
          * Adult education funding cause for concern, Springfield school superintendent tells board
          * Michael Gerson: A great deal -- for Iran
          * Kathleen Parker: Conception deception
          * 'Fair share' court decision was a blow, but not a knockout, union says
          * Rauner declares 23 counties disaster areas, seeks FEMA help
          * Survey: 1/3 of Illinois human service agencies making cuts
          * Rauner signs bill regarding student concussions


          * UI asks students to get mumps vaccine before semester
          * Rantoul Standoff
          * Bodies of man, woman found in Vermilion County; sheriff's investigators on scene
          * 08-04-15 Penny for Your Thoughts
          * Street closures listing
          * UPDATED: Ambulance leaves standoff scene
          * U.S. factory orders advance 1.8 percent in June
          * State workers' twice-dismissed suit against Duckworth spills into Senate bid
          * Dixon man pleads not guilty to murder-for-hire charge
          * Officials probing New Hampshire tent collapse that killed 2


          * U-Haul rejected in Lake Zurich
          * U-Haul gets second chancce in Lake Zurich
          * The Latest: 32 taken to hospitals in circus tent collapse
          * Ex-Illinois Gov. Blagojevich asks full court to hear appeal
          * Attackers from Nigeria kill 9, kidnap dozens from Cameroon

          * 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

          * Steve Cochran Full Show 8/4/15: Party At U......
          * Senator Dick Durbin Explains What Bill He'......

          * State workers' suit against Duckworth spil......
          * State workers' suit against Duckworth spil......
          * Rauner asserts his control of Illinois GOP......
          * State workers' suit against Duckworth spil......
          * Illinois workers' suit against Tammy Duckw......

          * Kirk numbers falling, poll shows; Clinton, Walker lead among Illinois voters
          * Effort to use federal dollars for social services until budget gridlock is resolved gains momentum
          * Chicago's Nation of Islam Calls on Parishioners to 'Kill Those Who Kill Us'
          * Push to use federal dollars to pay for Illinois social services gains momentum
          * White House declares Planned Parenthood videos "fraudulent"
          * President Obama's Clean Power Plan will place huge demands on Illinois' coal industry
          * Obama's Clean Power Plan will place huge demands on Illinois' coal industry
          * Morning Minute: U.S. home prices climbed in May, S&P/Case-Shiller reports
          * IHDA announces new home loan plan in 10 counties
          * New 5th video shows Planned Parenthood lab gathers "intact fetal cadavers"


          * Governor Takes Bill Action
          * Gov. Rauner and Fitness Icon Jake Steinfeld Award Three Illinois Schools for Commitment to Physical Fitness and Wellness Programs
          * Streamlined Nursing Licensure Verification Begins Today
          * Department on Aging Hosts Activities for Seniors and Their Families During the Illinois State Fair - August 17 is “Senior Day” – Admission is free for guests age 60 years & older
          * Illinois EPA Statement on Clean Power Plan Final Rule




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