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Question of the day

Wednesday, Jun 4, 2014

* I received several calls, texts and e-mails yesterday after writing about the life and death of my grandmother. I knew some of the folks who reached out, I didn’t know others. Thanks to everyone for their sympathy and for their admiration of a woman I adored, respected and loved. Many of them also shared their own stories about loss and grief and hope.

I closed comments on the post because my feelings about Grandma’s death were just too raw. I didn’t want to discuss it. I wrote what I wrote and that’s that.

But some of the replies I received yesterday were so beautiful and touching that I figured we should do something about that today. So…

* The Question: Did yesterday’s story make you think of one of your own family members? Tell us about that special person, please.

* By the way, this is Grandma’s obit in the Kankakee Daily Journal

Lucille Arnold Miller “Gramma Cuz” Cousin, 93, of Martinton, passed away Sunday (June 1, 2014) at Sheldon Healthcare.

She was born Oct. 13, 1920, in London, Ky., the daughter of George and Etta Arthur Arnold. Lucille was married to LaVerne Miller from 1938 to 1963 and Maurice Cousin from 1964 to 1965. After they were married, she farmed with her husband in Limestone Township. She retired from General Foods, Gaines Division, and had previously worked at Bear Brand Hosiery, both in Kankakee.

She loved her children and their families more than anything else. She enjoyed traveling, whether to Europe, throughout the U.S., or on the roads around the Kankakee area. She was a great storyteller, providing facts and remembrances such as staying warm under a buffalo robe in the family’s open touring car and riding her horse to school along with her brother, Welty. The details she provided made her stories come alive to those who would sit and listen, learn and remember. A good joke and a hardy laugh were her trademarks.

A lifelong Cubs fan, she tried to attend at least one game a year in Chicago. She enjoyed going to the “boats” once gambling opened up in Illinois. And, she was an expert dancer who could keep up with the younger generations until her early 80s. Her hobbies included spending time with family, reading, crocheting, talking on the phone daily and doing word puzzles.

Surviving are sons, Richard Wayne (Barb) Miller, of Geneseo, Dennis Ray (Lynne) Miller, of Bradley; daughters, Phyllis Ann (Gary Billadeau) Redman, of Kankakee, Marilyn Rose Schultz, of Watseka, Marsha Lynn (Marlon) Gersky, of St. Petersburg, Fla.; sisters, Dora, Dorothy and Mardene Arnold, all of Watseka; brother-in-law, George Wingerter, of Martinton; best friend, Pearle Peterson, of Chicago Heights; and 22 grandchildren.

Lucille was preceded in death by her parents; one son, Vernon Luther “Bill” Miller, of Martinton; two brothers, Welty (Martha) and George “Berle” Arnold, of Kankakee; four sisters, Gertrude (Everett) Martin, of Pittsfield, Tevis Wingerter, of Martinton, Edith Palmero, of Kempton, and Velma Blanton, of Crete.

Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Clancy-Gernon-Hertz Funeral Home, west Kankakee, where funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday. Burial will be in Kankakee Memorial Gardens, Aroma Township. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Arc of Iroquois County.

They just had to get that Cubs reference in there.

* My Great Aunt Mardine (Grandma’s sister) has Down Syndrome and has been in an Arc of Iroquois County CILA for the past few years. They make some really cool furniture, which you can check out by clicking here. Aunt Mardine loves the programs the organization provides. You can donate to The Arc of Iroquois County by clicking here. Thanks.

* Also, I’m leaving for the wake in a few minutes, so don’t expect any posts the rest of the day. Grandma’s funeral is at 10 o’clock tomorrow, so I doubt there will be any posts Thursday, either.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


48 Comments
  1. - John A Logan - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    Made me think of my Grandfather Maurice. He was a union coal miner and former state police officer. Could throw a wicked knuckle ball and was a prolific deer hunter. He also collected depression glass, BB guns, and books about the old west and the mafia. Tough as could be, and I miss him greatly.


  2. - Stones - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    Nice piece you wrote about your Grandmother. I lost my own Grandmother in 2002. Although she was born on a farm in 1906 without electricity & indoor plumbing I think of how remarkably progressive she was as the world changed around her. I can only hope that I’ll adapt as well as she did but somehow I don’t think so.


  3. - BMC - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    Peace Be with you my old friend, my Deepest Condolences to you and your family at this time.

    Peace


  4. - Mokenavince - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    Were all a lot poorer when we lose a Grandparent.
    Made me think of my grandfathers Carlo and Vincenzo. Carlo worked the Devlin coal mine in Toluca Il. He died from black lung but the time I spent with him was always great.
    Vincenzo worked at Wisconsin Steel in Chicago, always claimed to get to the U.S. in 19 0 10.
    Neither one of them spoke real good English, but both taught me how to work,laugh and love.
    I miss them every day.


  5. - Name Withheld - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 12:12 pm:

    Thoughts and prayers, Rich. Sounds like she had a great life.


  6. - John Culpepper - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    I appreciated your tribute to your grandmother. It was very touching and I felt myself getting a lump in my throat as I read it. Yesterday, I went to a wake for a 90 year old friend of mine. She was also an ex-employee of mine going back to the days when I once was in business. Coincidentally, I used to live across the street from her when I was 4 or 5 years old. I was about 25 years her junior. She was very bright, witty, and extremely independent. The word “perky” probably best describes her. The last few years of her life as a widow she was impacted by cancer and dementia. Eventually, she came to live in a place that could help her daughters with her care.
    Your description and remembrances of your grandmother would have made her proud that she had a grandson that could allow others to know “who she was and why she was so relevant” to so many people whose life she had managed to touch in a positive way. Thanks for sharing your personal situation with me, Rich. It helped me cope with losing a good friend as well as getting to know more about another good woman who recently left us.


  7. - James the Intolerant - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 12:14 pm:

    It made me realize I need to spend more time with my Mom.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 12:42 pm:

    I was ridiculously blessed to have all four of my Grandparents well into my adulthood and for me to choose one of those 4 would break my heart.

    I was also blessed to have one Great-Grandfather be around for my entire childhood, so I think my 4 grandparents would be fine with me choosing to share about him, and not be forced to choose among 4 incredible people who shaped my life.

    Now my “GG” (Great Grandfather) was one interesting man. He was on a “cattle boat” in the middle of the Atlantic on Armistice Day, 1918, and never facing the enemy in Europe. He returned to work on a railroad, riding freight trains and helping grow the reach of the lines. He had 5 children, and lived in a 3 bedroom house, maybe 900 square feet. He saw. 2 sons go to war, sent one daughter to be a nurse on the East Coast. The boys returned home, and the 3 men helped run their local American Legion, each of the three holding every role a Post had.

    He was very civic minded beyond the Legion. As all 3 then worked in one of the town’s factories, they managed many aspects of the business, including being good corporate neighbors well before it was trendy. Often it was he who both parties sought advice, or at times, may not wanted to hear. He wrote “Dear Editor” letters very often. One letter is by far the coolest. He wrote a very interesting letter that explained how he had voted for Nixon twice, and why. While making the case for those votes, explained why Watergate made him have regret for his votes, and why it’s so important that the trust in government is as important as the results government yields.

    He was beloved enough that the town, business leaders, political leaders, wanted him to chair a bicentennial celebration of the town. They felt his leadership, sense of history, respect, and warmth would be what would be needed for the entire town to rally around this endeavor. He succeed.

    All above was wonderful abc I don’t mind bragging on him, but his greatest achievement was his family, his 5 kids and beyond. He read to keep up with current events happening everywhere, and could drop a pop culture reference with the best of them. But he did that for his kids, Grandkids, to be someone in their lives, and to be part of society for himself.

    He still is a role model. I take my family to that town and although the “kids” he knew are now leaving this earth, he left his mark there, and his family name is respected because of him, and the family he raised. Powerful stuff.

    I think of him quite often, seeing horse and buggies to space shuttles, but his impact on his family, and that role model spans more than just time.

    I miss him.


  9. - ah HA - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    I convey my most sincere condolences Mr. Miller.


  10. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    My grandma died last June. I miss her dearly and I think of her every day. One blessing was that she got to know both of my boys. It was always sweet watching her give each great-grandson a soft kiss and a gentle wave hello or goodbye.


  11. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    Made me think of my grandmother who was a prolific reader and a deep lover of cats.

    but I do want to take this opportunity to say, Rich, that your post was beautiful, filled with magic and meaning, and love. Thanks for posting it because it was raw and real and that is rare in this world.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    My sincere condolences to the Miller family for their loss.

    Your touching tribute, Rich, indeed made me think harder on the family influences I had in my life, and your “Gramma Cuz” was a wonderful woman and a wonderful influence on you, and you have my deepest sympathy.


  13. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    My deepest condolences to Rich and his family for the loss of his beloved grandmother. The part that almost made me cry yesterday, in her obituary, was when she cried her last tears.

    This makes me think of my father, whom I lost not too long ago. He succumbed to a long illness, and I was the last family member to see him in the hospital alive, the night before he passed away.

    I asked him if he was afraid, and he said, “Not at all.” I’ll never forget that, nor will I forget his courage as he battled his illness.

    I’ll never forget that at the end of his life, when his body was wracked with the illness, he continued to work, limping down the street and up the stairs when coming home from work. He was a cab driver and medallion owner, and he loved that job.

    I was the CEO of my family’s taxi medallion corporation for a short while, so I was a “job creator.” It was only a family business, but I think we did a great job in complying with the rules and (gasp!!) regulations.

    My father was from the “old country,” and he was a contrarian. He loved to argue seemingly just for the sake of arguing. He loved to meet with his friends and fellow cab drivers at O’Hare Airport cab staging area, waiting for fares. He would argue and debate with them.

    Though he loved to argue, my father had a heart of gold and was the most generous person I’ve ever known (beside my mother, of course!).

    When he was in the hospital for the last time, he said he couldn’t wait to get back out there and drive his beloved cab.

    I miss him and his love.


  14. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    I lost my mother in 1998. I was reminded of her by the comments you made, Rich, about your mother’s love of dancing. My mother would make the trek to the “Corn Palace” in Mitchell SD, during it’s heyday in the 30s and 40s for the dances held there - not something her parents would have approved of.

    My mother raised 4 children all while attending college seeking the education that was derailed by her parents and WW2. She completed her Phd in the mid 80s and went to work creating an art therapy program that exists to this day. A farmer’s daughter, she helped my sister and family with their dairy farm in Wisc. She fostered a love of learning in all us kids, passing her artistic talent to my sister and younger brother. I missed out on that but ended up with her gearhead talents - my mother would help her father fix and maintain the farm machinery. My mother used to tell folks I was born with dirt under my fingernails. I miss her very much.


  15. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    I’m sorry, I meant to refer to your grandmother’s love of dancing, Rich. Your description of your wonderful grandmother is very moving. We live enriched lives when we cherish our loved ones.


  16. - Lou Lang - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    Rich, am so very sorry for your loss.


  17. - Motambe - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    Condolences to you and your family, Mr. Miller. Grandparents are our windows to the past and through their history help us better understand our current and future challenges.


  18. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    Sincerest condolences to you and your family. Having had many colorful characters in my family, I understand the hole that is left when they are gone. I keep them alive by sharing their stories. Though death is a heartache nothing can heal, memories are treasures even death can’t steal.


  19. - 3rd Generation Chicago Native - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    Your Grandma would have been proud at how you remembered her and wrote about her. It was a very good tribute.
    Sorry for your loss, she was obviously a very special unique lady.


  20. - Jak Tichenor - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    Rich,
    I’m very sorry to hear about your loss. What a loving tribute you gave her here yesterday. No doubt some of her storytelling talent rubbed off on you.

    I was reminded of my own Grandma Molly on my Mother’s side of the family. She was a farm wife from eastern Tennessee who settled with Grampa Jack on a farm just west of Bloomington on Route 9 back in the late 1920s. Although he was a very skilled farmer, Molly was the “brains” of the whole operation because Jack never attended school to learn to read and write having been farmed out as hired hand as a child back in the ‘teens. She did all the books and kept track of everything that was needed to keep the farm going from buying seed to doing the taxes. Their farmhouse was converted from an old schoolhouse and it was always neat as pin and filled with all the crafts she loved to create from the many magazines she read. She was a terrific cook who served up huge quantities of food on Sundays when all the kids and grand kids would congregate at the farm to race go-karts and motorcycles. She was always trying out new recipes and I still serve her tater tot, ground beef, and cream of chicken casserole with pride. She was very loving with all of us grand kids and I’ll never forget her wonderful southern accent and the way she said TAIN’-ah-SEE for Tennessee and “crick” for creek. We always felt safe and loved at the farm and just writing these few words really takes me back to an unforgettable time in my life and a truly unforgettable lady. God Bless you Gramdma Molly.


  21. - John M - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 2:12 pm:

    Rich, I met your grandmother in 2004 while knocking on doors with Lisa Dugan. She was such a sweet lady that we must have talked with her for 45 minutes. I still remember this chance meeting to this day. My thoughts are with you and your family.


  22. - x ace - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    Outstanding representative of our ” Greatest Generation”


  23. - Been There - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    Rich, sorry for your loss. It’s was a really lovely tribute you wrote for your gram. It made me think of both my grandmothers. One long gone and the other still doing really well at 96. She still drives and remembers things better than I do, especially birthdays and anniversaries. And never skips bringing arrangements out to the cemeteries. If anything your story hopefully kicks me in the behind to call and see her more often. Thanks for sharing.


  24. - Siyotanka - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    Reminded me of my mother. I was at her bedside when she passed, and held her hand as she took her last breath on this earth…she was there for me when I took my first…So, what goes round came around. Peace to you Rich.


  25. - Matt Jones - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    Thanks Rich for sharing. I tried to send you an email but my technology wouldn’t oblige. I was thinking of my Gramma Hattie, who grew up in the mountains of Tennessee around Chattanooga. She had a sixth grade education (at best) and was as appalachian as they come. But I adored her homemade biscuits and gravy and I loved playing gin rummy with her. I always knew when she was about to go out on my, because she had a diabolical twinkle in her eye. That’s what I miss most about Gramma Hattie, that twinkle. Thanks Rich for letting me share this with you, as you shared Gramma Cuz with all of us.


  26. - littleone - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 3:47 pm:

    I’m very sorry for your loss, Rich.

    Siyotanka, what a beautiful sentiment.


  27. - LisleMike - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 3:51 pm:

    My own grandmother introduced me to the White Sox and Republican Politics. When I was at U of I, I dated a girl who turned out to be the granddaughter of my grandmother’s Democratic Rival. My aunt laughed and said grandmother would be turning over in her grave. She asked me if I ever noticed that the road in front of the farm house was tar except in front of our house which was gravel? I said I hadn’t. Grandmother’s rival was also the road commissioner. He offered to pave if grandmother would stop fighting him and the Democrats. She told him she would eat dust til the day she died before giving in to him. The week after she passed, the gravel road was tarred.
    True story…I admired her for her conviction!


  28. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 4:19 pm:

    I’m sorry for your loss. Treasure the memories…


  29. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 4:54 pm:

    Reminded me of my mother, who just passed away in January. She worked 45 years at the State, then put in more years in a related field in private industry. She was more active as a retiree than most people who work. I didn’t realize the full extent until I was cleaning out her home office this past week. Long term volunteer at both St Johns and Sangamon Auditorium, served as Secretary and/or Treasurer for numerous civic and women’s organizations in Springfield, etc. In between, she found time to play bridge on a regular basis. Among other things, I got my appreciation of politics from her and dad. One blue collar union, one white collar, they read papers from both sides of the political spectrum every day (which I was also reading before age 10) and talked about it over the dinenr table. My sibling and I miss her every day.


  30. - FormerParatrooper - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 5:16 pm:

    I empathize with your loss. I lost my grandparents many years ago and still feel an empty place.

    Reading about your Grandmother brought back memories of my youth. Riding with my grandmother while her mother drove the old Maverick in the Ozarks taking old country roads to the last inch. I dont think the brakes were ever used on that car. The family meals on Sunday where food was stacked high. Hunting and fishing with my Grandfathers… learning the ethic of hard work tossing Haybales.. and the respect of my elders.

    It is their examples I follow as a grandfather and I pray I make them proud.


  31. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 5:51 pm:

    I lost my wife 6-15-2011…..Grieving is difficult work — it pulls the rug out from under your life….. Many days feel unbearably dark, heavy, and agonizing. …Closure is not a word that applies to grief. Healing, yes . . . but closure, no. Grief is a lifelong process with many highs and lows, ebbs and flows. We hope to live with our loss, to integrate it into our life. Grief is a companion that walks along beside us. Fortunately love is an even more vibrant lifelong companion that embraces and lifts us, now and forever.” I try not to fear the pain. I try to hold it, accept it, and watch it change in texture and shape from day to day.I also try to keep in mind that on the stormiest of days, the sun shines above the clouds even when we cannot see it. There is still beautiful light in the world . . . even if we cannot see it. One day, it will burst through the clouds again…..we need to show compassion and try to be understanding of other people’s struggles & hardships. Tell those that you love that .. you do really care about them and you regret anything that you may have done in the past that has caused them any sorrow.. we need to be about minimizing our regrets as we look back on our life.. after 30 years of marriage & I miss & think of my spouse everyday.


  32. - Suzanne - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 6:09 pm:

    On the way to the hospital, just before she died, my beloved Grandmother took a scrap of paper from her purse and wrote: “I may not get out of this. It’s okay. Remember, nothing lasts forever. Be happy. I love you.” Her mindfulness and generosity was—and still is—an inspiration.


  33. - Gaga - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 7:48 pm:

    Rich,

    I am very sorry for your loss. Your tribute to your grandmother was very beautiful. Clearly she was an extrodinary woman who enjoyed life.

    I especially identified with how you learned to crochet from your grandmother. Me too and many years later, I still enjoy making things for babies. I remember the day when my grandmother taught me. She remained calm as she demonstrate on her crippled fingers over and over again until I learned. Grandmothers are special. I only know that I love being one and hope to be half the grandmother my grandmother was and your’s too.

    Thank you sharing this so we could all remember our grandparents today.

    Gaga


  34. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 8:21 pm:

    Rich -

    I thought I was lucky. Grandma Cuz sounds like all four of my grandparents rolled into one.

    Oh, what a celebration of life in our mourning.


  35. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 9:02 pm:

    First, my Prayer for you is that the Peace and Grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and God the Holy Trinity be with you and your loved ones during this difficult time of loss of One so obviously special and dear to you.

    As to the question, yes. A FEW loved ones came to mind and heart, including my sister in law who we lost suddenly at age 60…but most certainly your fond memories have almost naturally led to my own two Grandmothers who left us a few years back now. Indeed, they were special women, of Czech and Polish stock, but Americans to be sure, too, through and through–each so unique, different, and yet so gifted in their respective ways, proud and yet humble, inwardly strong…but mostly to all of us many Grandchildren just so tender, generous, and kind…

    In the end, it really is mostly about love and how well you do it, live it. Babi and Grammy sure showed us how. Surely your Grandma, too, did a marvelous job in that all-important realm, as your reflections attest. Again, Rich, may God bless you and those who loved your Grandma so dearly. May His Peace comfort your souls…


  36. - Secret Square - Thursday, Jun 5, 14 @ 8:49 am:

    My condolences to you, Rich. Your Grandma reminds me a little of my maternal grandmother, who lived to be 91 years old. Her parents ran a hotel in Gary, Indiana, back in 1906 when the town was just being formed; and she was tutored by a family friend named Mrs. Reed who taught her to appreciate good literature, art, etc. Her husband (my grandpa) worked in the Gary steel mills for 40 years and retired in the early ’60s; then they moved to Illinois to be near my mom (their daughter) and dad. She was great at painting and drawing, kept a beautiful flower garden and made the best scrambled eggs ever. She kept her old school books from about 1910 that included Latin lessons (back when it was taught in public schools) and all sorts of great poems, essays, etc. that most kids don’t learn today until at least high school, if ever.

    Thanks for inviting us to share these memories.


  37. - A guy... - Thursday, Jun 5, 14 @ 10:00 am:

    No matter how much you expect a loss, it still hits you if it’s supposed to. This one hit you especially hard because it was supposed to. This remarkable woman attached herself to so many of your brain cells that she’s always in the front of your mind. She guided you in life and continues to. The sorrow will pass and the continuing celebration of her life- all good stuff- will continue. Your sadness will go away the moment she demands it. Cause she has a forever spell on you! Sorry for your loss. Happy for your enduring memories of this great lady.


  38. - Black Ivy - Thursday, Jun 5, 14 @ 11:19 am:

    Notwithstanding the wholly inappropriate Chicago Cubs reference, your beloved grandmother lived life to the fullext extent possible in her 93 years! You can’t ask for any more than that! Please accept my sincere condolences to you and your fmaily during this difficult time.


  39. - GV - Thursday, Jun 5, 14 @ 2:01 pm:

    My condolences Rich. I too learned to crochet from my grandma. Not so much because I cared about crocheting, but because she did and I liked spending time with her. She’s still with us, but living in DC far away your post made me miss those times. I’m in a bar now so I’ll raise a pint to Gramma Cuz.


  40. - Living in Machiaville - Thursday, Jun 5, 14 @ 2:12 pm:

    My condolences to you and your family Rick. Your words struck cords. Tought of both grandmas who have passed. And of my mom, who passed last year at this time.


  41. - paddyrollingstone - Thursday, Jun 5, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    Rich - my condolences to you and your family.

    When one finds a worthy woman, her worth is more than precious gems. She reaches out her hands to the poor and extends her arms to the needy. She is a woman of strength and dignity and does not fear the days to come. When she speaks, her words are wise and kindness is the rule for everything she says. She watches carefully all that goes on throughout her household and is not idle. Charm can be deceptive and beauty fleeting, but the woman who recognizes the will of God and tries to do God’s bidding shall be greatly praised.

    Praise her for the many things she has done. These good deeds of her shall bring her honor and recognition from the community, but more importantly, will make her welcome in the kingdom of God.

    Proverbs 31


  42. - TROOPER - Thursday, Jun 5, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    God Bless Gramma Cuz


  43. - Belle - Thursday, Jun 5, 14 @ 7:36 pm:

    Rich
    I am so sorry for the loss of your Grandmother. Your tribute to her showed us what an impact she had on your life.
    I can imagine the past few days have been rough for all of you. Losing her will have a big impact on the Miller Family.
    Belle


  44. - Pete - Thursday, Jun 5, 14 @ 8:14 pm:

    My father died when I was 7 on June 25th, 1976. My mother had to raise eight kids on a nurse’s (RN) salary. She would regularly work double shifts and sometimes triple shifts until one of my older brother’s told her that she really can’t do any more triple shifts anymore. 24 hours straight is just to much without any rest in between. She never missed school conferences and knew all of the teachers for each of her eight children for each year of our education. All of her children are well educated and successful in our own right.

    She has had a very hard life after my father died. We still miss him. You never get over or used to a parents death. You just learn to live with it. My Mom is now in her mid eighties and needs our help as all older people do and we will always be lucky to have such a great mother.

    If our father would have lived, we would have been fine financially. However, his death made my mom’s life so much harder struggling year by year to pay the bills.

    Luckily, us grown up kids are are fine and able to help her now and we want her older years to make up for all those past years of sacrifice.

    Whether it is taking her on a vacation or to a movie, we just want her to be happy.


  45. - Pete - Thursday, Jun 5, 14 @ 8:20 pm:

    Rich, you went to school in Germany?

    Please talk more about that. It was nice that your Grandma was able to be there. What City was it in?

    I always dreamed about going there and finally made it a few years ago. It was a great time. You must have loved it.


  46. - Bemused - Thursday, Jun 5, 14 @ 10:36 pm:

    Rich
    As others have said please accept my sorrow for your loss.
    I did not get to spend a great deal time with my grandparents but your words did bring back thoughts of my Mother. She passed some five years back at age eighty four so would have been around your grandmothers generation.
    You reminded me of her love of travel. She always loved to see new places and felt very important if she could travel by Airplane. She came from that time when very few could Fly and dressed well when they did.
    It also made me remember how she would worry so about missing a flight she would have us get her to the airport two hours early before it was a rule.
    Most anything “Good” about me I blame on her.


  47. - corvax - Friday, Jun 6, 14 @ 9:24 am:

    Rich,

    Our condolences. Sounds like she led a richly meaningful life. May her memory be eternal.


  48. - Rich Miller - Saturday, Jun 7, 14 @ 9:08 am:

    ===Rich, I met your grandmother in 2004 while knocking on doors with Lisa Dugan. She was such a sweet lady that we must have talked with her for 45 minutes. ===

    Grandma thought very highly of Lisa. Every time Lisa was in Martinton she’d stop by Grandma’s little house and the two would sit and chat. Grandma could get some updates on me and I’d hear how she was doing. So, it worked out pretty well for all, including Lisa, who clearly enjoyed her time with Grandma.

    Lisa sent flowers and attended the wake. Through Grandma, she’d gotten to know several family members, but she also knew quite a few others because she’d been in politics so long. One of my cousins by marriage told me Lisa’s husband was like a second father to him when he was young.

    Back in my 20s, I worked construction for Larry Enz, who was my dad’s best friend growing up. Larry had a very small, one-crew company that did rough framing on houses in suburban Will County in the 80s when the county was just starting to boom with exurban commuters.

    Larry eventually got elected to the Kankakee County Board and then became the first Democratic Kankakee Township Supervisor in something like 50 years. When I knew him, he barely talked politics at all. But he did tell lots of family stories, and that kept me going back to a job I wasn’t any good at. Loved the boss, hated the job.

    Larry seemed to know just about everybody at the wake, and he and I talked to Lisa about the old days when I worked for him. I wasn’t good at my job, he admitted, but I had perseverance. The truth was, I couldn’t let my dad down. That job about killed me. lol

    Reps. Tom Cross and Dave McSweeney sent a stunningly beautiful bouquet of flowers, which was given a place of honor near Grandma’s casket. Rep. Al Riley also sent some gorgeous flowers, as did Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. The first thing my dad said to me when I arrived at the wake was that JBT had sent flowers. It really touched him.

    Sen. Donne Trotter attended the funeral. My dad was tickled to see Trotter. They’d met years ago when I took my Dad around the Statehouse on a session tour.

    The number of texts, emails and phone calls I received was at times overwhelming. But I appreciated all of them, even though I often couldn’t muster more than a “thx” as a reply. I didn’t answer most of the calls because I just wasn’t up to it, but know that I listened to the messages. AG Madigan called and I did answer that one. She’s met my parents at various functions and her words were quite kind.

    But what touched me most was seeing all of my cousins together again. We were all pretty close growing up and it seemed like my dad’s family was always getting together for cookouts or whatnot. We don’t see each other much these days, and that’s mostly my fault. I gotta correct that because I enjoy their company so much.

    And, of course all four of my brothers were there yesterday. We’re scattered about the country, so it’s rare that we are all in one place at the same time. But there is no deeper bond than brotherhood. Here’s a pic of all five of us with Grandma: http://capitolfax.com/wp-content/10387064_808931905784226_3053597764188516295_o.jpg


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