Of course the pain from her passing has diminished for me since with each passing year. Some say she held onto me too tightly. I would add that maybe I depended too much upon her probably fourteen years longer than I should've as an adult. She was born to unwed parents - a mother that did not want her or her half-siblings (two dying stillborn - an older half sister and a younger half-brother) throgh twelve pregnancies (one of her half-sisters and one half-brother dying before she did that she grew up with partially), and a father that was dissuaded by his family from doing the right thing and marrying his pregnant lover, not even giving my mother her birthright surname Fannin (and my grandmother not demanding child support as would've been her right even back then). I only met my maternal grandfather once in the early 1970s and barely even remember that day - mostly recalling the fence in a field where we met - but I couldn't recognize him in a photograph even today. My maternal grandmother died when I was 10, but having gotten no sense of love or connection from her or my mother's brief contacts with her, I could not honestly shed one tear that day (faking it for appearances). My paternal grandparents died before my birth, so I have no memories of them, but everyone who knew my grandmother Mary Olivia Haney I've ever met always say she was wonderful. My mother was raised by elderly maternal relatives after her mother abandoned her to their care. Imagine growing up with relatives who are mostly fifty or more years your senior and no parents there for you. I imagine she had to be lonely in some ways, despite loving her kinfolk (even the bad ones it seemed). Her mother later married the man by which all her surviving half-siblings were sired (and one stillborn half-brother, my grandmother losing her first and last child that way out of 12 she conceived) but never was much of a parent to any of them, or so I've gathered, doting with love late in life on an orphaned boy she adopted and raised in her final years who was close to my age.
My mother attended elementary school in Crockett, Kentucky and high school at nearby West Liberty, Kentucky graduating in 1951. I never asked her why she didn't graduate until she was 20. My father was also late in graduating high school due to repeating one grade, missing another and having to make it up and then getting drafted after 10th Grade into the Navy in 1944, delaying his final education years until 1946-48. She worked at Sylvania Electric on the assembly line in Huntington, WV during the Korean War from 1951-53, looked after by her Aunt Anna May Whitt (later Roach and Moore) while living in Ashland, KY. After being laid off from a job she loved, my mother took up school teaching (back then a high school diploma was considered good enough for such work for an unmarried lady) in a one-room Morgan County, KY schoolhouse during the school year and attended Morehead State University mostly in the summer sessions when she could barely afford it (only attending one fall semester in 1961 otherwise). Eventually she got a job teaching at Andis Elementary School in Coal Grove, OH in the early 1960s where she worked until 1968 and my birth, and again when my father was sick with liver disease and hepatitis from 1970-1972. In all she was a teacher about 18 years. Her only other job outside the home was as a H&R Block tax preparer in 1990.
My parents would first meet in 1961, even though my father first spotted her at Moritz's Restaurant (it no longer exists today) in Ironton, OH sometime in 1951 but never learned then who she was, and date for a few years on and off until they married on September 12, 1966. She had dated a few other men but nothing serious developed from those associations, the one that almost did being a gentleman named Bill Pinkerman (who a few years after they dated in the 1950s later offered to divorce his first wife to wed my mother in the early 1960s, but she refused him). They had difficulties of her becoming pregnant, both wanting kids, due to my mother's left hip birth defect making conception through intercourse difficult and natural childbirth impossible. As a result, I might be considered a miracle baby (since her gynocologist had claimed a few months before I was conceived during a routine visit she could never get pregnant - shows you what doctors know in general, not criticizing any individual physician) and had to be delivered by caesarian section on May 1, 1968. Due to their difficulties in conceiving me, their approaching middle ages (having me when he was 42 and she 37) and my father's illness in the early 1970s, I was destined to be an only child. It was also sad because she truly wanted to have many more children regardless of the risk to her health, being from a large family of siblings.
Generally, Allene was a good mother and wife, better than most and probably a better mother than I deserved. She was not perfect, but no one is. I wish she had taught me more about self-reliance instead (as an old high school classmate of mine once observed) of holding onto me too tight being her only child. With my father often away at his long-distance truck driving job based out of Charleston, WV and wanting to keep our home in Ironton, OH instead of relocating to another city, she was the parent who had the greatest hand in my education, helping me when I was frankly somewhat lazy at doing homework in elementary school and assisting with other things like school projects and learning Christmas pageant scripts (being a husky child, I played Santa Claus twice in elementary school - first and fourth grades - I didn't enjoy the exposure for pubilc performances). Her work with me at home in teaching me basic knowledge made me slightly advanced by the time I entered Kindergarden - a school year I hated because it was mostly for socialization to get along with other kids along with dubious learning. I never felt I could go to her about my problems at school, such as bullying issues I suffered, because she always seemed too passive. Maybe she'd have fought for me in a figurative sense had I confessed my problems. I'll never know now. I think she was always proud of me and my accomplishments, even if seldom stating it out loud (in the same way my father reflected after her death how she would write teh words "I love you" to him but never say it aloud when they were together). She was a loving and giving woman who would've done anything for me I believe in hindsight.
The hardest time I experienced in her life was the last two years she lived. Having first been diagnosed with the breast cancer in June 1996 and having her first operation by July, she seemed to recover from it after two more surgeries in subsequent years by 2001. But in 2003, the disease returned. By 2004, my dear mother (who suffered her first stroke in 1985 which left gaps in her knowledge and memory that occasionally forced her to ask me how words were spelled she should've known) began slipping into what I have since suspected was adult onset dementia (resembling what is called senility), but at the same time during that last 21 months of her life when she began acting strangely, believing odd or even paranoid things and seeming restless, her cancer was getting worse (but she could always act around doctors as though everything was fine - probably fearing they would take her off increasingly ineffective medications and urge chemotherapy or radiation therapies for the cancer). She hid her condition, except showing signs of growing pain in the back (where it was spreading to her spine from the left breast area), fooling even my father and me untiil her last hospitalization when we both spotted how swollen the spinal cord looked along her back. Hospitalized on January 5, 2006 for pneumonia she developed a few days earlier, my mother was at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital in Russell, KY until her transfer to Community Hospice on January 9 for comfort care. Up until that change, I had beileved she would recover from the pneumonia and be back home occasionally calling out my name from a deteriorating mind, sitting in a chair or lying in bed as she became harder to cope with. The last time she was conscious during that period was on Sunday morning January 8th. As I tried helping her to eat breakfast, which she didn't even try to swallow, I was able to briefly convey my regrets at how unkind I could sometimes be and had been in past years toward her. I think she understood but staring at me never said anything back. Later that day she went to sleep and remained that way under the painkilling drugs both the hospital and Hospice administered.
The oddest thing during this time, when my father and I would visit and sit with her in her Hospice room after the hospital, was how she waited to die until my father wanted to get himself a vending machine snack, having skipped eating any breakfast that morning or any lunch before we traveled to the facility, and I went along to keep him company. While we ate some snacks and drank sodas in a lounge, before intending to return to her room (while I contemplated staying overnight that coming evening to provide company even though she was still unconscious), one of the nurses popped in and announced my mother had passed away sometime between 4:00 and 4:30 P.M. Apparently some people wait until they're alone to leave the body, or so I've been told. Something similar happened to my father in the early morning hours of August 19, 2006 at Our Lady of Bellefonte in his comfort care room there when I went home to get some rest (unable to sleep in a chair in his room - never could sleep in a chair for some reason). She was buried the following Saturday at her plot in Highland Memorial Gardens in South Point, OH after we made her funeral arrangements with Phillip's Funeral Home in Ironton two days earlier. The last thing I ever said to my mother while she was still conscious was the following (as best I can recall now): "I wish now I'd told you more often that I loved you." At least now I know that my possible condition called Asperger's Syndrome may partially explain why I didn't say "I love you" to her often enough over the course of 37 years or so since I'd learned how to talk,
Well, rest in peace, Mom. You are missed by your only begotten son.