Yesterday was Mother Stanko's 92nd birthday. It was not a festive occasion, however, for my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer last Friday. She has been sick for about six months and the doctors guessed it was this and that. Now we know, however, and we are preparing for the end, which could come in six months or less.
This is how my father died 12 years ago as well, but he had pancreatic cancer and lived six months to the day from when he was told. Those six months were a good time as we made our transitions and said our goodbyes. I am grateful that God has given us the same chance with my mother.
My mother was asleep in her chair on Sunday when she raised her head and said, "Will you do the eulogy?" It is something I had always wanted to do, but in my mother's church they usually don't make time for one. I said I would be honored and then she said, "I will request it" and went back to sleep.
That is so indicative of my mother -- organized, thinking ahead, covering details and planning. There is no question that I inherited all those traits from her, that in fact I am Sophia's boy. At some point I will have a chance to share that truth with those closest to us.
My mother is home and my sister is scrambling to cover her care while I am in Florida on business. My mother needs around-the-clock care and we are investigating the options and cost for such care. My sister has taken good care of my mother since she (my sister) retired a few years ago. I know I have been less helpful due to my travel schedule but I hope to be around more in the next six months to do what I can.
I am not devastated by this news, for often when I would leave on an extended trip, I would talk to my mother and we agreed that there were no regrets. I visited her every Sunday while I was home and called almost every day. I tried to support her as I was the man in her life after my father's death 12 years ago. She has lived on her own and cared for herself with my sister's assistance and will do so almost to the end, and we want to honor her wish that she die at home. You can view a picture of my mother at her 90th birthday celebration here. People usually say I look like her.
I will keep you posted on her condition, but in the meantime, life goes on. I urge you to make the most of every day that you have, for we just don't know how many more we have.