A Cup of Tea on the Commode

A son's multitasking adventures of caring for his Mom. And how he survived to tell the tale.

The parent/child role reversal might not have been unique to Mark, but how he dealt with it was. A Cup of Tea on the Commode—a sad, sweet, and funny memoir—chronicles his adventures of filling his mother’s last years with love, laughter, and joy. Though not always successful, he came pretty damn close.

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About the Book

Mark lived in Los Angeles, enjoying the carefree bachelor’s life. He had no steady girlfriend, no children, and few responsibilities outside of work. But that all changed when “The Call” came. Genevieve, his eighty-nine-year-old mother, was on her deathbed. He rushed to New Jersey to be by her side. Hours became days, days became weeks, then she woke up. So, he moved back into his childhood home to take over her care. His first task, remove all hazards, which included the current caretakers.

After, Mark asked his mother, “Do you trust me?” She whispered, “Yes.” “Do you understand I will do everything in my power to keep you healthy and safe?” She nodded. “That means I’m in charge, and that means now you must obey me.” Her mood shifted in an instant. She looked him dead in the eye, then puckered up her lips. He wasn’t sure if this was a sign of surrender or one wishing him luck. He kissed her and hoped for the best. 

The parent/child role reversal may not have been unique to Mark, but how he dealt with it was. One day, hoping to make Genevieve’s time on the commode a tad more pleasant, he offered her a cup of her favorite beverage. It was a hit, and a cup of tea on the commode became a staple on the morning menu, and the clear choice for the title of this sad, sweet, and funny memoir.

A Cup of Tea on the Commode chronicles Mark’s multitasking adventures of filling his mother’s last years with love, laughter, and joy. Though not always successful, he came pretty damn close.

Genre: memoir
Tag: Recommended Books
Publisher: WriteLife Publishing
Publication Year: 2023
Format: Paperback, e-book
Length: 320 pages
ISBN: 9781608082841

List Price: $18.95
eBook Price: $8.99
“The author takes an unflinching look at the unglamorous yet rewarding journey as the primary caretaker of his dying mother. Interspersed with the day-to-day saga of this new undertaking, are stories from his childhood growing up in a Catholic family with five siblings in New Jersey. He weaves them together, employing a wickedly humorous skill not unlike that of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs. Let the reader be forewarned that this memoir is sometimes painfully graphic in its descriptions of the process of death and dying. It was not without a great deal of love and personal sacrifice that Porro made the process as comfortable and dignified as possible.” — M. Chaffee, Verified amazon purchase (5-Stars)
“This book was like sitting down at the kitchen table and sharing troubles with and old friend. Having parents is common, taking care of them with all the intimate details involved is not. Mark Steven Porro shared all the victories and defeats, sorrows, and disappointments along with making you giggle at some of the sillier exchanges between he and his mother. This book helps us to appreciate the tremendous effort that goes into caregiving and why we should all look to help lighten caregiver’s emotional and physical load when we can. Thank you NetGalley for providing this opportunity for me to read this book. It’s a keeper.” — Laurie Mosey, Librarian, a NetGalley Reviewer
“This is a humorous account about Mark Steven Porro and his family’s story from his siblings to his parents, to the suicides in his family. It all makes for a mostly humorous but at times a sad tale and how in a time where people are only looking for what makes them happy, this man gave up everything to move back across the country to tend to his dying mother. It really is touching, heartwarming, and so worth reading. I am so glad I read it. I almost didn’t due to the title but was curious enough to read the summary and OMG, I’m glad I did.” — Janalyn Prude, a NetGalley Reviewer
“A Cup of Tea on the Commode is a beautiful tribute to Genevieve Porro. As a reader, I felt like I got to know her as a person—she is funny, endearing, sensitive, and I laughed many times throughout. I love the narrator’s tone of voice is unique, humorous, definitive, and conversational. It speaks to the readers. Mark doesn’t shy away from expressing all emotions he felt as he took care of his mother, and it is very endearing. There are many touching stories in the manuscript, and many that will resonate with readers on an emotional level.” — Allison Itterly, Acquisitions Editor
“Not many books out there will give you an honest look at a reversal of rolls of caring for a parent in their older age. This book will make you laugh out loud, “ring a bell” in your own life, cry a tear or two and make you smile. The Author not only “steps up to the plate” taking care of his mother during her last few years on this earth, but carries the reader through a journey of reflections of his youth and growing up under HER care.” — CJV, Verified amazon purchase (5-Stars)
“Loved this book! Reading it was more like sitting with Mark, a glass of wine and chatting about life, love, and parents. For those fortunate enough to be able to care for a mom or dad during their end of life, you could be reading your own story. So many similarities with my life and love of my parents. And good memories of a childhood sans cell phone, tablets, and video games. We had silly outdoor fun! Kudos to the author. Well done!” — Marilyn G., Verified amazon purchase (5-Stars)
“All my life I thought I was a slow reader, but it turns out I just needed to find the right book! I started reading this after midnight and couldn’t put it down till 5:30 in the morning. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to laugh out loud and perhaps shed a joyful tear, as this memoir explores the humor, heart, and beautiful flaws of family!” — Owen S., 5-Star amazon review
“A wonderful story of a man helping his mother toward end of life. The love he shows her and the patience he has is so lovely. Funny stories of his family and upbringing makes you laugh and remember your own childhood. I also was with both my parents when they passed so it was a reminder of those times, sad but worth saying last goodbyes. A wonderful read for all.” — Jane Clark, Verified amazon purchase (5-Stars)
“I could have inhaled this book, but it was too good, too funny, too revealing, too transparent and too intimate a memoir to rush through. My breath was literally taken away in tears and laughter. It is so much more of a memoir of just one person but of a whole family in a time and place I also called home. The period details are so rich and comforting. The love between Mark and his mom is such that one feels a certain destiny was fulfilled and captured in this book. I don’t know if I loved the book because of the family it illuminates or because the writing is so good and funny.” — K. Nicolet, Verified amazon purchase (5-Stars)
“In his own words, ‘Dedication is not my problem….’ Mark proves that beyond a doubt in this lovingly emotional dedication to (not only) his mother but his whole family and his life. Having a frighteningly similar experience with my own mother (albeit not as “hands on” as Mark) I couldn’t imagine the tale told better than here in this book.” — Larry Thomas, The Soup Nazi from Seinfeld
"I found A Cup of Tea on the Commode very moving. I like the writing style - the humour highlights Genevieve's stoic sense of fun. It is an inspirational story that bravely tells it like it is. I must confess, it brought me to tears, but then it also made me laugh. Good combination.” — Dr. Sharon Ager Wray, PhD in Sociology
“Really detailed story about Porro. I appreciated how he crafted this memoir. I enjoyed his story-telling and felt like I was part of his family at times. Five stars! Well-written!” — Kelly Pramberger, Goodreads
“I always believe that the impact of a book is measured by the lingering thoughts and reflections that remain afterwards. And A Cup of Tea on The Commode scores highly in this respect.” — Paul Jeremaes, Co-author of Enter Your Flow, an Interactive Journey Toward Fulfillment and Happiness in Your Work Life.
“This book, A Cup of Tea on The Commode, had me clutching it until done!” — Nancy May, host of Doing It Best with Eldercare Success podcast
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