Published at http://www.asiancemagazine.com/2011/11/01/a-book-for-tina-su-and-for-you
“You ought to write a book” Tina Su Cooper, my wife, and I were told many times. Our love story, of nearly fifty years of being in love, though separated for nineteen of them, has recently given birth to our book, Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage and Devotion. It is an upbeat story of triumph over prejudice, separation, and life-changing, life-threatening illness. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society magazine, Momentum, has scheduled our article, “Undefeated,” about Tina, for its winter 2011 issue. She is an Asian American heroine. Tina’s primary physician, Dr. Richard Walker, told us “your memoir is an antidote to the news,” emphasizing love and loyalty in marriage.
Half of the Asian American readers of asiancemagazine.com are likely to marry someone of another race, if past is prologue. Despite some parental disapproval when we were much younger, and perhaps our occasionally missing out on friendships that never developed, we have not found being of different races to be a barrier to marital success. We think that others will be encouraged by our story to do as we did, to commit themselves, “for better or worse, in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part.”
Our book has been summarized as follows:
“Tina Su and Doug Cooper met in a Chinese class at Cornell University in 1963. They fell in love, later married and lived happily ever after.
“Actually, it was not quite that simple. With both sets of parents opposing an interracial marriage, the couple separated and did not reunite for nineteen years. Meanwhile, Tina went off to grad school at Harvard, married a scientist from China, edited for the Encyclopedia Britannica, had two sons, and felt trapped in a difficult marriage. Doug was drafted into the army and afterward earned his master's in physics from Penn State and a Ph.D. in engineering from Harvard. His first marriage (to a Caucasian woman who resembled Tina) failed.
“Eventually Doug contacted Tina, and the two declared their love. Interracial issues were no longer a problem; but her multiple sclerosis, with its likelihood of increasing disability, would cast a shadow on their prospects. Tina--with great difficulty and pain--left her marriage.
“Now together for more than twenty-five years, Tina and Doug have learned that while love may not conquer all, it has been crucial in successfully meeting the challenges of Tina's progressive immobility, and recently her quadriplegia and near death from an MS-caused pneumonia.
“More than a love story, this wry memoir has reflections on love and marriage, faith, professional ethics, at-home intensive nursing care, medical insurance, finances, and the exceptional character of a brave woman, written by the man who loves her, with tributes from those who admire her.”
Tina Su (“Su Ting-ting” at birth) and I have learned that love does conquer, that two can be stronger than one, that foresight and preparation can help in over-coming life’s challenges, that life --- even with severe handicaps --- is precious.
I wrote the book because Tina asked me to. She has been so brave throughout even this most difficult phase of our lives that she deserves to be celebrated in print. I wrote it in the spring of 2011, then augmented it with tributes and recollections concerning Tina from family, friends, and our nursing staff. It was published in September 2011, by Outskirts Press, now available from amazon.com and other Internet book sellers.
Of relevance to the readers of asiancemagazine.com, I would add that I believe something in Tina’s Chinese American background --- whether genetic, cultural, or familial --- has helped her persevere in being a cheerful and loving wife, mother, and friend, despite being bedridden for sixteen years, quadriplegic and ventilator-dependent for the last seven, several times near death. She is our heroine, our inspiration, our beloved Ting.
Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a writer, caregiver, retired physicist. Ting and I is available in paperback and ebook formats from amazon.com, bn.com, tinandi.com, and outskirtspress.com.
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