Tina is one of those people you warm up to and know you like a lot in the first five seconds you meet her. As for me, my first impression of Tina was of a warm and startlingly beautiful long-haired, thin college girl with a divine light in her eyes.
She had an open heart and gave me a hug and kiss when we met in Rosendale in 1964. I returned her hug and kiss gladly. It would be years before I would see Tina again, but I knew how wonderful Doug and she were together.
The next time I would really get to know this marvelous woman was when Doug and Tina resumed their engagement two decades after being separated by unfortunate circumstances and marriages. Tina came to live with us in Rosendale with her two-year-old son, Philip. It was a great time–on weekends Doug would come to see Tina and Phil and we’d all have a mini-party. Tina was a joy to have around, even though she tried to work too hard–for instance, by taking a toothbrush to the corners of the kitchen floor to clean them. Mom stopped her by crying and explaining that we didn’t need things that clean.
Tina had multiple sclerosis. She was dear to us. My mother said she loved her and couldn’t wait until Doug and Tina married. I was delighted as well.
After Doug and Tina did marry, Tina’s unfaltering support for the Cooper family, her generosity, and her empathy for our problems made me love her even more, if that is possible. My mom had loved her own little Chinese doll as a child, and she particularly loved Tina as the best daughter-in-law she could possibly get in life. I agreed. She’s been the best sister for me in my life.
Tina’s been my friend through breast cancer and many other problems. I could always count on her for her wise advice and warm comforting words, no matter what my problem. Over the years I’ve only come to admire her more for being such a “good soldier,” as her dad called her, through this ordeal of multiple sclerosis, which has left her paralyzed from the neck down. I get a big smile from her every time I see her–which makes me cry when I’m out of her sight.
She’s so brave. God bless her. I keep praying for a breakthrough for my dear Tina–I love her so much.