Sunday, November 27, 2011


As noted in an earlier piece, “Together forever” is written on the heart-shaped gold charm I gave my wife, Tina Su Cooper, for our 25th wedding anniversary June 2009. It’s a promise we will keep, as life and death allow. Two burial plots, side by side, have been reserved. One headstone will be used for the two of us. At the bottom, it will say, “Together forever.”


The topic of death and burial arose after another lovely “roll and stroll” near our lakeside country home in the park-like surroundings. I do not understand why it came up, but we agreed we liked the thought of resting side by side, “almost as though we are holding hands,” Tina said, much as we did when we could at Cornell, and --- much later --- when married. Hopefully, our souls would be reunited in heaven, as we are approximately equally Christian. If not, our graves would be markers, monuments, to our love.


I reminded Tina of a headstone I had seen in Ramsey,  NJ, a man’s tribute to his wife, “Pretty to talk with. Witty to talk with.”


“Am I witty?” she asked.

“Sometimes … especially if you extend ‘wit” from simply ‘humor’ to ‘intelligence' and ‘sense.’”


Then we got silly: “I told you I was sick.” “Should have called 911.” “Wrote: The Variable-Slit Impactor and Aerosol Size Distribution Analysis.” “Immobile” and “Immobile, too.” “Keep off the grass.”


She asked me whether she should commit suicide if I should die first. No, remember me and pray for me and live as long as you can. I will do the same for you.


It brings tears to my eyes now, but we are reassured by the plan: “Together forever,” come what may. No joke there.

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