Wednesday, November 3, 2021

"Are You Sad, Dearest Ting?"

A few days ago, my wife, Tina Su Cooper, and I spent an hour or so holding hands and watching a movie in our kitchen, as we do most afternoons.

We have been in love for 58 years and married for 37.

Due to multiple sclerosis, Tina (born Su Ting-ting) has been quadriplegic and ventilator-dependent, getting round-the-clock nursing at home for the past 17 years. She has weathered it heroically, appreciating the nursing care and almost never complaining.

Half a year ago, she had a stroke, reducing her damaged cognitive and communication abilities still further. After several hospitalizations over the past year, the doctors made it clear they thought she should get only minimal future care, as her prospects were grave. We disagreed, insisting on full medical care when appropriate and nursing care at home, which we did even after a period a few years ago when she was mistakenly diagnosed as being in a “vegetative state,” from which she “surprisingly” recovered.

We will give Tina the home and hospital care she can receive, not asking ourselves, “Are we there yet?” We don’t know where “there” will be.

Life includes the possibility of future pleasure. We hope that Tina finds some enjoyment, sleeping a great deal, watching television, and interacting with us for a few hours each day.

As we watched that movie together, I told her that she was our heroine, doing a very difficult thing, persevering despite the limitations, and I said I hope she was not unhappy.

I rephrased my comment into a question, “Are you sad, dearest Ting?”

I feared she would nod her head yes or remain immobile, an implied yes, but she did something she rarely does. She shook her head no.

Tina Su Cooper is not sad.

Even if her situation may make us cry, we are not sad, either.

Life is precious, and where there is life, there is hope. 


  1. Beautifully written, more beautifully lived. Both of you are heroic.

  2. Dear Doug and Lovely Tina
    My heart and soul are sending my love to you both -- two souls merged together in love.
    Mike Hibbard

  3. I am again inspired by you both. You show us all what love is.
    Pat Cyganovich

  4. Thanks for these gracious and encouraging comments!

  5. For all the years I have worked and known you after retirements. My heart goes out to both you and Tina. Her story is indeed inspiring and well documented in your book. However, there is also another hero in you and your everlasting love regardless of the hardships endured by both. We have come into an era were love is passing and almost misty in how it evaporates over time. We have become self-centered as our efforts go to satisfy our wants and have no time to dwell on those in need. In many ways I miss that passing of lifetime devotion where joy and hardship meld together in what we understand of love through a lifetime. We have been married now for 56 years. We have laughed, cried, argued, and sometime had harsh words over that time. I you and Tina I see the same lasting devotion from the day you both met. I wonder if we can ever see that time again between couples.

    I miss getting together for lunch and wish bot you and Tina the best.