The man at the center of the “You may want to marry my husband” essay written by his dying wife, Chicago author Amy Krouse Rosenthal, says he was staggered by the beauty of his wife’s piece, which has gone viral — but not surprised.
“It is Amy’s gift with words that has drawn the universe in,” Chicago attorney Jason Rosenthal said in a written statement released by an associate Wednesday. “I am not surprised that her ‘Modern Love’ essay in the New York Times has garnered the attention it so deserves.”
In her article, which appeared online Friday and in print Sunday, the author wrote that she hoped her husband would find a new love someday.
“I didn’t know exactly what she was composing,” Jason Rosenthal said. “But I was with her as she labored through this process and I can tell you that writing the story was no easy task. When I read her words for the first time, I was shocked at the beauty, slightly surprised at the incredible prose given her condition and, of course, emotionally ripped apart.
“Unfortunately, I do not have the same aptitude for the written word, but, if I did, I can assure you that my tale would be about the most epic love story…ours.”
His wife completed the essay on Valentine’s Day. The 51-year-old Lakeview resident was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015 and is in hospice care.
She’s the author of more than 30 children’s books, as well as “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life” and “Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal.” She also has contributed to NPR, done TED talks and hosted gatherings of fans that became cheery performance art. At one of those, held in 2008, hundreds of people blew bubbles and splashed through the fountains at Millennium Park.
Her essay about her husband, whom she said she fell in love with on their first blind date in 1989, has touched people around the world. It’s drawn more than 1,300 comments on the New York Times’ website and Facebook page, with many readers sharing their own stories of loss and love and the need to make the most of one’s time, every day.
The column had the unadorned, quirkily charming style that Krouse Rosenthal is known for. Despite exhaustion and the effects of morphine, as well as a lack of cheeseburgers, Krouse Rosenthal wrote that she knew she had to finish the essay.
“I have to stick with it, because I’m facing a deadline, in this case, a pressing one. I need to say this (and say it right) while I have a) your attention, and b) a pulse.”
She wrote: “If you’re looking for a dreamy, let’s-go-for-it travel companion, Jason is your man. . . . He showed up at our first pregnancy ultrasound with flowers. This is a man who, because he is always up early, surprises me every Sunday morning by making some kind of oddball smiley face out of items near the coffeepot: a spoon, a mug, a banana . . . .
“If he sounds like a prince and our relationship seems like a fairy tale, it’s not too far off, except for all of the regular stuff that comes from two and a half decades of playing house together. And the part about me getting cancer. Blech.”
The couple are empty-nesters who have three children —Justin, Miles and Paris.