March 13, 2017 at 4:20 PM
"I'm facing a deadline," author Amy Krouse Rosenthal wrote March 3.
Her Modern Love column for the New York Times — "You May Want to Marry My Husband" — moved scores of readers online and quickly went viral. In the comments section, people wrote that the piece brought tears to their eyes, that she provided an example of what partnership could be, that her generosity was inspirational. Her essay, written as a dating profile for her husband of 26 years, resonated as a testament of selfless love as she faced the prospect of her own mortality.
The best-selling author and popular speaker had ambitious plans with her partner, Jason Brian Rosenthal. But in September 2015, she discovered she had ovarian cancer.
"This is when we entered what I came to think of as Plan 'Be,' existing only in the present," she wrote. "As for the future, allow me to introduce you to the gentleman of this article, Jason Brian Rosenthal. He is an easy man to fall in love with. I did it in one day."
Rosenthal died Monday at age 51, the Associated Press reported, less than two weeks after that essay published. She "was the most life-affirming person, and love-affirming person," her longtime literary agent, Amy Rennert, told the wire service.
Rosenthal built quite a legacy, including dozens of adult and children's books, short films, TED talks and radio commentary. Her 2005 memoir "Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life" became a hit, and she echoed the format last year in "Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal." She experimented on YouTube, issued sincere calls to readers to join her in getting a tattoo and, as AP described, had "a flair for random acts of kindness."
"She was a brilliant writer, and an even better friend," author John Green tweeted. "Amy's genius was in her generosity, which the world saw when her recent essay about her husband Jason went viral."
Yes, about that essay. Rosenthal wrote about her husband, Jason, with her characteristic charm and sincerity.
"I have never been on Tinder, Bumble or eHarmony, but I'm going to create a general profile for Jason right here, based on my experience of coexisting in the same house with him for, like, 9,490 days," she wrote. "First, the basics: He is 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, with salt-and-pepper hair and hazel eyes."
Then she lists his attributes, with endearingly sweet anecdotes and color. He's a "sharp dresser," "uncannily handy," "loves listening to live music" and "an absolutely wonderful father" to the couple's three children.
"When I was working on my first memoir, I kept circling sections my editor wanted me to expand upon. She would say, 'I'd like to see more of this character.' Of course, I would agree — he was indeed a captivating character. But it was funny because she could have just said: Jason. Let's add more about Jason."
She concluded the essay by explaining why she had taken what precious time she had left to pen this final note:
I want more time with Jason. I want more time with my children. I want more time sipping martinis at the Green Mill Jazz Club on Thursday nights. But that is not going to happen. I probably have only a few days left being a person on this planet. So why I am doing this?
I am wrapping this up on Valentine's Day, and the most genuine, non-vase-oriented gift I can hope for is that the right person reads this, finds Jason, and another love story begins.
She then left a large blank space, empty of words, "as a way of giving you two the fresh start you deserve." She signed off, "With all my love, Amy."