People usually don’t offer up their spouses unless they don’t want to be married to them anymore. For Amy Krouse Rosenthal, however, this isn’t the case. She is deeply in love in that magical kind of way with her husband (the kind of love everyone dreams of having, but don’t necessarily get). The problem is, she’s dying.
In a piece published in The New York Times‘ Modern Love column, she wrote a piercing piece about how she’s been married “to the most wonderful man for 26 years” but the dream of her being married for “another 26” went out the window suddenly. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer:
“Want to hear a sick joke? A husband and wife walk into the emergency room in the late evening on Sept. 5, 2015. A few hours and tests later, the doctor clarifies that the unusual pain the wife is feeling on her right side isn’t the no-biggie appendicitis they suspected but rather ovarian cancer.”
Somehow, Rosenthal is able to write with a sense of humor–showing she is still retaining as much of a positive attitude as she can. Obviously, she’s full of pain and sorrow and grief–having to mourn one own’s life and dreams–having to mourn her own loss of her husband and children. She does it so well, it makes you rethink all the stupid small things you were upset about:
“No trip with my husband and parents to South Africa. No reason, now, to apply for the Harvard Loeb Fellowship. No dream tour of Asia with my mother. No writers’ residencies at those wonderful schools in India, Vancouver, Jakarta.
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.”
The rest of the article is a beautiful, honest, and all-too-sad portrait of the man she loves–and for whom she wants to be happy after he has passed. She writes:
“Here is the kind of man Jason is: 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.
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.”
Writing this piece wasn’t really an advertisement for her husband, but a love letter to him. So if you haven’t had a good cry in awhile, this is your chance. If you haven’t even teared up a little, go back, reread, sip on some coffee in-between, and reread again. If you still haven’t, go out and allow yourself to fall in love with someone. Really hard. Because that’s how the heart knows it’s alive–when it really feels. And truly loving someone, whether your spouse or child or a friend, will make you feel all the feelings of love, joy, pain, and sorrow.